Tue, Feb 20, 2018 05:37 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-10-31 communities
Smile Awhile
Analyze This
Sara Hopson
You know that Christmas is right around the corner when you start receiving those special gift catalogues before you hear "Trick or Treat!"

Personally, I enjoy receiving the magazines because they always provide a variety of gift ideas for those hard-to-buy-for family and friends who already have everything.

This year I was especially interested in the products advertised in the Sharper Image catalogue. Although many of their items are rather expensive, I was intrigued by a new product that I thought might just be the answer to many dog owners' dreams "Bow Lingual, The Dog Translator."

It seems that Dr. Norio Kogure, a PhD in veterinary medicine at Tokyo's Kogure (wonder if there's any relation?) Animal Hospital, has been working with leading scientists at the Japan Acoustic Laboratory. It was there that he recorded hundreds of breeds and analyzed thousands of voice (bark) prints to develop a device that, when attached to your dog's collar, can interpret their feelings into six canine communications: Happy, Sad, Frustrated, Needy, Angry and Assertive. One of the six emotions is then displayed on the collar (with a face icon) along with one of 200 appropriate expressions, such as "Play with me" or "I feel sad."

Can you imagine how many dog lovers are going to want this product?

"I don't know why you're so excited about this, Sara," Ronnie countered. "It seems to me that it's just another invention that will make you feel inadequate. I mean, how would you feel if you knew Jen-eye was frustrated, and you couldn't do anything about it?"

"Well, it would be wonderful to at least know what she was thinking," I lamented.

"Okay, what if she conveyed to you that she had not wanted to be spayed?" he asked.

"Oh, that would upset me," I agreed.

"Well, it's too late," he continued. "And what if Jen-eye let you know she wanted to be walked and you had something else to do? You'd just wind up with a guilty conscience."

"But wouldn't it be nice to know if she was upset?" I queried.

"Sara," Ronnie chastised. "I know when Jen-eye's mad because one of my shoes gets chewed up."

"She hasn't chewed up shoes since she was a puppy," I chided.

"Besides," Ronnie went on. "My dad never worried too much about what kind of mood his bird dogs were in. I mean, what if one of his retrievers suddenly let him know it was too cold to jump in that stream and retrieve the just-shot pheasant? In fact, hunters everywhere would be facing a disaster. Beagle hounds who don't feel like chasing rabbits, squirrel dogs who'd rather lay around the backyard pen and ogle the poodle next door, sensitive fox hounds who complain that all that barking is too loud. And how about a seeing eye dog who just doesn't want to cross one more street and lets you know it? Sara, dogs are man's best friend; and man doesn't want to hear a piece of his dog's mind that's what wives are for. Hah! hah! hah!"

Despite my husband's skepticism, I liked the idea of knowing what Jen-eye was thinking. Even when I know what's going on in her mind, it would be fun to speculate that she might be saying, "I'd like a steak instead of that dog food," or "May I please have a dog biscuit?" That would be so cool!

The only drawback I could find is that at $99.99, it's cost prohibitive for most people. But what a small price to pay to truly understand your dog's innermost thoughts.

Since I was really interested about purchasing one of the devices, I decided to call my vet, Dr. Jan M. Ball, at the Huntington Dog and Cat Hospital. While talking with Dr. Ball, I asked what her thoughts were on the new invention. Her response was, "Hah! Hah! Hah! Hah!" She was still laughing when I hung up the telephone.

"Well," Ronnie smugly inquired as he sauntered into the room. "What did Dr. Jan say?"

Now, if I could just get one of those collars around Ronnie's neck.

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