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Smart Pets We Like to Brag About

Pet owners are a proud breed. We like to brag about our pets. Thanks to all who entered the Alex & Me contest. The winning entry is from Jerry Dunham of Tejas Coonhound Rescue. He will get a copy of the book Alex & Me by Irene M. Pepperberg.  Second place goes to Joy Ward and honorable mention goes to Kenda Swartz Pepper. Following are the winning stories.


By Jerry Dunham

The now-deceased, one-time alpha of our canine pack, Toots, was a pacifist, and did not like confrontation. When the particular dog bed (out of three) that she preferred in our family room was occupied by another dog, she’d hover and hope they’d move. All knew she wouldn’t do more to make them move, and seldom would one of the other dogs do so.

We have a bell on the doorknob of our back door so that our dogs can nose it to inform us when they want to go out. If one’s going out, generally EVERYone wants to go out, lest they miss something.

When Toots wanted her bed badly enough, she’d go ring the bell and watch the dog that had been occupying her bed scramble and go out. Then she’d calmly go lie down in her favorite spot.

Yes, she was a liar, and manipulative, but those seem to be rather common human traits, too. What this represents is an interesting level of indirect problem solving. Of course, it doesn’t say much for the intelligence of our other dogs that they fell for this ruse more than once.


By Joy Ward

My story is about my now deceased Nigel. Nigel, a male Weimaraner, was loved by everyone. When I traveled, he would stay with my friend Mary. Mary had three dogs but they were confined to the kitchen and den areas of her home. Not Nigel. When he visited, Nigel had the run of her home and slept with her and her husband.

One time while Nigel was visiting, Mary left a bag of opened and shelled pecans in her bedroom. Mary came home to find that he had divided the pecans into four roughly equal piles. One pile was on her bed and the other three were in a triangle on the floor. As best we could figure, Nigel decided to divide the pecans into piles for the other three dogs and himself.

So not only was Nigel trying to treat the other dogs but he could count too.


By Kenda Swartz Pepper

The other day our seven month old puppy (an SPCA variety of Aussie Shepherd and Lab mix) found her way into the master bedroom of our house. She knows she’s not allowed in there, because we have new bamboo floors that we’re trying to preserve at least until she is over her manic puppy stage. I found her in there with toilet paper hanging out of her mouth, which means she was also up to some shenanigans in the bathroom. I firmly said, “No Stella. Out.” She quickly scrambled out of the room and went right into her crate. She crated herself! I was shocked and couldn’t help but chuckle that she gave herself a time out! My heart melted, and I immediately went to her with gobs of love and attention. She’s too cute to resist! That’s only one of many ways she’s shown her intelligence. That little one is so darn smart it astounds me.

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