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Sat October 23, 2010
Does Your Dog Tweet?
Dogs bark, yip, whine, even growl sometimes, but now they can tweet!
By Mindy Norton
Do you tweet?
That has become a familiar question as folks with computers and smart phones engage in social networking through Twitter, a website that allows them to post short messages that others can see. A message is referred to as a tweet.
Three years ago the website recorded about a million tweets in a year. Now it's in the billions - yes, billions, with a "b". A lot of people are finding it a convenient way to stay in touch with their friends and relatives, and keep track of what's going on.
And now, social networking is going to the dogs, literally.
Yes, your dog can tweet, and you can keep track of it.
Mattel has developed a tag called "Puppy Tweets" that attaches to your pet's collar.
As your dog walks around, rolls over, barks, eats, plays or even sleeps, the sound and motion sensor in the tag activates a transmitter that sends a signal to a USB receiver on your home computer.
Then you get a "tweet" that might say something cute like, "Are you at lunch? Remember my two favorite words: doggie bag!" Or, "I bark because I miss you!"
There were over 500 different phrases - and Mattel has just added 200 more - to keep you informed and entertained throughout your day while you're away from your best friend.
The thing to remember is that Puppy Tweets is really just a toy.
It does give you some information about how active your pet is when you're gone, but not what it's really doing. You may get a tweet about your pet having lunch, when it's actually gnawing on the chair leg.
Other limitations: it works only within a certain range of your computer; and it's not a tracking device that can help you find a lost pet.
Puppy Tweets is another example of the interest dog owners have in staying connected to their pets. They give us so much joy when we're with them, that we like to be reminded of the bond we have with them.
If you would to bond with your own best friend, remember that October is Adopt-a-Dog Month. Visit your local animal shelter or pet rescue group and find that special canine companion.
And if you do, maybe you can tweet the good news to the rest of us, when you're speaking of pets.
Speaking of Pets with host Mindy Norton (firstname.lastname@example.org) is for people who care about pets and about humane treatment for animals in general, and who want to celebrate that special relationship between us and our animal companions. Find out more about Speaking of Pets at Alabama Public Radio.