MY TOP NEWS STORY

Most of you know I was an award-seeking journalist for many years. The following is a copy of the report I filed a few years ago on a major scientific breakthrough. I scooped every newspaper in the country with this piece and, while it is still relevant, there have since been unforeseen technical difficulties encountered which have delayed further progress on the project and the details have become classified and unavailable. A verbatim copy of my original report follows:

Dogs can talk! Dogs can really talk! A prestigious animal research institute is about to publicize the astounding results of its groundbreaking achievements in canine communication. Dr. Loo Flirpa, executive director of the St. Francis Ethology Institute in Princeton, and a resident of Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, agreed to reveal some of the details of her leading edge clinical project before the story breaks on the CBS news program 60 Minutes next Sunday.

“It has long been suspected that dogs have a much greater cognitive capability and verbal talent than they’ve exhibited over the centuries,” said Dr. Flirpa, a board certified veterinary psychiatrist. “They’ve been satisfied with their status in society and reluctant to disrupt the balance by revealing their communicative skills. There have been amusing demonstrations of dogs mimicking the human voice,” she said, “but our project has proven we can actually have meaningful dialogues with man’s best friend.”

The CBS program has devoted a full hour to interviews by Scott Pelley of Dr. Flirpa, her staff members and, amazingly, one of the most articulate dogs involved in the project.

“We are receiving helpful and revealing information from our dogs,” Dr. Flirpa said. “Star, one of our dachshunds, may or may not have the typical canine attitude toward humans. We’ll have to broaden our study population to determine that, but she’s giving us a long list of problems she says must be addressed to improve the symbiotic association of mankind and dogdom. Some of her complaints are trivial, like her demand for increased table food and some are unreasonable and biased, especially her suggestion of imposing severe restrictions on cats,” Dr. Flirpa said, but Star made other more significant and reasonable points that you will hear on 60 Minutes Sunday.

“It’s unfortunate that Scott Pelley angered Star with some of his probing questions. I’m sure they’ll delete their little tiff from the video tape,” Dr. Flirpa said. “You might notice at some point, a small bandage appears on Mr. Pelley’s left hand and he’s seated a foot or two further from Star’s little couch.

“One thing Star told us that is quite touching, ” Dr. Flirpa continued,” she asked that dogs be given more say in their names. Recently, one of our staffers teasingly pointed out to Star that the reverse spelling of her name is ‘Rats’. I can understand her annoyance at hearing this,” the doctor said. “I’ve never liked the reverse spelling of Loo Flirpa.”

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