A friend posted on Facebook today: “Who decided that if dogs were able to speak and type they would do so with a speech impediment that makes you feel illterate trying to read it?”
I understand what she means. As part of a community of dog writers, I see a lot of pets with blogs, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and to be honest, sometimes I have no idea what they’re trying to say. Dat for that, da for the, and a host of grammatical errors (like “i has not” and “U gotted”) sometimes mean I have to read a post two or three or four times before I have a clue what the person – er, animal – is trying to say.
Sometimes I think pet owners think their animals are perpetually two years old. And speak with a lisp.
I say that as the proud owner of a blogging Border collie, so believe me, I’m not criticizing. When I started writing under Bandit’s name, I only did it because it seemed like Bandit and I had this very weird mind meld, as if I could hear him speaking in my head – or at least percieve what he’d say if he could. I’ve never been able to get into a dog’s head the way I can with Bandit. I suppose if Bailey could open her mouth and speak, she’d speak with a complex vocabulary and share the wisdom of the ages; I think Bailey is an old soul, even if she eats poop. But it just doesn’t feel right trying to put words into her mouth.
Bandit? Totally different story. When he says “Mommy, are we going to be have playtime today because you are BORING” I know that’s exactly what’s going through his mind, caps and all. (While Bandit writes in fairly clear English, he does have a trouble with numbers – although he can count to eleventyfour without help.) But there’s no question that what I write as Bandit just wouldn’t be the same attributed to Bailey.
So my friend’s comment today got me thinking: what does the way that we think our pets would speak say about us? Do we treat our pets like small children, hence their toddler-like grasp of the English language? Or do we really know our pets so well that we can put words into their mouths?
If your pet could talk, what would he say – and more importantly how would he say it? I’d love to hear your thoughts – and your pets’!
You can read Bandit’s blog archives at www.MyNameIsBandit.com and be his friend on Facebook. Several of Bandit’s pieces are also included in my upcoming book, “What The Dog Said,” a collection of columns and essays, due out in early December from Wordcrafts Press.