A special visitor in Dexter left students thankful there were no snow cancellations.
Dave the Math Dog, who has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, sporting his personalized blue bandana and followed by his two sons performed for students from both Southwest and Central Elementary schools Monday morning.
The special assembly brought in over 1,000 students and faculty members to see some of Dave’s out of the ordinary pet tricks.
Dave is a seven-year-old Golden Retriever owned and trained by Frank and Debbie Ferris of Lerna, Ill. But, Dave does more than just sit and roll over, he can do mathematics, understands sign language and understands numbers in five different languages. “When Dave was about five, my wife was watching a show on the Discovery Channel about the things dogs take in from their surroundings,” Frank Ferris said. “After the show she sat down and asked him seven or eight times how many fingers she was holding up and he never missed once.”
That’s when, Ferris said, they decided there was something special in Dave that they should share with others.
Now Ferris and Dave travel around and give motivational presentations to young students encouraging them to stick with mathematics. “Before today our biggest audience was 720 students in Ripley, Tenn. last year,” he said of the size of Monday’s audience.
How all of this works is Ferris writes a problem on a small dry erase board, he then shows it to the dog. Dave then uses his paw to count out the right answers. And they aren’t all small problems.
Twelve-year-old Jennifer Aslin, who worked as Ferris’ assistant during the show, walked around and took random numbers from students and then wrote the problems out on the board. She would then take the board to Frank who would ask Dave the problem. Dave answered problems ranging from the most basic addition all the way up to problems involving exponents and square roots.
Ferris said he really has no explanation for how or why Dave understands math, and he seemed to even have the staff and administration stumped as to how he does it.