Hands-free device better on animals

Glenda Price

My friend and I were strolling through the local farmers’ market one day, when she suddenly began talking. I tried to answer her, even though I really didn’t know what she was talking about. This went on a few minutes — her talking, then me talking — when she finally turned toward me and lifted her hair. Underneath it was one of those bug-looking things people plug into their ears that I assume are cell phones.

In the past, when we saw a person walking around talking when nobody else was in sight, we knew they were a bit “off the beam” because talking to no one is a sure giveaway the talker has lost his or her sanity.

No more, evidently. Those folks with the bug-looking things stuck to their ears even gesture while talking. Amazing.

Every time I see a person walking around with that growth-looking thing hanging from an ear I must stifle an urge to jerk it out and stomp it like you would a bug.

Also, it appears those folks believe they’re important — so important they must be “on call” at all times. Have you noticed they talk really loud, too? Evidently, that’s so everyone within a quarter-mile hears the person’s conversation and becomes aware of the phone speaker’s importance.

Years ago my husband had a two-way radio phone in his pickup. After about a month he took it out. “I don’t need to be available at all times,” he said. The phone thing sprouting from an ear would be anathema to him.

So I’ve been thinking (yeah, I know, that’s a dangerous thing for me). There might actually be a practical use for these bug thingies. What if we plug them into our working animals’ ears — like maybe dogs and horses?

If you could whisper instructions to your working cow dog, that would be awesome. Those dogs already know the commands, so it would be a small matter to teach them to obey when they’re delivered in a very quiet manner. When that herd-quitting old cow decides to take off, you could just order her brought back in a quiet little voice.

The best part would be mystifying the other cowhands. You could say, “My dog can read an old cow’s mind. Just watch,” as your dog circles the herd and brings the cranky old heifer back.

Service dogs could conquer a whole new dimension. You and your dog could sneak up on a drug dealer and, without making any loud noises, tell your dog to bring the dealer down. The surprise factor would be great.

What about our horses? They could be taught voice commands so we could drive a herd of cattle riding one horse and another working with no rider. For a cutting contest our horses would be unbeatable. We could just work without a bridle. Some cutting horses can do that, anyway, but this would be really nifty to watch.

I have no problem putting those things in my animals’ ears, but I don’t want one stuck to my own head, thank you very much.