I feel like this is a sentence that’s never been written before…

Was it the meth lab that turned this dog into a super genius with a huge vocabulary?

That needs a lot of explanation.

The Asbury Park Press ran a story recently about a family with a dog in Rumson.

Their hound border collie mix Shira was a runt of a litter in a bad situation down in Alabama seven years ago. The dog was found living in a meth lab under terrible conditions when Trés Hanley-Millman and Paul Millman adopted her from a rescue. Trés knew her dog was smart and understood the words for about half a dozen toys.

Photo via Youtube Video Screengrab from Shira's Tale
Photo via Youtube Video Screengrab from Shira's Tale

She recorded her dog easily identifying the toy that Trés would call out. That video was just for fun and went up on social media.

It got attention, and long story short, a group of researchers grew interested in finding out more about her dog. Testing was arranged that involved cameras and monitors and many more toys and minimal distractions. It turns out Shira could very quickly learn to differentiate and identify a toy after only being told its name 3 times.

Photo by Chris Jarvis on Unsplash
Photo by Chris Jarvis on Unsplash

In the end, they found Shira could identify nearly 200 words. A massive study of dogs all over the world concluded only 41 could be found that could do this, and in New Jersey she’s the only one. That according to her owner Trés Hanley-Millman who called into the show.

When asked, she joked that yes, she had considered whether being around all the various chemicals inside a meth lab had some unexpected cognitive impact. But what it really comes down to is just a truly smart dog.

Don’t believe it? There’s video.

Here’s just a small example of this dog in action:

Now no one is saying Shira the dog is ready for her first Ted Talk. But she may be ready to take over my writing duties here at NJ 101.5.

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Gallery Credit: Sophia June

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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