This morning at the bus stop, I said to the other families, “You guys need to do something funny. I need a blog topic.”
The other parents there have spent serious time in contemplation, pondering whether they did something awful in a previous life that resulted in my presence at their otherwise-sane bus stop. They sadly conferred on me the knowledge that after the bus came, I would still be in need of a blog topic.
When the bus came, one of the moms handed her dog’s leash to another mom, and the dog was super-excited. He loves attention (who doesn’t?) and this particular mom knows about dogs; she’s able to make this dog feel like the doggie equivalent of a million bucks. So the dog was SO EXCITED!!!! in his canine fashion, and she was talking to him, and he got MORE EXCITED!!!!1!!! and on and on.
The owner returned, and the other mom said something to the dog in French. What? I don’t know because I’m monolingual. But the dog continued to be SO VERY EXCITED because she SPOKE TO HIM IN FRENCH and ISN’T THAT AWESOME and KEEP PETTING ME (because I can, as it turns out, translate canine-speak into English. Most sentences translate into “Isn’t that awesome?” or “HEY!” For cats, most things translate to “Leave me alone” or “Worship me.”)
The owner asked about speaking to the dog in French, and the other woman said that her mother spoke to her dog (a French poodle) in French.
I said, “Hey, a bilingual dog.”
She said, “The dog seems to understand French.”
Back when my mother got her first cats, within weeks she told me that the cats understood some English. She said, “Watch,” and then in a cute uptick, “Want to EAT?” and cats came to her from the other side of the house.
I walked across the kitchen and used the same uptick: “TupperWARE?” And the cats came to me. So much for English.
Stormy, on the other hand, used to glare at me while I read The Cat In The Hat Comes Back, and whenever we got to the point where the cat was eating a cake in the tub, she’d meow at me repeatedly. So I don’t think it’s impossible that animals can associate certain words with certain concepts. “Eat,” “vet,” “come here,” and so on are pretty understandable. “Want to go for a walk?” is comprehensible when accompanied by someone holding a leash and putting on her jacket.
The one mom said, “My mother will tell the dog, ‘Pierre, ne garde la maison!’ and the dog will sit up at attention.”
The dad at the bus stop turned to me with, “You have your blog post.”
Et donc je ne. Merci.