Big Brother

I am a 21st century canine. I write my own blog and have my own Facebook page. I haven’t gotten into the Twitter scene yet, but now that the Library of Congress is going to collect every Tweet I’ll have to jump in. My people are very understanding of my need to stay current. They surprised me however, when they took me to the MSPCA to get microchipped.

Microchipped – can you believe it?! I never thought my people would even consider it. When I was first adopted, my people bought me dog tags (it’s so low tech and militaristic). It’s bad enough that I have to wear the collar with a rabies tag, but with the ID tag too – well I might as well have a cow bell on! How can you sneak up on a skunk or raccoon when you’re jingling? Even cats hear me coming. What good are my nose and canine skills if I sound like a cell phone in a quiet church? People just don’t understand these things. They often think in a low tech, practical (cheap) way – they just can’t think outside the crate. My people are no exception.

So you can imagine my surprise when they brought me to the MSPCA for a special microchipping clinic. It was a brisk Sunday morning. There were lots of canines with their people, all waiting quietly and patiently for their turn. I know it’s important, being a celebri-dog and all, that I have the latest in canine accessories, as well as being technologically advanced. What I didn’t realize was how important it was to other canines to be fashionably attired and technologically hip too! Who knew that such a canine market existed?! Of course, we all know our people are going to follow us into the modern era – there is a reason why they always walk behind us. Canines lead – people follow!

The whole experience did get me concerned however. I started to have doubts – like maybe I shouldn’t have started my own fluffy blog. Maybe I should have started writing hard-core reviews for CNet instead. Then I started to worry that maybe the microchip product I have implanted – since it wasn’t reviewed by canines – really isn’t good. I mean, what if it can alert my people to when I get up on their bed? Or alert them if I chew something I maybe shouldn’t? These are alarming concerns for a canine. So over that last couple of weeks I have been conducting research.

My first test was to see if they could detect my whereabouts once they left the house. Did the microchip that I have implanted have GPS capabilities? I would start off on the sofa – pretending I wasn’t interested in them as they left. As soon as I heard the exterior doors shut, I peeked out the window and watched as they drove off. Showtime! First, I  jumped on the bed and rolled around in the sheets. One Mississippi…Two Mississippi…nothing bad happened.

Next, I moved shoes from the bedroom to the living room. I needed to know if this microchip had web cam capabilities. This is important since you don’t want your people seeing what you do when they aren’t home. Shoes are perfect to test with since people have this obsession about keep same shoes together – like conjoined twins. Strange. With the task complete I waited – nothing happened. No electric shock, no loud alarms, no people running in from nowhere to yell. Excellent!

My third test was clothing. I decided that I would take a jacket that had been hanging on the back of a chair. I carefully pulled, so as not to disturb anything on the table (to be scientific you have to be careful about those things). I almost had the coat off when the chair flew backwards towards me – stuff flew everywhere – the chair fell with a great crash! “AhHa” my people had installed a theft deterrent system on the chair! Granted it was very low tech, but pretty amazing given their low aptitude for those things. As far as the microchip, I didn’t feel or experience anything abnormal.

My final test would be chewing detection. This is a very important test since chewing is very high on every canines’ need list. If the mircochip was somehow programmed to shock – or worse mentally alter a canines’ will to chew – then I would be forced to give microchipping a bad review – chewing is that important. I started with a wicker trash basket that was next to my persons’ bed. I pulled it into the living room (again testing the web cam, GPS abilities of the microchip). Nothing. Coast clear. I chewed in earnest starting with a corner of the wastebasket. No ill effects. No reactions. I then went for the discarded tissues inside the basket (I don’t understand why people throw tissues away after they have sprayed nose drippings on them. You’d think that they’d want to keep them after they became fragrant). Anyway, I spread them around the room. Nothing. I chewed on the wastebasket some more. Still nothing.

Testing is hard work. I was getting tired. I decided that maybe I didn’t have to test the microchip anymore. The rice grain sized chip didn’t seem to do anything. I would have no reason to tell the folks at CNet or the MSPCA that microchipping was bad and they should warn canines. In fact, the chip passed all the vigorous tests I could come up with. Maybe it really isn’t some canine Orwellian nightmare device.  Maybe it really is nothing more than a high-tech canine ID tag – just an invisible accessory. That’s really disappointing. Since my people won’t get me an iPhone I was hoping that my microchip could do cool stuff. I was really hoping I could get Apps for it.

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