Is that a real dog ... talking?
by James Phillips
Apr 26, 2013 | 1109 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
James Phillips
James Phillips
An active imagination is a good thing.

If you’ve ever spent much time with a child, you’ve probably noticed the size of a little one’s imagination far exceeds the imagination of most adults. I have four large imaginations in my home (my wife would probably say five, because I’m fairly childlike most of the time).

Daisy, our 5-year-old, probably has the most active imagination in our family. If you ever see us around town, she’s the one that will typically be wagging around an old, ragged stuffed animal.

While she loves her stuffed pets, Daisy’s best friend is a miniature dachshund named Rosebud. The child/dog duo are about as cute as a bug’s ear, and they are almost inseparable at times. Rosebud even sleeps next to Daisy every night. If someone, including myself or Andrea, even takes a step in the room while Daisy is sleeping, that 12-pound German terror will spring from under the covers like an African lion pouncing on a wildebeest.

For a while now, Daisy has had one wish — that Rosebud could talk. That was the first thing on her Christmas list to Santa last year.

Knowing how much Daisy loves that little dog, Andrea even came up with the idea to dub one of our voices over a video of Rosebud. While it was a sweet idea for Christmas and I do a fairly good German accent, I just didn’t like the idea.

Before Christmas, I had a talk with Daisy and told her that real dogs just can’t talk. Daisy understood that, while dogs in movies like “Underdog” and “Homeward Bound” could talk, that real dogs aren’t capable of speaking.

A few weeks ago, our family visited the Smoky Mountains. On one of our nights in Tennessee, we visited The Comedy Barn, which is a theater in Pigeon Forge offering live entertainment that is hilarious and suitable for the entire family.

At some point during the show, a gentleman walked out on stage with a dog. He placed the dog on a stool and a few moments later the dog started talking. It was a pretty cool ventriloquist act. Knowing how much my children love animals, I glanced over to see their faces. All of them were smiling and laughing at the bit, but I noticed Daisy had really jumped up on the edge of her seat.

During the intermission, Daisy walked over to me and said, “Was that a real dog?”

“Yeah, that was a real dog,” I said.

Daisy responded with, “I thought so.”

I didn’t give Daisy’s question any more thought until the next day. While we were driving to Gatlinburg, I asked the kids what had been their favorite part of the trip thus far. I got an answer or two before I heard from Daisy, “I liked it when that real dog was talking.”

I knew exactly what she was talking about. It was that bit at the Comedy Barn. She had asked me if it was a real dog. She didn’t ask, “Was that real dog really talking?”

Before I could think, I said, “That dog wasn’t really talking.”

Daisy’s big smile quickly went to a frown.

I had just crushed her image of a real dog really talking.

She said, “You said it was a real dog.”

I explained to her that it was an actual dog, but it wasn’t actually talking. I hadn’t understood her original question.

“I thought Rosebud would be able to talk,” she said. “I don’t guess she will.”

Despite the fact that Daisy is pretty sure Rosebud isn’t going to talk to her anytime soon, it hasn’t stopped the little girl from talking to the little dog. It also hasn’t hurt their relationship at all.

I think it is a good thing Rosebud can’t talk. I’m sure she’d probably hurl plenty of curse words at Andrea and I when we peek in to check on Daisy at night. It’s likely she’d also start telling Daisy how she really hates the cheap food we buy or the fact we don’t dress her up often enough.

James Phillips is editor of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at 205-221-2840 or