How Stella Learned To Talk: The Groundbreaking Story of the World’s First Talking Dog

Morrow. May 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780063046832. $27.99. PETS
Hunger, a newly certified speech language pathologist, saw parallels with the cognitive language development and expressive communication efforts of her toddler and nonverbal patients, and her new eight-week-old puppy, a Catahoula Blue Heeler mix named Stella. Here she describes her experiments with a modified AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) device, which she programmed with a few words that the puppy already seemed to understand: “outside,” “water,” and “play.” To her delight, Stella picked up the concept within a few weeks (after lots of repetition and modeling) and began using the device to demonstrate her desires. Within months, the dog was stringing together nouns, verbs, and adjectives to create short statements, such as “outside play love you” and “Christina bye.”
VERDICT This clearly detailed, highly entertaining, and enthusiastic book is already in hot demand among dog fanciers and should be a priority purchase, plus Stella has a huge Instagram following!
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