Incredible Videos Show a Dog Named Stella "Talking" Using a Soundboard
Speech pathologist Christina Hunger created a machine that helps her dog communicate.
If you're a dog owner, there's no doubt in your mind that your dog communicates with you. Other people may scoff, but you know which whine means "I need to go outside" and which one means "I want pets." Still, wouldn't it be amazing if there were a more high-tech way for your pup to tell you what they want and how they feel? Apparently, there is, courtesy of Christina Hunger, a 26-year-old speech-language pathologist who lives in San Diego, California. Believing that everyone—including dogs—deserves to have a voice, she set up a board with buttons over words for dog-related items like "bed," "park," and "beach," as well as moods such as "happy," "mad," and, of course, "love you." Now, her dog Stella can basically talk to her!
Slowly but surely, Stella has been learning how to use the speech board to communicate with her humans, and the 18-month old puppy already knows a whopping 29 words.
"I did the same thing that I do to help children learn to communicate," Hunger told CNN. "Lots of time, lots of practice, and lots of repetition."
So, for example, if Hunger noticed that Stella seemed excited and happy, she continued to press the button for "happy" and vocalized the word so that she knew that's what it meant.
In this video, you see an agitated Stella telling her owner that there is someone "outside" and, when Hunger doesn't react, Stella presses the button for "look."
In another video, she taps out "happy," "ball," "want," "outside." Doesn't take a speech expert to figure out what that means!
And in yet another mind-blowing video, you see Stella tapping the buttons for "come" and "play," and when Hunger tells her they'll go after she eats, she tries to talk them into it with "outside," "play," "love you." (Smooth, Stella.)
It's just one more example that there's no end to the incredible things that dogs can do—and proof that you're not crazy for thinking your dog uses those puppy eyes to get you to stop what you're doing and give those belly rubs.
And since most of us don't have our very own sound boards to help us decode our pups' wants and needs, check out 19 Things Your Dog Is Trying to Tell You in the meanwhile.