But Ugly always had the same response. He would stand there, and not move until the cruel stranger gave up on the hose and the rocks and left him alone.
If you threw things at him, he would even curl up at your feet showing you forgiveness.
Whenever Ugly saw children, he would come running excitedly and bump his head against their hands to be pet. If you picked him up, he immediately began suckling on your shirt, or ears, whatever he could find.
One day, Ugly shared his love with the neighbor’s Huskies. They did not respond kindly and he was badly mauled.
From my apartment, I could hear his screams and I rushed to his aid. By the time I got there, he was lying there, obvious his poor life was coming to an end. I carried him home, afraid my touch was hurting him terribly. I could hear him gasping and struggling but then I felt a familiar sensation. Ugly was suckling on my ear. I pulled him closer to me and he bumped my hand with his head.
Then he turned his one golden eye toward me and I could hear the distinct sound of purring.
Even though he was in so much pain, covered in wounds, the battle-scarred cat was only asking for one thing: a little bit of affection.
At that moment, I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever seen.
Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, or run away from me. Ugly just looked up at me, trusting me to relieve his pain. Ugly died in my arms before I could bring him inside but I sat there and held him for a long time afterward, thinking about how one scarred, deformed little stray could alter my opinion about what it means to have pureness of spirit. To love so totally and truly.
Ugly taught me more about giving and compassion than a thousand books, lectures or talk show specials ever could.
Many people want to be richer, more successful, well liked, beautiful. But for me, I will always try to be Ugly.”
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A friend of mine has a beautiful Dalmatian. Friendly, energetic and lovable, she was a perfect family pet… but she wasn’t the smartest pooch on the planet. See, she knew how to go through the pet door out into the garden, but she had no clue how to get back inside. It never occurred to her that the flap could swing both ways. So she would sit outside and howl until my friend would open the door.
Repeated demonstrations of the dual movement of the flap had no effect; it just did not compute. The dog breeds on this list, however, probably don’t have that problem. They’re widely considered to be among the cleverest canines in the world. Take a look and see if you agree.
1. German Shepherd
No surprise here. German Shepherds are the world’s best police dogs, military dogs, and some have even been movie stars (remember Rin Tin Tin?). Brave, loyal, smart and strong, they’re the total package.
Also on the list of the best family-friendly dogs in the world, the Beagle has an incredible nose that lets them sniff out just about anything. Born detectives, they’re not the most trainable pets, but they are smart. And hey, nobody ever accused Snoopy of being dumb.
3. Golden Retriever
A popular choice for assistance dogs for their easy temperament, natural intelligence and loyalty, Golden Retrievers are natural guides and also serve as great rescue dogs. Active and fun to be around, they’re wonderful family pets.
4. Border Collie
Border Collies are considered by many to be the geniuses of the dog world. Expert herders, laser-focused (they’re known for their intense stare), and incredibly agile to boot, they’re workaholics and excellent athletes. Just don’t expect to keep one cooped up in an apartment.
Did you know poodles were originally hunting dogs? They respond very well to training and are quick to learn tricks. So don’t let the fluffy looks and styled mane fool you! These dogs are among the smart canines around. Plus, they’re among the best dogs in the world for those who suffer allergies.
6. Belgian Malinois
A terrific military dog, the Malinois is a natural herder, tracker and worker. Smart, trainable and protective, these dogs require an owner who knows what he or she is doing. In addition to the military, Malinois are often recruited as guard dogs and police dogs as well.
Named for their butterfly-shaped ears, papillons are small, cute and pretty smart. They’re considered the smartest of the toy dog breed, with intelligence levels comparable to the über-smart border collie. They’re alert and focused pets, and loyal and lovable: an ideal friend for he family.
Sadly, Dobermans are known more for their ferocity than their smarts, but these are considered among the most intelligent dogs in the world, as well as one of the most effective guard dogs around. They’re outstanding students known to be affectionate and obedient.
Don’t let the wrinkles and dopey expression fool you! Bloodhounds have the keenest of noses, and are often used for trailing (so much so that their evidence can be used in court against you!). These are loving but strong-willed dogs, and are often used on search and rescue missions.
10. Australian Cattle Dog
You need a smart, determined and energetic dog to control unruly cows. And that’s just what the Australian Cattle Dog, or ACD, does. They’re intelligent enough to herd these much larger creatures, and while they need their independence and wide open spaces, they’re eager workers who know how to get the job done.
Did we miss your brainy dog on this list? If so, write in and let us know about it!