Slinging a Smooth Stone
by C.F. David, Editor, The Boise City News
Do we really want to know what our pets think?
I have written before of the latest pet craze, digital translators
for your dog. The translator is a collar with a digital screen attached;
when the dog barks, the machine, developed I believe by the Japanese,
translates the bark into the language of your choice so you can see
what Rover wants. The model I saw demonstrated on television kept saying
the dog was frustrated.
If I am going to stoop to communicate with my dog, I want to read something
more than "I am frustrated." I want his or her opinion on
world affairs; what do the pets of America really think?
What does dog food really taste like?
Why do they feel compelled to mark their territory?
Why do they hate cats, and why can't they all just get along?
Also, will the dog have a list of complaints? will he gripe about leaves
in his water dish; or birds eating the dry food from the food dish?
Will they complain about the nasty taste they get in their mouths when
they chew your shoes?
Or, more interestingly will they be able to tell us what they plan to
do with a car when they catch it?
The machines come in a variety of languages so owners from around the
world can understand what their dog needs.
Now I wonder, what if the owner is French, but the dog only barks in
German; will it translate? Or will the dog become even more frustrated
because his human still doesn't understand?
I also wonder why we can't come up with something to understand what
Sasha, the cat who has taken over my home and of whom I claim no ownership,
is constantly whining about something. I would kind of like to know
what it is; but perhaps I really don't want to know. Cats really seem
to be very egotistical and snooty, probably nothing they say would be
well received by any human. Now to my way of thinking if you just attached
one of those Magic Eight-Balls to your dog's collar, you'd get the same
kind of information and it's just likely to be what the dog is thinking.
The word for the week is paraphrase.