Monday, September 26, 2011

Dogs, Smarter Than You Think

Ever see those goofy bumper stickers that read My Dog is Smarter Than Your Honor Student? Of course you have. It's a dig at braggadocious parents who don't realize most people really don't care how smart their child is. But I think we can all agree with the title of this blog, which is also the title of a book written by Suzanne Hlavacek. In my upcoming book, Follow the Dog Home, set for release in November, there are a couple of stories that make me think of the Smarter Than You Think premise.

The hook of the book is the story of my German Shepherd, Beverly. She ultimately led us back to my father's long lost childhood home 70 years later, sight unseen. Following our visit and recreation of the old family photo, each time I walk Bev past the old homestead now, she turns down the front path as if she's going home. What does she know?

(Left), My father on the stoop of his childhood home as a baby with his family
and first dog, Dee Dee looking on. Seventy years and 17 dogs later, the small child,
now a elderly man, returned to the exact spot on the stoop and the place
where his journey with dogs started. Joining him are son, Kevin, Kevin's family,
and the newest dogs--including Annie (Corgi) and Beverly (German Shepherd).

Then there was the time I had my Golden Retriever, Susie, with me at college. She got lost one day on a campus of 40,000 other students. Somehow she found her way to the room of the other Kevin Walsh. The way he tells it, Susie walked into his room like it was hers.

L to R, Michael, Chris, Carole and Kevin Walsh with dog Susie. 1988

My dad has a few smart dog stories too. Frisky, a mongrel, who was also nicknamed, "Runner", had a habit of running away. One day Dad found him a few towns over and eight miles away. The dog was sitting under a street sign that read Essex Avenue, waiting to be discovered. Wrong town, right street. Frisky and Dad lived on Essex Avenue.

I suppose I could build a scientific case for dog intelligence, but that's not really my kuliana as they say in Hawaii. What I think I know is enough for me. Dogs really are smarter than you think. Have a smart, or stupid dog story? Share it here, and include a picture if you have one.

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