Gadgets. Don’t you just love them? I am no different, you know. I am as excited by the sight of a new smartphone as the next guy. The problem is, sometimes we get too reliant on those shiny gizmos expecting them to do things they are simply not capable of. Take Steve for example. I noticed Steve one day looking lost among the merchandise isle of our Vet Clinic: ‘Doc, is there some toy I can buy to stop Fluffy barking?’ He began. ‘Barking?’ ‘Yeah, you know… Fluffy is a great dog. He shakes hands and comes when he is called… well, most of the time. Anyway, that’s not the problem. You see, as soon as I leave the house, it’s like some demon has possessed him: barking, scratching at the door, tearing furniture.
My neighbors have started complaining… So what I am asking is, which gadget should I buy to get this mess fixed?’ ‘Oh, I see.’ I answered ‘It sounds like Fluffy has separation anxiety. It’s a very common problem, you know. Especially with our busy modern lifestyles, it’s hard for a dog to adjust to long periods on his own.’ ‘That’s great Doc, but which thing do I buy?’ ‘Well there isn’t a quick fix but great progress can be made with medication, training and desensitization techniques. It takes perseverance, commitment and… ‘ ‘Thank you Doc, you are so helpful. I understand it all now.’ With these words Steve walked out of the Vet clinic and into the nearest pet shop where he bought the finest, most modern, electronic, programmable appliance with a built in expandable memory and I-pod connectivity. He was back in the Clinic two weeks later.
Speaking of fancy pet-gadgets, there are some real beauties out there. One is a Dog Monitor with playback. It works just like a baby monitor, but has a picture of a dog on the front and therefore costs twice as much. It doesn’t really help to correct problem behavior because by the time the monitor is working, you are usually away at work and can’t really do anything to stop him tearing up the rug, pulling down the curtains, urinating on your pillow and generally trashing the house. The good new is, now you can watch the house being trashed in glorious Technicolor with HD and Surround Sound and thanks to the play back function, you can watch the dining room couch being torn to shreds over and over again. And for those fearful of losing their four-legged companion, why rely on the old-fashioned microchip – that’s so last year.
Now you can upgrade to a doggy-GPS. It’s a little GPS receiver the size of a match box which sits on your dog’s collar. When I heard about that product I got very excited. Imagine logging in to a website and seeing your dog’s current location as a dot on the map. Alas, that technology is still some time away. The way this unit works is: you send an SMS request to your pet (that’s right. Fluffy now needs his own SIM card),then the coordinates are sent back to you, you put them into Google maps and presumably race off to arrive at the precise spot where your pet was 20 minutes ago, at which point the whole operation is repeated again, unless Fluffy is out of Mobile prepaid credit. Yes, you now have to be sure to top up your dog’s phone credit too. I am sure there will be dog-Apps coming out any day now. Like an App that says ‘Bad Dog!’ every time he cocks his leg at the Postman.