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Huck's Christmas gift

Winner of the CAG Gala's auction of an article in The Georgetown Dish, M.J. Berman offers a tale of a Georgetown dog who takes on the challenge of shopping locally to bring joy to his humans. M.J.’s bid at the silent auction gave him this opportunity to surprise his wife and children. Perhaps, they were unaware Huck was a working dog? Huck's Christmas giftBy Huck Berman I can’t complain at holiday time. I live with a nice family with kids to play with. We live close to Montrose Park. I eat a healthy diet (although I think I could have few more servings during the day). I have good chew toys, too. So when I heard Councilmember Jack Evans and the Georgetown Business Association urging all Georgetown residents to spend their holiday shopping dollars in Georgetown, I decided it was time to get off the sidelines and help out. I’d been getting great gifts over the years from my parents M.J. and Annie Lou. Suddenly I thought, ask not what the country can do for dogs, but what could a dog do for the country. Or at least Annie Lou. Because she’s worth it – and more. It was time to get patriotic and do some shopping for my family. I needed money. M.J. has taken me into Sara’s Market on our block for many years. So I padded into the store and offered my services. I wanted to work – deliveries, pest control, stock dog – I was ready for anything. Store owner Mr. Andrew Johnson seemed skeptical at first. “Do you have e

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M.J. Berman
M.J. Berman

xperience?” he asked. Experience? I had delivered more thrown objects to humans, chased more rodents, and tested all kinds of food. Working in the market would be perfect. Mrs. Johnson said she would give me a try and handed me an apron. Our neighbors Jack and Katie Tompkins walked in after I got my apron on. “Hi Huck,” they said without even batting an eye at my new occupation. I barked. “Oh, cute apron,” they laughed. They didn’t seem to get that I was now a professional. An elegant blond woman came in with her pug to get dinner. “I can help with that,” I offered . . . trotting to the pet food section. The pug snorted and turned her head away. Attitude. “Over here, Josephine,” the woman said, surely trying to keep her dog from noticing that I had a real job. What dog wouldn’t jump at the chance? As the sun started to set on a chilly December afternoon, I was getting the hang of the working world. Suddenly I noticed the perfect gift – a bag of IAMS Mini Chunk. Annie Lou would love this Christmas gift! But time was running out. I had to earn enough to buy the dog treats. Let me tell you, dog food, like everything else, ain’t cheap in Georgetown. I swept the floor with my tail and let the two kids who came in for ice cream pet me. This working was getting a bit hard! My boss Mr. Johnson said, “Huck, you’ve done a good job today. Why don’t you take this bag of dog treats for your work?” Perfect! “Could you wrap it up to go?” I barked. Mr. Johnson just looked at me. I gave the apron back and took the treats back to the house. I stashed them behind a bush and headed inside. “Where have you been?” Annie Lou said in an alarmed tone. “Working,” I said “I want to do my part for the holidays.” She just shook her head and said, “You had us worried, Huck.” Did she think I had taken a raft on the Mississippi? Silly people — that was the human Huck.

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M.J. Berman
M.J. Berman

M.J. got home and I nudged him, signaling I needed a “walk.” “Later Huck,” he said. I stared at him. Snow was beginning to fall and it was Christmas Eve. “Now,” I barked. We went outside. I pulled the bag of treats from behind the bush. “Look what you found, Huck!” M.J. said. Humans are so innocent. “Let’s put it under the tree,” he said. Annie Lou was sleeping soundly in the house. Not even a creature was stirring, not even a . . .you know that one, right? I put my head down near the tree to make sure the dog treats and other presents were safe overnight. I thought I heard a jingle in the sky. Better not bark, I thought, and spoil the surprise. As the family gathered around to open gifts, I took Annie’s present to her. “Oh for me?” she said. “Dog treats! Dog treats?” I looked deep into Annie Lou’s eyes. “I love you Annie Lou, and I’m hungry.” Annie Lou looked back with love in her eyes, opened the bag, and feed me dog treats. “What a thoughtful gift. How did you know what I wanted?” she asked.