Talking Pets? Bow-Humbug!

Published 4:14 pm Thursday, November 29, 2012

'Twas the month before Christmas at Stillmeadow Farm,

And the pets were all snug in the house where it's warm.

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,

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Which was not a surprise with four cats in the house.

“A mouse,” Luna chuckled into her whiskers as she groomed her left ear. “A mouse would have to be crazy to stir in this house!”

Kiki, matriarch of the house cats, nodded and yawned. “I haven't seen a mouse since the winter of '04,” she agreed. “But I made quick work of him. I haven't subscribed to Good Mousekeeping all these years for nothing!”

“Well, we can't all be Mouser Stewart!” Sophie cleaned a bit of Fancy Feast from her whiskers and sniffed.

Star raised an eyebrow.

“You cats don't know anything about hunting,” Star pointed out. “I'm a German Shepherd, and I catch mice all the time. My mother, by the way, once caught a fox!”

“Box – who wants to box,” Sadie zipped into the room. Arching her bushy tail, a trademark of her Husky heritage, Sadie challenged Star to a lively round of the dogs' favorite game.

Assorted yips and yowls quickly brought me into the room.

“What do you guys think you're doing?” I asked.

Silence ensued.

“Funny, I thought I heard a commotion in here,” I mumbled to myself.

Maybe it was that pre-Christmas thing, but when I stepped into the room not a creature was stirring.

I decided to hang around for awhile just in case.

With mug in hand I headed for the only chair not occupied by the furry and four-legged. Sipping my coffee, I began to read the mail. All around the room whiskered faces watched as I rocked and read.

“Look at this,” I pointed to a catalog page as my spouse walked by. “Here's a gadget that allows you to communicate with your pets.”

I read from the advertisement: “Bow-Lingual operates via a wireless microphone placed on a dog's collar. The dog's barks are translated into words on the handheld LCD unit. Keeping pace with modern technology, Bow-Lingual now offers apps for iPhone and iPad in addition to the hand-held model.”

“Talking pets,” my spouse espoused on the way to the coffeepot. “I don't think so.”

Looking around the room at the array of intelligent animal expressions I begged to differ.

“Of course, dogs can talk,” I affirmed. “Just look at these faces.”

Star and Sadie wagged their tails and did their best to look smart.

I continued to read from the catalog, “Have you ever wondered what your dog is thinking? If you've always dreamed about getting to know your pet better then Bow-Lingual is a dream come true.”

“Yeah,” my spouse added. “But I'd call it a nightmare. With nine cats and two dogs – not to mention goats – we'd never get a word in.”

Listen to this, I continued to read from the ad. You can set the Bow-Lingual for “Home Alone Mode” and find out what your dogs are doing when you're not here.

“Uh-oh,” Sadie huddled with Star in front of the wood stove. “This could be trouble. Remember that loaf of bread somebody left on top of the freezer on the porch last week? She thought he fed it to the chickens. With that Bow-Lingual thing, they'll know!”

Starting to drool, Star lamented, “No more bread sandwiches!”

Sadie and Star shook their heads.

“If this works out, we can get Meow-Lingual when it comes out next year,” I enthused as I followed my husband down the hall to the TV room.

“Now you've done it,” Sophie glared at the dogs. “We won't have any secrets!”

“Like the way we talk when no one's in the room,” Star panted.

“Exactly,” Kiki sharpened her claws on the rug.”

“Bow-Lingual – what a silly idea,” Luna huffed into her whiskers as she and the other cats paraded down the hall to the TV room and their favorite easy chairs. “Everyone knows that dogs aren't smart enough to be bilingual.”

“Of course we're bilingual,” Sadie assured the younger dog. “Just listen to this.”

As I came back down the hall, I thought I heard a “meow.” Funny – not a cat was in sight.

“Did someone in here just meow?” I asked the Shepherd-Husky duo lounging in front of the stove.

Sadie looked at me and winked.

Even without a hand-held or iPhone translator I knew exactly what Sadie was saying, “Bow-Lingual – Bow, Humbug!”