Lee Pitts: Putting words into the mouths of dogs
My wife yelled for me to come and watch the TV because after a “short” commercial break — that wasted ten minutes of my life — there’d be an unbelievable story about people talking to dogs through the use of computers. Sound interesting? I thought so, too.
Imagine my disappointment when it turned out that a computer specialist at Georgia Tech put computer vests on service dogs so that in an emergency, a dog can find a human who will pull a lever on the vest that will trigger an audio message in English such as, “My handler needs you to come with me.” In other words, I squirmed through several incontinence and erectile disfunction ads only to learn that dogs still weren’t talking to people. I felt like an idiot being suckered in that way, but it did serve as a good reminder as to why I don’t watch television.
It did get me to thinking though. What if computer nerds were somehow able to translate barks into words we could understand? I wonder, what would dogs have to say to us?
Here’s what I think the first words of representatives of the ten dumbest breeds of dogs would be. (The number following each breed is their ranking of intelligence as determined by Stanley Coran in his masterpiece, “The Intelligence of Dogs.”
(Please note, there’s not a single cow dog amongst the dummies.)
Shih Tzu (no. 70) — Just because I can’t even spell my own name doesn’t mean I’m stupid. And I thought you said you were going to get me “fixed.”
Bassett Hound (no. 71) — Look at that smug Border Collie (no. 1) over there thinking he’s so smart. Who does he think he is, Einstein? And look at that disgusting Poodle (no. 2) all trimmed up like some hedge in a billionaire’s topiary garden. What a tramp.
Beagle (no. 72) — OK, so I’m not the brightest bulb in the kennel, but I’m not as dumb as you think. And chicks think I’m cute, and it really knocks them out when I run to the end of my leash and nearly choke myself to death — like this. I tell ya, it drives the ladies nuts when I scoot across the carpet on my butt.
Pekingnese (no. 73) — Let’s see. I’m getting carried around in some rich woman’s purse while the rest of the clueless mutts are riding around in the back of some pickup truck barking at the wind or herding sheep for a living while my owner, who doesn’t have the sense God gave a rhodedendrum, feeds me caviar and let’s me sleep between her 300-thread-count sheets. And just who’s the stupid one now, buddy boy?
Bloodhound (no. 74) — OK, tell me once more, you want me to do what? And what’s this newspaper on the floor for? You do know I can’t read, right? And if I’m so stupid, the next time your idiotic husband gets lost while he’s hunting, go find him yourself. And where’s that Saint Bernard? I need another drink.
Borzoi (no. 75) — If I roll over on my back, would you scratch me in our secret spot that makes my leg jerk uncontrollably? Yeah, that’s it. That’s the spot. Awesome.
Chow Chow (no. 76) — What are you so mad for, it says “Wet Paint” and that’s what I did. And what’s with calling me a Chow Chow? I got it the first time, I’m a Chow, okay? And another thing, next time you want that slobbery tennis ball that you threw, go get it yourself. While you’re at it, would you flush the toilet again to freshen up my drinking water?
Bulldog (no. 77) — Who are you calling stupid, mister? I may drool on the carpet occasionally and I may look like I stopped a runaway freight train with my face, but that doesn’t mean I’m not sexy. Admit it, you’re just dying for me to plant a big wet one on ya.
Bassenji (no. 78) — Just because I’m the only breed of dog that doesn’t bark doesn’t mean I’m ignorant. I’m not the one who bought me for a watchdog.
Afghan Hound (no. 79 and the dumbest dog in the world) — I hate katz. ❖