Our pets surprise and amaze us every day, whether it is by learning a new trick or enchanting us with their quirky personalities. However, Nancy Yaros never imagined that when she adopted a seven-week-old Maltese from a local breeder, the adorable white pup would surpass any expectations that she, or anyone else, would have for a canine. With English and math skills among many others under her belt, or collar, Sweetie is the smartest dog on the planet and one of our most eligible pets!
Sweetie’s intelligence showed from her first day at home with Yaros. Whereas most puppies would accept barriers to locations in the house, Sweetie persisted and navigated past them, around them, over and under – even moving a can into position to reach and open a tall kitchen trash bag containing lobster shells, which Yaros purposely closed with Velcro to keep Sweetie out. Like a sponge, Sweetie absorbed new tricks and talents, including learning the names of all of her toys. “When I set up 13 toys in a line, Sweetie would point to the toy I requested with her paw,” explained Yaros.
That was just the tip of the iceberg. Yaros found out her gifted pooch knew letters of the alphabet and numbers without being taught. She recalls, “The first time I put letters, numbers, or any of the other items she can identify in front of her, she knew what they were. I never taught her A, B or C; or 1, 2 or 3. I put A, B, C and D in front of her and I said, ‘Show me A,’ and she did. No matter what order I put any of these items in, she could identify them.” Sweetie can spell multiple words from the same letters and can calculate answers to basic numerical problems including addition, subtraction and multiplication. “She reads the flashcards I show her and finds the answer,” said Yaros. But, perhaps Sweetie’s most endearing and exciting talent is that she can say ‘I love you’ with the same inflection and cadence that her owner uses. Yaros taught her this in two days.
Two years ago at the age of five, Sweetie became a media darling. She has been featured in local magazines including The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Magazine and has appeared many times on local news broadcasts and, eventually, on nationally recognized talk shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Wayne Brady Show. On The Tonight Show, Sweetie was able to correctly identify hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs in a deck of playing cards in addition to correctly identifying Jay Leno, Rosie O’Donnell and herself in photographs supplied by NBC during the show. This was her first appearance in front of a live audience, and she loved every minute of it! In fact, Sweetie is the first four-legged guest invited to sit through the rest of the The Tonight Show. “When the cameras are on, she turns it on. It is like she was born to perform,” gushed Yaros.
Sweetie’s gentle and loving nature makes her a natural for performing in front of children. During an appearance at the PleaseTouch Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, children called out letters for Sweetie to turn into words and numbers for her to add or subtract. Following the performance, they came up to pet the Maltese marvel, and while some dogs may be skittish around so many little hands reaching out to touch them, this eligible dog loved their attention. Fittingly, one of Sweetie’s goals is to star in a series of children’s videos. She wants to use her achievements to inspire a love of learning.
What does the smartest dog do after a day of intellectual prowess? She plays with her favorite toy – a stuffed parrot that says, ‘Polly want a cracker.’ She also spends a lot of quality time with her mom. They love to snuggle cheek-to-cheek. While she can’t decide on a favorite, Sweetie is easy to please in the food department and enjoys all kinds of cuisine. She won’t hesitate to perform for a bit of whatever someone else is having.
Sweetie is truly an inspiration to all she meets. “Anyone who encounters her changes the way they view dogs,” said Yaros, who is a prime example of this. To learn more about Sweetie, visit her website at www.sweetiethesmartestdog.com.
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