The smartest dog we ever owned was Trooper, a German Shepherd that came from a line of Shepherds from a fellow up near DeRidder, who also trained and provided animals for the Army at Fort Polk back in those days. Troopers brothers and sisters all ended up in the Army, Trooper loved, protected and entertained us for eleven years.

This animal was incredible and smart, not only did he easily learn tricks it was as though he could think and anticipate situations ahead of time. And he was reasonable for instance, if you threw a ball or frisbee he'd go and get it and bring it back to you, once maybe even twice. But the third time you'd throw the ball he'd just look at you like what the heck? If you want to play ball go get yourself a retriever, dude.

Our backyard has an 8-foot privacy fence, during his lifetime Trooper had worn a path along the fence line where three or four times a day he'd walk the perimeter, stopping to sniff here or there, noticing if anything had changed. Sometimes I'd put an object along his path, then sit in the sunroom watching him. He'd approach the object, stop, slowly walk toward it, sniff it. Then when he figured the empty box, paper bag or whatever I'd put there was harmless he'd go on his way.

That's why it's easy to understand how a female German Shepherd named Greta noticed something in the air wasn't quite right in a home in Long Neck, Delaware. At 3 am Greta was outside the homeowner's bedroom barking and crying, loudly and on the verge of waking the whole house.

She's usually the quietest dog we own said, Ken Walsh, who got out of bed bleary-eyed to see what the noise was all about. When he opened his door, Greta begins pushing him toward the kitchen where he smelled propane. It was leaking from the stove and had already filled several rooms of the home.

Had the leak continued the sleeping members of his family in other rooms could have been suffocated to death, or been victims of a fiery explosion, all it would have taken was a spark, someone turning on a light for instance.

She's a hero said Walsh, who is a dog trainer who is starting a non-profit rescue service in his area.

Greta is a rescue animal by the way. Walsh took her in because behavioral problems in her past had threatened her future, and began to patiently work with her. I rescued Greta knowing she was a great dog under her patchy past, she has come a long way added Walsh.

I'd say, all in all, Greta has paid the Walsh family back ten-fold.

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With winter coming on, it isn't a bad idea to call a professional for an inspection of any and all gas heating appliances in your home.