Lyssa Rosenberg, a talented animal trainer from New York City (where they say anything can happen and usually does) has taught her 10-pound English terrier mix, Willow, how to obey simple written commands.
Over the course of her career, Lyssa has trained other dogs for appearances in television commercials and various photo shoots, but Willow is her tour de force, the crème de la crème of all of her accomplishments. The dog can do 250 different things, including raising her paw in the air when she sees the word “wave” and playing dead when she sees the word, “bang!”
If that isn’t amazing enough, Willow doesn’t just react to her mistress’s handwriting. She also follows command words that have been printed off the computer
“She’s an unbelievably quick learner. It took Willow six weeks to recognize and respond to the words. I used to joke that I would teach her how to pour me a martini. Then for a bet I told a friend I would teach her to read. He promised me a free trip to Mexico if I could do it. It took her just six weeks to recognize words and respond to them. Well I won the bet and Willow came with me to Mexico.”
Willow has her own passport. She regularly flies across the Atlantic Ocean to visit her adoring public and relatives in Guildford, Surrey, notably Gareth Howells, Ms Rosenberg’s husband. Willow acted as the second witness to the couple’s wedding at New York City Hall earlier this year, signing the marriage certificate with an inky paw print.
In the words of Ms. Rosenberg:
“I once had to fly from California back to New York with a rabbit and two guinea pigs. Going through airport security was hilarious because first I pulled out the rabbit from the bag, followed by the guinea pigs and then the dog.”
One can only wonder what is next on the agenda for such a clever pooch.