Stella is a Catahoula Blue Heeler mix that can string sentences together using a unique device. Christina Hunger is a speech-language pathologist who created the tool and taught her dog how to use it.
The soundboard has several rows of colored buttons. Each one says something different. Hunger and her fiancé recorded various lines for all the prompts. Using combinations of the switches, Stella can communicate simple or complex ideas.
Stella can press the buttons “look,” “come,” and “outside” when she wants to check something outdoors. Hunger makes sure to document whenever Stella uses the device.
She gets better with it over time. At one point, when Hunger was trying to get Stella into bed, her dog asked for water and then her ball, and Stella did, in fact, need water.
When Stella got her ball, she pressed the buttons for “all done” and “happy.” Since she has so many options to choose from on the board, Stella can talk in a way other dogs can’t.
Hunger also uses the board to make sure the communication is clear with Stella. There are many clear words on it, such as “want” and “eat.”
Stella has become very comfortable talking to Hunger using the soundboard. It is exciting to watch what words she will string together next.