Monday, October 20, 2014

Carlo, the Chocolate-Loving Pooch

Carlo was a big, handsome, curly-haired brown water spaniel whose master was John Losekamp of Billings. At the turn of the twentieth century, Losekamp was the prosperous proprietor of a men’s clothing store at 2817 Montana Street. He advertised shoes, trunks, valises, and ranch supplies.

Advertisement from Polk’s City Directory, Billings, 1907.
Losekamp’s varied inventory drew a wide range of customers and traveling businessmen. All were familiar with Losekamp’s extremely intelligent dog. And Carlo knew who his friends were. The dog had a weakness for candy—chocolate drops in particular. He adored them. Back in the early 1900s, apparently no one knew that chocolate was poisonous to dogs. At any rate, it never seemed to hurt Carlo. He had a routine familiar to everyone in downtown Billings. When a friend came into Losekamp’s store, Carlo would first greet him with a friendly tail wag, and then would go to the wastebasket and retrieve a small piece of paper. This he would drop in front of the visitor. The visitor would take a nickel, wrap it up and give it to the dog. Carlo would trot to any one of several candy stores, drop the nickel in front of the clerk and receive a bag of chocolate drops in exchange.  Carlo would gently carry the bag back to Losekamp’s store, drop it in front of the waiting visitor, and sit a few paces away. The generous visitor would then toss the chocolate drops, one at a time, to Carlo, who never missed a catch. As the years wore on, Carlo was even able to distinguish between nickels and pennies and knew that a penny wouldn’t buy him enough chocolate to make it worth the trip. Carlo died in 1912, not from eating chocolate, but from old age. He was buried on historic Boot Hill with a fitting ceremony.

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