This is an event which has given me much cause for reflection. There is much controversy over the question, "Do animals have intelligence or not?" The following experience may cause many people to ascribe intelligence to the dog, naturally in the broad sense of the word. I maintain at least that animals often reflect amply before they perform a task.
It was this way: My father was driving a herd of swine along the Werra River from Meiningen to Themar. The path runs between Lautersdorf and Wachdorf close by the river, whose current races in springtime. Now the Werra had overflowed it's banks. A small child, playing on the log rafts, had fallen in the water, but, curiously, was held up by her clothes which had spread out like an umbrella. She was being carried swiftly downstream by the current. Large crowds of people soon gathered and followed along the bank, but the right man was not among them and no one dared try a rescue from the wind and surging waves.
From the road, my father saw the crowd and noticed it's excited behavior. Curious, he too went over. His Rottweiler, who had followed him, understood the whole situation at a glance. There was something to be taken from the water, and water was his element!
Without waiting for any sort of command - in all that excitement who would have thought of him? - he ran down along the bank, jumped in the water and swam, cleverly making use of the current's force, to the little girl whom he saved and brought to shore unharmed. What he did daily in herding swine, that is, bringing living things out of the water, he had done here without being told. But who told him he should run downstream and thus use the current's force in order to save the little girl? Was it instinct? Was it training? Or was it planned, thought out action? Everyone can imagine the happiness of the little girl's father! In vain, he sought to become the Rottweiler's owner. The animal was not for sale, "for however much money." Would one of us have let him go?