Don’t Speak!

Written by: DeAnna Erdmann

Oh, my goodness! I screamed in my mind. I have waited for this moment for so long. We are
going to have the best conversations. I bet they sound just like Josh, and I imagined they do.
This is just the coolest invention ever.

I had been waiting in line at PetSmart since 11 o’clock last night. I had promised the kids that
we would get the latest gadget for our dogs, but truth be told… I want it so badly. A scientist had
watched the movie Up and decided that it should be possible to create a collar that would allow
our animals to communicate with us. Dogs and cats of the world would finally have their own
voices from an Alexa type AI that is housed in a tiny box on a collar. The AI translated different
animal sounds into the voice and words most closely matching what the animal is trying to

I snapped back to reality just in time to see the worker walk to the sliding door and unlock them.
She scurried back as the slid open and our massive line filed into the store at lightning speed. I
scanned the store for signs of the Speak Collars, finally finding one that was instructed to form a
line by the registers. I was lucky enough to be third in line. There was a three-item limit, which
was great because I only needed three. One worker taking requests, another fetching the items,
and a third checking people out. Before I knew it, I was on my way home using every last ounce
of self-control to maintain the speed limit.

I practically skidded into the driveway, jumping from the car almost forgetting to put it in park.
My kids and husband met me at the door as I rushed in. The unboxing was a blur of little hands
and excited squeals and before I knew it, we were rounding up our fur babies. It was difficult to
get them to sit with all the excited small people. With a little bit of wrestling, and a few minor
tears, our dogs were collared. We sat staring at them in joyful anticipation. Each of the dogs
sat excitedly staring right back at us. Their tails were wagging, and they looked at us and then
our hands hoping that the happiness was a treat that they couldn’t see.

I heard a scuffling noise across our roof and then the tree by our kitchen window moved. Fern, our white and fawn
Pointer leapt into action. She ran to the window and stood on her back legs to peer out. Just as
she began to whine, a loud electronic voice from her collar belted out, “Squirrel!” Oliver, a brown
and white mutt, and Marley, a miniature greyhound, looked at Fern in disbelief. Little electronic
“Oh, no” and “that’s not good.” whispered from their collars. Fern slowly walked over to Oliver
and Marley. The three of them sat in a row and somberly looked at us. Fern turned her head to
the other to and growl whine quietly before her collar ordered, “Don’t speak.”

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