Thursday, August 20, 2009

Animals Can Talk

I believe that animals can talk, not just to their own kind, which they obviously do...but to us humans. At least they try to talk to us, in the only language they know, in their barks and meows, and in their body language and behavior, and we recognize some of it...When they're hungry, we know....because they'll be sure to tell us!
For those of us who have had pets, mainly dogs and cats, birds, or any contact with animals, I think we all know the way they look us in the eye when they're saying something to us, and we know what they're saying, because they're just like a family member.
Back in the 70's, Koko the Gorilla astounded scientists with her ability to American Sign Language...she displayed a definite intelligence, in which she was able to communicate with an amazing vocabulary...up to 600 words. Using sign language, they asked her "what is dead?"
she signed, "long sleep"...She described sour milk as "crocodile milk" because she didn't like crocodiles after seeing pictures of them. And she described dreams as "sleep pictures"...She distrusted newcomers until she was assured, "this man/woman good"...She described a policeman as "clown" because his shiny badge and parts of his uniform reminded her of photos of clowns.
So even though Koko is a primate, it is obvious that they think and dream...and have emotions and feelings just like we humans do...and there was the amazing story of the parrot who DID use human words as communication, her last words were, "be good...I love you."

Koko had the ability to communicate using sign language, but our dogs and cats don't have the hands or dexterity to do that, so they communicate with us humans in their own way, through their barks and meows and their incredible language within those...and of course their body language. Many books are available about cat language and dog language, and it's true, they are communicating to us, or trying to...but, they don't have the ability to sign, or mimic the human voice...but if they did, I think they would tell us wonders...I remember Jake, a lovable Golden Retriever when I lived in Pleasant Hill, a big goofy night I brought him out a steak bone, he clenched it in his teeth, took a couple of steps and then dropped it!! what dog would drop a meaty bone? Then he ran and jumped on me, licking my face profusely...he was thanking me....
"yeahhh okay okay, I love you too Jake!"...then he stopped and just grinned at me, in that doggie smile way... "wuff" and grabbed his bone and off he went...
Dolphins in the ocean are also incredibly intelligent. There are endless stories about dolphins in the sea who have protected men in shipwrecks, by surrounding them and shielding them from sharks. Dolphins are smart...and they're mammals, just like whales...and they sing.
Gabby, who lives here has an entire cat vocabulary all her own (that's how she got her name!) Her meows range from little peeps to drawn out meows to a staccato-like chirping...this is her language. Like all of our dogs and cats, each one has its own personality, just like humans...
My mom says, "my god it feels like she's talking to me! directly to in Chinese!"
I wish I knew what she was saying exactly...other than 'where's my breakfast?'....I wish I could communicate with Gabby on a level other than the basic stuff, because I know she has WAY much more to say...and I think she's just as frustrated as a zillion animals in this world who are sentient and have a certain intelligence, and would LOVE to talk to us, and ask questions...and I would love to talk to them....and ask questions.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know the story of KoKo! That is amaaazing!! I only recently heard about the parrot. It was soooo heart-breaking to learn he had died.

    This is such a thoughtful post, dan! I've often thought about the way animals talks. Sometimes with my cat, i'll just quietly look into my cat's eyes and HOPE we are communicating in telepathy! Other times I'll talk to her in human voice with such fluxation in my voice, I am overly positive she knows I'm being loving to her but I really wish we knew for sure!