Some time this year, a client asked me to proofcheck an article on dogs that she was going to publish. She is a researcher and her subject has a world of potential serious applications for humans, so she cannot be discounted as one of those pet owners who believe that their Archibald or Dusty is the most intelligent dog on earth.
As we were discussing her article, I felt emboldened to ask: ‘Why in your opinion does my dog yap and whine in front of the bath tub (when she hates baths) in order to bring to my attention the fact that her water bowl in the kitchen is empty?’ We ended up agreeing on one explanation built on scientific observation: When you talk a lot to your dog, your dog talks to you. Right.
Now, why is it that when my cat is begging to be allowed into the house, or is meewing because it’s mealtime, my dog comes to me and makes all sorts of noises to attract my attention and when I finally take notice, guides me to where the cat is?
I don’t have the answer and I’ll have to ask my client next time. However, I can suggest one probably silly explanation. Maybe a translator’s dog can translate. My dog hears that the cat is asking for something. I don’t respond, because I am lost in a translation. So she (being the smartest dog on earth) thinks: ‘I’d better translate that for her.’ So she comes and barks at me.
Now I just hope that I won’t start barking at my clients.
First Identified Cat-Dog Interpreter.