Homeless Dog Refuses to Beg.
Learns to “Buy” Cookies at Store
Blackie is a handsome Black Labrador who evidently had been abandoned by his previous owners, until he worked his way hopelessly to the college campus of Diversified Technical Education Institute of Monterrey Casanare in Colombia. He looked so sad and alone, that students quickly fell in love with Blackie. They pet him on the head, scratched his ears, hugged him, and even bathed and groomed him. This was the love Blackie had always longed for, but had never received.
In return, Blackie became their faithful companion and guard dog. He followed them around campus protecting them from intruders, especially when a student was walking alone at night. Blackie had their backs. For his intense loyalty to the students, college faculty provided Blackie with plenty of good food and water, and a safe and comfortable place to sleep. Blackie soon became their beloved campus mascot. For the last five years, Blackie has been a watchful companion to all of the students throughout their studies.
During Blackie’s time on campus, he noticed that some of the students were giving green pieces of paper to the campus shopkeeper in exchange for cookies. Blackie had yearned for one of the cookies, but he was not going to take advantage of those loving students by begging from them. Instead, he decided to emulate them. Intrigued by the economic exchange unfolding before him, the clever canine decided to try something similar.
“Contrary to popular belief, dogs can see color, too,” says Dr. Shelby Reinstein, a veterinary ophthalmologist at Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center in Pennsylvania. “Color vision is possible due to specialized types of photoreceptor cells in the retina called cones. When these cells are stimulated, they transmit a signal to the brain, which is perceived as a particular color. Humans possess three types of cones. On the other hand, dogs possess two types of cones, so their ability to perceive colors is limited compared to humans.”
Blackie could see basic colors, without the wide variety of shades. There was no “Fifty Shades of Grey.” He could see a bouncing yellow tennis ball, on the green grass, under a blue sky. So when he saw students handing a store clerk something, he knew two things: (1) it was green, and (2) they received a cookie for it.
Blackie needed only to find something green to exchange for a cookie at the store. Then one morning, Blackie strolled into the store on his own. In his mouth was a large green leaf. When he approached the store counter, he stood on his hind legs and set it down. His stump-of-a-tail wagged a hundred miles per hour.
The manager replied, “I think he is trying to buy a cookie.”
The shopkeeper took the “currency” and gave Blackie a cookie.
Now every morning, without fail, you can see Blackie standing in line with the other students, holding a leaf in his mouth to buy his cookie. And it helps that his “money” really does grow on trees.
“When you first see it, you almost want to cry,” says the store attendant. “He’s found a way to make himself understood. He wants to pay his own way.”