Princess is by far the smartest and most loyal dog that our family has had. She came into our family after the untimely death of our beagle Daisy. We were a grief stricken family, and after 2 weeks of sadness, the kids and I visited the local humane society and county animal control, in search of our next "pet". Princess wasn't the prettiest, or most charming available dog. But something about her made her irresistible to our then, teenage daughter and son. As I was signing the adoption papers she began defensively barking at the people entering the animal control reception area. I remember making eye contact with the county agent, and she said with some attitude "She is yours now!"
Her favorite play immediately was running! Running with my daughter, running after the tennis ball, and playfully running away from us. We always found her, and returned her to the yard. Then she developed a talent for jumping the four foot picket fence! One day our son, while sitting on a bar stool, asked her to jump into his lap, and she did so without hesitation, just like a cat! So he led her outside climbed a tree and sure enough, she leapt onto the fork in the trunk - and from then on the squirrels in our neighborhood were on the defense! Even now, 10 years later, the kids on our street will holler "Princess, squirrel!" just to see her climb the live oak trees!
She is truly loyal to each of us. Throughout the years, we have moved and she has been sort of a "joint custody pet", equally at home with my husband and I in during our time Memphis, and my son back here at home. And when our daughter visits from the Midwest, she literally grins when she sees her, and gently gnaws on her arms in happy play!
She learned to open the screen door and my husband attached a handle at the bottom of the frame so she could open it at her convenience. I get a kick out of watching guests reactions to seeing her open the door and let her in! She also taught herself to open the refrigerator door and pick and choose from the leftovers! Always giving herself away when we returned home, with her guilty look, and shameful posture. My son glued a heavy duty child latch on the ice box door to stop her from snacking! Still curious at other people's homes, she always opens kitchen cupboards and has a look inside!
Her ability to understand us is uncanny, we just tell her where to go and what to do, and she goes. Her emotion is very easy to read, everything is written on her face and spoken in the movements of her tail. It looks like it has been attached sideways and depending on her reason for wagging it, moves in different directions! My favorite is the tiny quick movement the tip end of her tail gives when she hears one of us walking up the stairs.
And now that we have a new dog she has become a "teacher" to him. He is beginning his second year in our home, and she has been patient in teaching him dog etiquette, the kind of manners that we couldn't teach. She has never been jealous acting toward him, but gives us that look of "Why did you think this was a good idea?"
Her age is beginning to slow her down, now instead of bringing the ball back to us, she will race to retrieve it before the puppy, and then settled down with it in her mouth, happy that she is the "big dog". The "puppy" has about 30 pounds on her, but treats her with respect and love like the "Princess" she is.