Blind and deaf Helen Keller needed her teacher, Anne Sullivan, to learn to speak. It happened when Sullivan ran Keller’s hand under running water and then repeatedly spelled out w-a-t-e-r on her palm. Learning to communicate the way all other humans communicate — through language — changed Keller’s life.
Chaser with Darwin, one of her 1,022 named toys.
What if dogs need that kind of wise and patient teacher to take them to new levels of human language? What if a particularly brilliant Border Collie happened to land in a home with an equally brilliant college professor who believed his dog could learn to understand language? It’s already happened. Meet Chaser. She shares her life with retired psychology professor John Pilley of South Carolina.
Pilley says he has scientifically proven that Chaser understands language — way beyond sit, down, and stay — and he chronicles his dog’s journey into language in his just-released book Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). The book is a moving, true-life tribute to a man’s connection with a dog and vice versa. I interviewed Pilley and asked about his and Chaser’s ground-breaking work.[Read the complete article at Dogster.com]