Ability to talk will give dogs new leash on life

Andrew M. Santos

I believe in science. Just like Hillary Clinton, Ben Franklin and a billion other Americans. I don’t care whether it’s science fact or science fiction. I don’t care whether it’s Dr. Fauci or Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Strange or Dr. Strangelove. I believe it all.

In these troubled times, it’s important to “follow the science,” even if we don’t know where it’s leading us. Should we be wearing one mask or two? Heck, I’ll wear 22. Is red meat good for us or bad? Science isn’t sure, so pass the hot wings.

There’s a lot of science in my family lineage. I have a sister who’s a doctor and has been quoted in Scientific American about COVID, and she keeps bugging me to get vaccinated. I, on the other hand, barely made it out of high school chemistry because I was too busy cracking jokes. I believe in a good laugh as much as science.

I was the only one in my senior class at St. Joseph High School who refused to take physics. Nevertheless, I got into college even though I knew nothing about Isaac Newton or quantum mechanics. To compensate, I watch that TV series “Fringe,” where I learned about the parallel universe and transmogrification, which is what happened when Nancy Pelosi got caught in that beauty salon.

I also love ornithology and birding. In fact, I once had a parakeet named Duke and taught him to say “Pretty Boy, Duke” and do basic algebra, which brings me to the point of this column. I’m an advocate of inter-species communication, and today I want to tell you about the exciting scientific discipline of … dog talk.

I have dozens of books with titles like “Do Dogs Laugh?” “How to Speak Dog” and “How Dogs Think” by experts in canine-human communication, such as Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia. (I bet you thought this was fake news.)


So I was delighted to read about a new scientific development in my scientific journal of choice, the New York Post, which recently reported that the South Koreans have created a smart collar that lets “pet parents” translate their dog’s barking. (I used that phrase instead of “dog owner” so PETA doesn’t cancel me.) This advancement will revolutionize the 30,000-year history of human-canine relations.

The collar identifies dog emotions through “a proprietary algorithm in combination with a database of more than 10,000 bark samples from 50 breeds of dogs.” The company said, “This device gives a dog a voice so that humans can understand.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get a collar like this for our spouses, our partners, our teenagers, our bosses and our political leaders? We’d never have to worry about being lied to again.

Our dog Bella is a perfect test subject for this collar because she barks incessantly. She barks so much that my wife and I argue about who’s to blame, just as we did over our four daughters. “It’s your fault.” “NO, it’s YOUR fault!” We should have called the Dog Whisperer long ago.

At first, I thought Bella was telling us, “That mailwoman’s going down!” Then, I thought she was saying, “Don’t give me this #@&*! dog food while you eat veal parmigiana!” or “Get this #%!*@ leash off me! What happened to the good old days when dogs could chase cars?”

Now, I know the truth: She’s barking about politics. She’s as angry as the rest of America.

I told her, “Bella, you can’t just complain about a bad situation. You have to do something about it because ‘if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.’”

I have to go off the record now. This smart collar will help launch her political career.

You see, I’m preparing her to run for office in the tradition of Bella Abzug, so I’ve been studying political science, which is a lot easier than physics. All she has to do is raise her paw for yea or nay, and I’ve trained her to do that.

Uninformed opinion is the foundation of a free society. Haven’t you ever followed Twitter?

Most important of all, I trust Bella. I trust her more than any elected official I know and many I don’t know. You see, in politics trust is necessary … but not as necessary as distrust.

Joe Pisani can be reached at [email protected]

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