I knew Beau was a very intelligent dog almost from the moment we met, that long ago day in Tipperary.  But over the years he has managed to amaze and impress me countless times. 

Border Collies are supposed to be pretty sharp that way, but Beau's mental prowess is simply staggering sometimes!  Sure, he understands dozens of spoken commands and silent hand signals, but that's nothing ---Beau's a real genius, as the story I'm about to share clearly illustrates.

One afternoon, not long after one of the multiple knee surgeries that have left me severely disabled, I was sitting on my back porch tossing frisbees into the back yard for Beau.  He seemed to understand that I couldn't play with him the way I usually did, and he adapted to this new style immediately.

I'd throw the frisbees from my recliner chair, and he'd chase them down, bring them back up the steps and lay them down beside me.  He never seemed to get tired of this game, and I loved watching him go flying -- he just goes totally airborne to snatch them out of the air instead of waiting for the pull of gravity to bring them down to his level!

On one toss, I threw the frisbee a little too high and the wind caught it and carried it into the branches of a young Manitoba maple.  It lodged in the branches about 15 to 18 feet off the ground, and I thought, "I'm going to have to go get that one, 'cause there's no WAY he's going to be able to get it down himself!"

Before I could even get my feet under me, Beau threw himself into action, blowing my mind in the process!  He went running over to the tree, looking up at the frisbee stuck in the branches and trying to figure out a way to get it down.  I swear, you could almost hear his mind working!  He came up with a brilliant solution, and in less time than it takes to even tell the story, too.

There was a stack of firewood on the ground near the base of the tree. Beau went charging up that pile of wood and literally launched himself into the air like some kind of furred canine missile, hurling his front paws against the trunk of the young tree ... once, twice, three times ... and that frisbee came fluttering down from its lofty perch, right into his waiting jaws!

Oh, and you can bet your last dollar he KNEW he'd done something very special from the way he came prancing back to me, head and tail held high, high-stepping all the way and wagging his tail a mile a minute. I couldn't praise him enough for such an incredible display of problem solving ability!

My one regret is that I didn't have a video camera to capture his feat for posterity.  A friend of ours was watching with me and he couldn't believe what he'd just seen, and frankly neither could I!  If I had it on video I could and would show it off every chance I got, believe me, but instead all I can do is tell you about it.

Heck, it probably would have won us a big pile of money on one of those "funny and amazing video shows" too.

Yes, I knew my Beau was one smart dog, but I didn't know he was a rocket scientist!

Gary LittleBear, Canada

"Rocket Scientist," was originally published in "Petwarmers," Tue, 31 Jul 2001 

To read Gary's first story about how Beau came to live with him, please click here



A Morning Kiss

A morning kiss, a discreet touch of his nose landing somewhere on the middle of my face.
Because his long white whiskers tickled, I began every day laughing.

Janet F Faure

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