The dogs and I don’t talk about deep philosophical things. But then I’m not so incline. Rather we talk about practical things. Livestock, predators, the weather, engineering, ferrets, fish, food, fire…
Fire… Remus loves to talk about fire. “Can I get you another stick to put in the fire!?!” he asks. “Will you ignite this stick and let me have it!?!” He’s a regular pyro. You would think he would really love Independence Day! Not!
Today was the 4th of July. When we got home after the fireworks most of the dogs were happy to see us. Except for Remus and Katya. They are normally the most communicative but gave me the silent treatment.
Later I asked Katya if the fireworks upset her. No reply. I wondered how to communicate this in our limited interspecies vocabulary? I then asked “Bang, Bang, Bang Bad?” She replied “Bang, Bang, Bang Bad Bad.” The Bang, Bang Bang is not a phrase we’ve used before but I think she knew right away what I meant – the fireworks had often been in sets of three during the session which was just one mile up our valley. She repeated the “Bang, Bang, Bang” back verbally with the same count and cadence I had used and tacked on an extra negative.
Their natural language is a lot about cadences and tones. It is pitch oriented. Our guttural stops and clicks are hard for them. Their growly undertones to words can rip a man’s throat out trying to say them. We just don’t have the lungs to match their volume of air to howl out long serenades or develop all their rich singing tones in our tiny muzzles we pathetically call noses. Yet, we each compensate as we strive to be understood and to communicate with the other across the species boundaries. Great things will someday come from our struggles to describe the diving duck and the “threeteen” new brown piglets born in the south field greenhouse ark bay 17 this morning.
Next Katya said my name “muff-uff-uuf“, verbally, and appended the signs “Not Here”. Perhaps she was upset that I had not been there with all the fireworks going off. That would be one interpretation of the conversation.
I asked again and she repeated exactly the same thing. Then she asked for her pillow and laid down when I gave it to her. This had been upsetting but she had gotten to talk about it. Now she was ready to sleep.
How do you talk with a pigeon? In pidgin, of course.
Remus was still giving me the cold shoulder. Maybe he’ll talk about it tomorrow. Or he’ll forget it. Or not. Maybe Katya can interpret for him. She is speaker for the dogs. Remus usually holds up his end of the conversation very well but sometimes she breaks in to explain something. Less likely he breaks in to explain for her. There is a ranking
Sirius who tends to just watch these interactions interjected “Bang, Bang, Bang Bag Bad”. We may have started something. A new phrase and associated words working their way into our common tongue. Language evolves with needs and use.
Outdoors: 72°F/38°F Sunny, Fast Rain During Speeches
Tiny Cottage: 68°F/62°F
Dailing Spark: Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life. -Anon