A speech pathologist taught her dog to communicate with her the same way that she taught children with disabilities how to communicate, using a board full of large buttons. When pressed, each button would recite a designated word. Children (or dogs) could push the button to communicate with their caretakers. See the full article here.
I read about this, and I was intrigued. Of course we want our pets to talk to us, don’t we? But what if they say something we don’t want to hear? When I left for work the first few days after taking in a rescue parrot, she told me: “Don’t go; stay.” Yet I had a job to go to, and I had to leave. After three days of her pleas being ignored, she stopped saying it. It still hurts to think about it. Do I really want to know what they are thinking? Yes, I do.
My husband is quite handy at making things. Could he make one for our pets? What buttons would my dogs want? I thought we could start with: let’s go for a walk; snuggle; belly rubs, please; treats now; share your food with me; happy; let’s play; and someone’s at the door, etc. I think their communication needs would be pretty straight-forward.
The cats, however, would have more expressive buttons. Things like: no, never; serve me food now; I need fresh running water with a hint of catnip; I don’t know who knocked that off the counter; play with me or I will hurt you; I don’t care what you want- I’m going to sleep now; pet me now – but not too much; and a button with a picture of a middle finger extended.
I’m pretty sure I know which of the cats’ buttons would be used the most. That’s what I like about them; they know what they want, and don’t cave to peer pressure. What do you think? Do your pets want a communication board?