Speaking as a pet parent myself, I think that all of us like to think that our sweet babies are the best and brightest kitties, puppies, rabbits, or mynah birds around.
That said, one mom to a very adorable and fluffy golden retriever is coming forward with a very honest declaration about her beloved pup Stanley.
According to her post on photo sharing website Imgur, Stanley is sweet and lovely, but she’s come to suspect that he might also be…well, to put it bluntly, a bit slow.
Of course, there’s a lot of variation in terms of animal intelligence. Many fish, for example, have little ability to remember, while lots of birds are smarty-pants that can learn words and even match colors together.
Dogs tend to land right in the middle. A dog of average intelligence can respond to a handful of commands and find hidden food.
In Stanley’s case, his owner and her husband almost instantly began to suspect that their pup, though happy and healthy, might have some special needs.
Scroll through the gallery below to learn how they help to care for a dog that needs just a little extra patience, love, and understanding.
It all started when the poster and her husband first adopted Stanley from Golden Retriever Rescue Of Mid-Florida.
She writes that they knew from the get-go that Stanley was a little different because when they walked into his foster home, “he was sleeping on top of the dining room table.”
Stanley immediately fell for his prospective parents and when they took him home, he got along great with their kids and other pets.
Despite Stanley’s sweet temperament and love of cuddles, his new forever home parents were still a little bit concerned about their new pooch.
They had trained their first golden, Karma, themselves, but had zero success with Stanley, and they began to worry he might hurt himself with his antics, including “counter surfing” and a tendency to bolt.
They hired two trainers to no avail; one offered the opinion that Stanley was mentally handicapped.
While it seemed like an insult initially, they began to take the suggestion of mental difficulty seriously in their attempts to provide the pup with a safe and happy home.
Stanley was perfectly healthy in body, so they hadn’t really considered the possibility of special needs, but his strange behaviors were definitely pushing them to explore that direction more.
After having their vet check his senses and determine his hearing and sight were fine, they began to do some research.
In addition to his energetic antics, Stanley did not respond to his own name or any command but “sit.”
He had also developed an obsessive-compulsive routine of gathering certain toys and objects from around the house, including a stuffed animal and remote control, every afternoon.
His owner notes that he would grow “visibly distressed” if he couldn’t find all his items.
They decided to implement a Doggy IQ test recommended by a friend.
They tested his ability to get out from under a blanket, respond to his name, and find a treat inside of a cup.
Stanley flunked the test completely, while their other Golden, Karma, passed easily.
After conducting the simple IQ test at home, the family concluded that their beloved Stanley, pictured here not responding to his name, was “just…different.”
They sent videos of his test-taking to their vet, who agreed and said Stanley’s challenges might be a combination of stubbornness and inbreeding, which can lead to low intelligence.
Eventually, they concluded that they might never know the “why” of Stanley’s behavior, but it was nothing to worry about.
Stanley’s family just makes sure to take care of their special pup with lots of love and patience.
He may not get things right away, or at all, but he loves them and they love him back!
To keep him happy, they make sure he can always find his favorite objects for collecting, and always has time to process what’s going on and figure things out.
The poster concludes by adding, “he really is a good boy, and has brought so much love, entertainment, and happiness to our home.”
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