ISSUE 4     08/16/06          WC  942



The Man Who Talks Dog, Horse, Aand Cat


Aand tThe Dogs, Horses, Aand Cats Who Who that Ignore Him



by Bernardnie Levy


You must understand that I grew up in a household in which pets were not allowed.  I once had a goldfish, but, in while displaying my affection, I squeezed it to death.  A fish out of water and all that stuff.


My first three wives introduced me to the world of dogs.  No, they were very beautiful women, but they insisted on canine companionship.  Scamper was a spoiled Bbeagle mix; Valentine, a cockapoo, was equally spoiled; and Tizoc and Yaqui -the latter named for the Indian tribe - were formidable German Sshepherds.  With no knowledge in canineof canine rearing, maintenance, and discipline, all I could give them was love.  With little experience in human rearing, maintenance, and discipline, they responded in kind.  My observations of and communications with them led me to believe that I was on to something big, not on the magnitude of Fossey and her apes, but a break-through nonetheless;:; I was learning the canine languages.


Divorces cut short my initial observations, short, but Kathy, my wonderful current (and last , she reminds me) wife, has provided me with the graduate-level courses I neededed.

  She introduced me to the additional worlds of cats and Qquarter hHorses. ( For those of you not conversant withwho don’t know about the term “Qquarter hHorses, they are whole horses of a particular breed known for their superior speed over a quarter mile.  They are handsome, strong, loyal, and intelligent animals[u1] .)

My wifeKathy is an experienced and astute horsewoman.  She understands all animals and gets the most from them, including me.  She is a natural.  I am not.


I do not fear horses.  I attribute this attitudehat to both stupidity and the belief that, since because I made it to my current age, I am invincible.  When she we acquired Cooper and Dash, my wifeKathy informed me that she was purchaseding the front of the animals, and that the rest belonged to me.  As a result, I have developed an expertise in cleaning stalls, picking hooves, and grooming.  I think Cooper and Dash respect me, but I suspect that they tell their friends I am silly.


For two winters Wwe boarded Cooper for two winters at our local fairgrounds, in where which he had a stall was provided with and[u2]  limited some outdoor space in which to exercise.  exercise space.  When I accompanied Kathy to morning feedings on cold wintry days, I was introduced to a new world of effluvious emanations. You know, smells.  Upon oOpening the doors of a 30 thirty-horse barn at the crack of dawn, the odor of ammonia was more than sufficient to wake me without any the assistance from of coffee.   A triple shot of espresso doesn’t come close to the wake-up power of those ammonia odors. opening a closed horse barn at 6:00 a.m.



Once inside, hHaving a captive audience, it wasgave me the opportunity to practice my skill:, speaking animal languages.  I gave the horses my full repertoire of horse-talk, chicken-talk, cow-talk, sheep-talk, dog-talk, and cat-talk.  Those poor horses looked at me in amazement, and I am sure that, to this day, they remember remember to this day the kook who disrupted their early morning snooze with strange sounds.  Their response was similar to the British audience in the Jerry Seinfeld ad where when his stage act fealls flat  because he didn’t doesn’t know the correct British colloquialisms.


When I approached[u3]  Dash and Cooper with my whinny and neigh, they turned to each other and non-verbally exclaimed, “Oh, great! Kathy’s not here to feed us,, and Bernie’s got the job.  Well, let’s ignore him.  He’ll feed us anyway.”  However, when if horses can’t see me when I whinny and neigh to when they can’t see me,horses within hearing, but out of sight, they respond.  I’m assumingI assume that it’s my face that [u4] sthey find ridiculouscares the heck out of horses.


Barley, my past constant gGolden Rretriever companion, wais another story. [u5]  The product of a divorce, wWe adopted Barley at age 3when he was three.  He was trained and wanted only love and affection.  I don’t believe there is any breed as wonderful as a Golden golden Rretriever, although other owners would probably say the same about their non--gGolden Rretriever pets.  Again, using my limited exercising my knowledge of dog-talk, I bark,ed,  whined, and otherwise verbally communicated with Barley many times a day, always without success.  He ignoreds me  and displayeds the look that dogs give you when they are attempting to defecate – that ,; that soulful, expressive look that says, “This is very personal! Please don’t look at me.  I don’t look at you when you go to the bathroom.”  However,


wWhen I attempted to communicate with Barley, the other dogs in the neighborhood answered.  This must have meant mean that, like horses, when they do not have to look at me, like horses, they respond as though they hear one of their own kind.  I take this to be success. Although it is limited, on a limited basis.  I’m trying to figure out how I can turn this achievement into a scientific paper.


Our cats reacteded differently.  Petey and , our feral cat; Mousey, both feral,our barn cat; ;  and BC and Monica, our house cats, appeared willing to communicate with me at times.  Again, I have mastered many cat-talk dialects and expressions; -words are not meaningful in cat-talk.  Sometimes we have excellent conversations; and, at other times, they assumed a Barley-like or Dash and Cooper-like attitudes.  However, cCats in the neighborhood, when they hear me, but do not see me, do not respond.  I understand that there are differences between cats and other animals, and which I accept. that.



Animals have greatly enhanced my life.  It’s a shame I didn’t grow up with them, but better late than never.

I am continuing my experiments in human-animal communication and limit my work to horses, cats, and dogs.  Oh, I considered other animals, but there’s only so much I can will do.  A neighbor wanted me to expand into goat communications, but no thanks.  I have my ethics, you know.  Did you know that male goats, in in order to attempting to attract females for propagation for mating,purposes, [u6] urinate on their own faces?  I believe that I am as open-minded as the next person, but that’s taking nature a little too far.  I will not be a party to any conversation with a male billy goat.


 [u1]“and are called quarter horses because........”

 [u2]“Some” instead of “limited” because the latter gives more emphasis to the exercise space, which you aren’t pursuing.

 [u3]Change in tense. We need to keep to past tense.

 [u4]They’re not scared; they’re ridiculing. Too strong? Also, at first I thought you meant horse in general, then decided you meant yours. However, you compare this with talking to Barley and other dogs, so I’m not sure which is correct. Calling the rewrite man!

 [u5]Deleted “the product of a divorce” because we wonder if it’s one of your divorces and because he’s the product of two golden retrievers mating.

 [u6]Is that anatomically possible? Or are you pulling an almost-Dick Cheney?