Two years ago I was in awe when I found out about Koko, the gorilla who learned to talk using sign language. Penny Patterson was already talking with Koko for 45 years when I found out about her initiative.

But we're living in faster communication times now. So it took me just a couple of months (since her Instagram was up at least) to find out about Stella, the dog who learned the talk. Isn't that exciting?!

This is Stella, and the board with buttons she uses to talk:

And this is Christina, Stella's "owner" (don't like the word but can't think of a better one at the moment), and the one teaching her to speak. She's a speech-language pathologist who loves dogs, and managed to use her skills to help Stella express with words.

There are 40 posts in Christina's Instagram account showing and recounting Stella talking, plus some on Facebook and YouTube, and it's best to see them for yourself, but just to tell you about a few:

Just like any dog Stella wants to go outside, and she's often pushing the outside button. But what's incredible is she's also making phrases out of words, like pushing both the Jake button, and the outside button, to let Christina know she senses Jake, Christina's boyfriend, has arrived.

Or when she hears something outside, Stella pushes Look, Come, Outside, to get Christina's attention about something that's going on outside.

Stella knows 29 words and has learned to combine them to let Christina know what she wants. So there are many more interesting things Stella is expressing.

And just like Koko wasn't unique, I believe Stella isn't unique either. We just didn't put in the resources and find better ways to communicate with our dogs, cats and so on.

 But wow, that future seems so close now :D