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Is Jack Russell Stephens the smartest dog in Adair Co.?

Richard Stephens thinks so. Thinks Jack could match wits with the any dog and some people
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By Ed Waggener

Anyone who knows Richard Stephens knows he doesn't go in for any nonsense. He's that way about work. About education. About his politics, and his dog.

He puts Jack ahead of the likes of Richie Janes border collie, of Tommy Grider's German shepherd with two college degrees, and even the legendary Old Raymond, who used to take calls on the telephone to come and pick up herds of cattle.

Jack Russell Stephens, is now a full fledged member of the Stephens family. Jack and Richard carry on conversations and Jack travels with Richard a lot of the time. He's even one of his favorite golfing companions. He rides along side him and, when the cart is parked, he'll take the wheel as though he's ready to be Richard's driver.

"I got him," Stephens says, "when he was just a few weeks old. You might say I rescued him from Larry Blair," he says. "They didn't mistreat Jack," he said, "but they were unintentionally holding him back. They're Republicans," he said, "you see. They're good people. Just didn't know any better when it comes to government."

Stephens demonstrates by tossing dog food and saying, "Republican food, Jack!" and the dog turns his head.

He tosses another piece of food, and says, "Democrat food," and Jack races to gobble it up.

According to Richard Stephens, he didn't proselyltize with Jack to try to influence his politics. "He just picked it up on his own," he said. "Reading good books. Watching C-Span. Listening to unbiased news casts."

When Richard Stephens asks Jack whether he would rather be dead or be a Republican, Jack keels over and dies in the best theatrical tradition.

It's not all politics.

Jack Russell and Richard Stephens can give high fives like any celebrity pair when one says "Gimme five."

"I'd put him up against any dog I've ever seen," Richard Stephens said. "Heck, I can think of plenty of people who aren't as smart as Jack.""Sometimes," Richard Stephens says, "I don't know whether Jack is learning more from me, or I'm learning more from him. He's one smart dog."

This story was posted on 2009-08-06 12:11:58
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Great Dogs of Adair Co, KY

2009-08-06 - Pinewood Country Club - Photo by Ed Waggener.
Jack Russell Stephens at the wheel of his and Richard Stephens golf cart. Jack usually sits at Richards' side, and never drives, but he's apparently interested in the prospect of driving. Richard got Jack a few months ago from what he describes as a well meaning but politically challenged famly. "Since he's come to live with me, and has been watching serious television, maybe even reading my newspapers and books - I don't know - he's come a long way. He's a Democrat, through and through."

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Richard Stephens and his smart dog: Jack Russell Stephens

2009-08-06 - Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener.
In the center panel, Jack looks at the camera as if to say, "Look what I've taught Richard." in the lower right photo, he completes the trick, giving Richard a High Five. In the upper right photo, Jack shows his theatrical ability with a death scene, after Richard Stehens asks him if he'd rather be dead or be a Republican.

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