Barely 2 in this photo, Cherry is 13 yrs old this month. She has been my constant companion and best friend for 12 of those years and has learned quite a bit of English in addition to the usual doggy commands. I often tell people she undertands English better than a lot of high school kids, but what happened a few nights ago really proved my point.
I had my trees trimmed way back a few weeks ago and the guys who did the lugging of branches out of the back yard left a few sticks behind. I was out in the back yard (something I hardly ever do anymore) talking to my friend who was putting new pads on the swamp cooler and my dog came out to see what was going on. She's a retrieving fool and has worn out both my arms and quite a few tennis balls. I reached down and picked up a 4" section of branch and heaved it across the yard for her. Off like a shot, she brought back and lay down and prceeded to chew on the wood. Not wanting her to eat splinters, I found a smaller branch and heaved it for her, knowing she'd forget about the one in the jaw for one in the bush.
Off again, but not quite so fast this time - she is, after all, elderly for a Pit Bull. She runs over to where the stick fell, sniffs around and loses interest. Back she comes with no stick. She used to do this with her tennis balls, too, so I sent her back out for it. "Where's that stick? Go get your stick! Find it!" Bang, thru the doggie door into the house. Back she comes with her rawhide chew stick - the only thing she has ever heard called a stick!!
So, what do you think? Is Cherry smarter than a 5th grader? I think so. She's sure smarter than a lot of the adults who are on that show.