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Ruffly Speaking

By Cejas, the Dog Van Ostrand


I read an article in the New York Times the other day: “Dogs Are People,” about scientists putting dogs into MRI scanners trying to learn what we think. They say this study is necessary because “dogs can’t speak.” Seriously? Of course we speak. It’s just that you can’t spell what we say.
I never met a dog that said "arf," except Sandy in Orphan Annie. Sandy is a rescue, like me. And I never met a dog that said "woof," unless you count the French Poodle I met in Paris whose soft "ouaf ouaf" was très sexy.

For men who, by nature, may not have the listening gene, we use visual aids like erect ears, pleading eyes, wagging tails. That’s silent speech.

We whimper with delight when you come home, whine if there’s a splinter in our paw, and bark when we need to go. Speaking for myself, if I don't want another dog eyeing my food or toy, I do a soft growl, like a lighthouse warns boats they're too close to the rocks. If I sense danger, I'll bark loud and fast: rrruh, Rrruuh, RUH RUH!!! Message delivered. If I see a predator, I do a snarly growl that sounds like a bunch of gargling Draculas. Not long ago, I treed a big black bear with that threat. He knew I meant business. After that, everybody called me “Badass.” True story.

Dogs also understand what is said to us. My favorite three words are “I love you.” After that, I like "Do you want . . ." because those words are always followed by “to take a ride?" or “a cookie?" or “to go to the beach?"

Yes, New York Times, we speak. Instead of paying money for pricey MRI tests, science can just pay attention.


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