Everyone knows “My dog is smarter than your dog”. This is not a competition just some things that makes it plain that some animals can think and have reason. We know they can be taught to sit, roll over, shake hands etc. but to think almost like a human doesn’t happen to often.
When I was a little girl I lived on a huge farm. We had animals of almost every kind. We had hunting dogs, sheep dogs (that would stay in a field all day moving the sheep to new grass but keeping them all together). One dog we had was named Laddy. A mixed breed but close to the real Laddy in the stories. My Dad was almost blind. He could barely tell light from dark and couldn’t recognize people or see any distance. Our mail box was about a mile from the house. There was rose bushes on each side of the road to the mail box so my Dad could go get the mail. He could feel the roses if he went a little to far to the left or right. We had little creeks with cattle crossings over them so animals could drink and people could cross without opening a gate. My Dad went to the mail box every day and old Laddy went with him. One day Dad was screaming and Laddy was holding on to his pant leg and would not let my Dad get up. My brothers thought Laddy must have gone crazy and took a gun with them to rescue my dad, but NO that was not the problem. The cattle crossing had washed out. Had my dad stumbled along like he did he would have fell about 4 feet in a ditch. Most likely killed himself or for sure would have really been injured. Laddy figured out somehow that that was not a good idea to let my Dad do that and he grabbed my Dad and held on for dear life. That was sure nothing he had been taught or saw another dog do. He figured out how to save my Dad’s life all on his own. He was a hero for sure and I don’t know if every dog would have done that but Laddy did. We always wondered how he knew to do it. This was in approximately 1933. I was about 10 and I remember it well.
Fast forward to the same farm about 70 years later. My brother John lived on the farm alone, and was very hard of hearing. He always relied on his watch dog to alert him if anyone came on the property. If a car drove up the dog greeted it and made it very plain it would not be a good idea to try to get out of their car. One guy tried and really got bit bad. But the man knew it was his fault. The dog stayed right with John and as soon as he got the signal it was OK then people were welcome. If John was in the house there was no need for anyone to get out of their car. But the dog was a mean character. My brother got sick and needed open heart surgery. A neighbor would take care of all the animals but no one could take care of the dog. My brother was even considering having to have the dog put down, could not let it just starve to death. Finally the neighbor that was going to come in and feed the other animals said put the dog on a long chain. He had a dog house and a little stream he could drink from. The neighbor would come with a long handled shovel and feed the dog twice a day from the shovel. Well this dog was not thinking like my brother thought at all. The dog was so sad when my brother left to go to the hospital. The first morning the neighbor came with his shovel and food and inched his way to the end of the chain the dog was wagging his tail and greeting him like an old friend. The neighbor went closer and the dog was super friendly. The second day the dog was really glad to see the neighbor, didn’t bark or growl or a thing so the neighbor took him off his chain and the dog went along as they did the chores. Then he chained him up for the night and so it went til the day John came home from the hospital. The dog was so glad to see his master and went right back into his really mean actions to anyone including the guy that had been feeding him. It finally dawned on my brother that he did not have a watch dog that gave a darn about the property it was my brother that he had been guarding with his life all those years. So unlike the story about Laddy, this dog had figured out that his job was to protect my brother only. His mind could reason beyond “sit, stay, roll over”. The dog had thought it all out as to what he thought his duty was. I found that interesting.
Now I was not the little girl on the farm anymore and I had two little boys about 9 and 10 who loved animals like I do although we lived right here in Georgetown in Seattle. It was probably around 1953. No leash laws, all dogs got together to play, fight and whatever dogs do all day when parents are at work and kids are in school. This is about a dog named Frisky. Big mixed breed. The boys put their bikes out close to the alley and a neighbor was supposed to come and do some work on them. Frisky stood straddle of them and no one was going to touch those bikes unless Cliff and Joe were home. lol But the story I want to tell is the boys would walk to the river to fish and play. They found a duck with an injured wing and it could not fly so they brought it home. I made a little wire pen, put in a little plastic wading pool and shelter. Was not sure how Frisky was going to accept that. He sure was interested but did not try to chase it of get in the pen, but laid by the pen as if protecting it. He would not let other dogs come in our yard at all. We named her Daisy and after quite awhile another duck would fly down into her pen to visit. We called him Donald. Well Daisy laid a bunch of eggs and they must have all hatched and those babies could get through the wire in the pen and we sure watched Frisky close then. One day he had one in his mouth and I was just sick about it but he was taking the baby back to Daisy. As the babies left Mama, Frishy took them back. So I just removed her little fence from around her. They didn’t need a fence between them anymore. Other people had chickens and Frisky started bringing little chickens home to Daisy. lol I told people just come in and get their chickens. the dog seemed to think that any baby anyone had belonged to Daisy. It was nothing he was taught, but he took the roll of duck protector. It got a little crowed in our yard and I knew another batch of eggs would be laid so we found a friend that lived near a little pond and they took the ducks. Frisky was pretty lonesome for awhile but went back to visiting his dog neighbors. How did he know to help Daisy raise her family? Not anything he was taught. I always thought it was kind of interesting.
Maybe you readers have a story to submit about your dog.