I’m constantly being asked what language Alex speaks – Swiss German, High German, English or a combination. My answer: none of those. Instead (and to everyone’s surprise), I explain how he prefers to bark.
You see, Alex adores all types of dogs, from chihuahuas to St. Bernards and his favorite thing is to hear them bark. He tries his best to communicate with them and although he can’t quite make out a normal bark (sounds more like “buff buff” instead of “ruff ruff”), he sure tries hard. The second Alex lays eyes on a dog, he sweetly smiles, stares and lets out an enthusiastic bark. The owners are normally thrilled to see Alex take such an interest and he immediately makes two new friends.
The funny part is that Alex doesn’t just bark at dogs, but also at everyone/thing he comes in contact with. Last week he barked at a donkey and a few pigeons at the park. Yesterday we could hear kids walking down our street when I opened the windows to our apartment which led to a long string of barks. Each morning Alex barks at our neighbors upstairs as they begin their work-out routine on a rowing machine. Each week When I drop him off at daycare, instead of the other children greeting him with a “hi” or “hello,” they instead bark and pat him on the head.
I’m 99.9% sure Alex thinks he is a dog and wishes he belonged to a dog pack instead of a human family. He perfects his bark (as well as his dramatic cry) in front of a full length mirror in the front entrance to our apt. nearly every day. Maybe with enough practice he will even be able to pronounce the “r” in “ruff” to impress all of the dogs and their owners.