It cracks me up to see folks in love with their pets, and having what they perceive to be meaningful dialogue with them. I listened to two owners of their dogs chatting. Their dogs were friends too. One talked of their dog being disgusted with a certain situation, and apparently the dog turned on its heel, huffed, and got the look in their eye, which translated into a complete conversation. I also see that the conversation between owner and pet are largely one way, with the human being talking like this:
Pluto, are you having a good day?
Yes, you are having a great day!
Can mommy get you a treat?
(Dog jumps up and down and understands the conversation clearly)
Here you go, mommy loves you!
Look, I hate to tell you all, but dogs can’t talk. They bark. They can bark in different ways, which I do understand. They have a bark that says, “I’m going to eat you,” and a bark that begs for food. They have a bark that welcomes you home, and a bark that demonstrates they are here to protect us; but that said, folks, dogs don’t talk.
I would never want to see people stop having these ridiculous conversations with their mutts. I think it is therapy for the human being and great entertainment for the dog. I have a weird thought sometimes: what if dogs totally understand us and simply don’t have the ability to communicate to humans? Maybe they can read minds or have powers that allow them to fully comprehend conversations. What if in heaven, we can all communicate and laugh hysterically as we review “footage” of our assumptions of their communication.
So what of culture and dialect? Why is it that some dogs like to eat children, and others simply slobber all over you? Do they all speak different languages? Do they understand the languages we speak? Can I converse in Spanish with the Taco Bell dog? Perhaps I am pondering this too much, but these are the things that are not painful or even require too much intellect to ponder, so it’s great pondering material for me.
I love dogs. We have two labs who are totally cool. I actually don’t create in my mind their conversations to me, but I do relate to those puppy dog looks that have very articulate expressions. For all you pet lovers out there, without breaking your bubble, I wanted you to know that your pet cannot talk, neither can it converse in your language. Animal speak is a wonderful make believe adventure for many of us- as long as we know it’s really all in our heads.