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 cats want.

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.