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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Walking With Jackie the Ripper

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Like most dog owners, I like to think mine is just a tad smarter than the average, but I don't know. Well, really I do. She is not smarter than the average. If there was an IQ scale for the canine species, without doubt Jackie would not score in the high range. In all probability she would be in the Slow Learner group, but I love her to pieces anyway.

One of my brothers is a dog trainer, hunter and general smart aleck who makes all manner of fun of Jackie. He says her only skill is tracking down the scrap piles of the neighbors', and the vet has mentioned an affliction called "garbage gut," which she has been troubled with more than once.

I believe, if given free access to table scraps, the dog would eat herself to death. One of my neighbor boys loves her greatly, and he confided his fear that she would commit suicide by bursting. He said he had heard of it. After a certain amount of food was consumed by a dog of her breed, he told me, one more bite would cause it to explode all over the place. He had not witnessed it himself, he admitted, but he had heard of it.

Of course, this worries me more than a little and I try to keep a watch on her when she is outside roaming around because lots of people throw out table scraps. Bones rank right up there on her list of all-time favorites, and I learned early on not to try to take one away from her. I sincerely believe she would have taken my hand off to the elbow if I hadn't backed off.

Not only will she not drop bones when I tell her, but she won't mind anything else, either, so you can understand when I tell you that I just got sick the other day when I read an article about "Missouri's Most Famous Canine Citizen, JIM THE WONDER DOG!" Jim, a Llewellyn English Setter, was held by many to be either the smartest dog who ever lived, or the best trained, whichever way a person wanted to look at it.

He was born in Louisiana and was owned by a fellow in the West Plains area who later moved to Marshall and that town now claims him. The dog's abilities knew no bounds, the story reported. He could pick out a car, anyone's car, if the license plate number was written on a piece of paper. Does this mean he could read?

He supposedly picked winners of horse races, and another of his feats was picking World Series winners.

Jim and his owner were invited to the University of Missouri where he was tested in various ways, even questioned in foreign languages which his owner did not know, and he complied with the instructions.

Jim lived to be 12 and at his death was buried just outside of the Marshall Cemetery. His marker reads "Jim, the Wonder Dog. Mar. 10, 1925, Mar. 18, 1937."

If fate dictates that I outlive Jackie I'm not sure what will be on the gravestone, but I plan to bury her in a pile of table scraps and add to it daily. I know she would like that.