A team at Georgia Tech is developing a vest for dogs which will enable them to talk to their owners. Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations (FIDO) is a project aimed at enabling dogs who assist the visually or hearing impaired to communicate more effectively with humans. The vest can be pulled or bitten by the dog concerned in different areas according to what message they wish to give. This is a potentially brilliant innovation for working dogs but just imagine if you could get one for your pet. You would never have any peace!
I don’t currently have any dogs but I do share my life with three cats. I say share my life because you cannot own these creatures in any way. They pretty much do whatever they like and I am at their beck and call. They are very well practised in verbal communication and body language and I am rarely in any doubt as to what they want. Walking to the kitchen with a cat glued to your leg and howling is fairly big clue that someone is hungry and a cat’s face in your plate is a good indication that they fancy your lunch!
Paolo and Caspar
One of my cats, the irrepressible Paolo, is very good at telling me when he doesn’t like something. He just bites me! Caspar has an annoying habit of clawing my face in the night when he wants me to wake up and stands on my keyboard when he thinks I have done quite enough writing for the day and should attend to his needs instead.
Silence is Golden
If they had a new means of talking to me my life would be accompanied by an incessant soundtrack of cats begging. I am sure dogs would be much the same. As technology always marches forward the available vocabulary would inevitably expand and we would all have our pets throwing us insults and providing us with shopping lists when we go to the supermarket. They naturally know when you are going shopping because they have learnt that when you leave the house with bags you are going to come back with goodies. Cats and Dogs know everything but at least right now we can pretend that we don’t understand them!
At some point these vest devices could quite possibly be further developed to facilitate text messaging. With us all carrying mobile phones and the recent arrival of the smartwatch our pets would be able to contact us even when we are not at home. Offices would be alive with message alerts from cats and dogs ordering their evening meal and complaining that their owners are late! Talking of watches these are something that pets really don’t need. They have brilliant body clocks and an uncanny knack of knowing exactly what minute of the day it is. I don’t need a morning alarm as my cat always starts moaning precisely one minute before it is supposed to go off.
The Demise of Mobile Phones
I don’t wear a watch because I use my mobile phone to tell me the time but if my pets are going to be able to message me I might have to ditch the phone, live without it and get a watch. They rule my life too much already and so calling me would be a step too far.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Sally Stacey is a keen writer and business owner who divides her time between writing and running her bridal shop.