Conversations With My Dog

Conversations With My Dog

Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.  Here’s this week’s column:

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I learned something new about one of my favorite people in the world this week.

    By favorite people, I mean my dog.

    You don’t see dogs as people and think those us who do are on the wrong side of crazy?  Save your time, read no more.

    But if you’re like me and know your dog is a member of your family, your baby, your soul sister, then, yes, read on.

    I heard about this contraption where you soon will be able to speak English with your dog. The device fits on your dog’s head like a telemarketer’s headset. Researchers in Europe believe they can make it analyze your dog’s brain waves and translate those thoughts in language we humans can understand.

    What a  silly premise behind this invention! Ten bucks says the inventor doesn’t have a dog of his own.

    It is indeed true my dog, Darla, has never spoken a human word.

    But what have we been doing these last 14 years since I brought her home from the Humane Society, if not having one long, amazing awesome, life-affirming conversation?

    There are the basics that need to be covered like DarlaDog communicating, “Scratch my ear, please.”  “What’s for dinner?” “There are some awesome smells on our street just waiting for us to take a walk.” “You really don’t want to date that guy.” “The new 3-legged cat is kind of cool. We should keep her.” (Perhaps we should’ve spoken more on that last one. Turns out, the cat is nuts.)

    And then, of course, the best, conversations of all, when I snuggle down close to Darla’s snout and she peers at me with those dark brown eyes. If there are words that express the unconditional, intensely devoted love my dog speaks to me, I have not learned them yet. There is no question in my heart, the conversation has been had.

    I imagine you’ve had equally wonderful conversations with your dog, as well.

    I told my husband about this new device and asked him, “What do you think Darla would say if she could talk?”

    “That’s easy,” he replied in his straightforward manner, “Food, food, food.  Oh, and Mama.”

    He knows us well, that husband of mine, even if he has to learn to speak Dog.

    “I tried to take Darla for a walk,” he complained the other day. “She won’t go.”

    “She wants you to scratch her belly first,” I said from the other room without looking up from book I was reading.

    “How do you know that?” he asked.

    “Dunno. She told me once, I guess.”

    Sure enough, he walked back, Darla rolled over four legs and belly in the air. “Now that we’re clear on that, let’s go for a walk,” she groaned as pushed back on her not so strong old lady back legs.

    “Come here, I’ll put your leash on,” my husband said, expecting Darla to come her way.

    “She doesn’t understand what you’re saying,” I yelled from the other room.

    “How do you know?”

    “Well, for one, she’s almost 14 and she’s deaf,” I explained. “And the way you talk to her just sounds like the ‘Waah Waah’ sound like the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons.”

“What?” he said totally confused.

Makes perfect sense to me. A year into marriage, I’m still working on learning to speak Husband language fluently.  But Dog? Got that one down.

Think I’ll save my money and not by that Dog Translation contraption when it comes out. Go spend it on dog treats instead. Darla tells me she thinks that’s a fine idea.

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