Meet Bunny, the TikTok famous 'talking' dog, who uses buttons to speak to her owner. Scientists are observing her to learn more about our pets' secret lives.
Bunny, the "talking" dog, sits in front of her FluentPet device. Alexis Devine / Instagram
Bunny, a dog who can communicate using sound buttons, has over 5.7 million followers on TikTok.
Her owner, Alexis Devine, often posts videos of her dog "talking" to her.
Scientists at the University of California at San Diego observe Bunny to see if pets can express themselves verbally.
In addition to Bunny, 1,300 other dogs are being examined as part of the TheyCanTalk study.
So far, the project's lead scientist has described some of her discoveries as "exciting" and has exceeded his expectations.
You can find more stories on the Insider homepage.
On a sunny July afternoon, Bunny - a 1-year-old mix poodle - had just returned from a walk with her owner in Tacoma, Washington. As so often, Bunny hovered around on her voice card, studying the keys that made the sound.
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The black and white dog then pressed a button, which immediately rang out the word "crazy". "Why so angry?" asked Alexis Devine - Bunny's 40 year old owner. The dog then moved to press the 'ouch' button. Devine asked skeptically, "Where's your ouch?"
After a few moments of hesitation, Bunny went to a new button. "Stranger," it suggested. Shortly afterwards she pressed the paw button.
Devine put this information together - crazy, ouch, strange, paw. She decided to do further research.
She called for her pet and began examining Bunny's foot. To her amazement, there was a foxtail between Bunny's toes - an invasive tuft of grass that can penetrate the skin of dogs and occasionally requires surgery.
"When Bunny said 'Stranger, Paw' to me, I knew there was a foreign object there. I could find it and remove it before it needed medical treatment," Devine told Insider.
"Every time she can tell me that she is in pain, especially when she is in pain, I love it," Devine continued. "It's incredible."
Bunny with her owner Alexis Devine in Tacoma, Washington. Alexis Devine / Instagram
Devine isn't the only person to be surprised by these human-like "conversations" between a pet and its owner. 5.7 million people now follow Bunny's TikTok account and express their amazement at the dog's apparent communication skills.
Bunny and Devine quickly built their own fan base. Just a month after setting up the account in June, they had accumulated over a million followers and tens of millions of likes.
Bunny's early viral videos show the Sheepadoodle with a handful of simple buttons to communicate with Devine. In them, Bunny expresses "love you" and "outside" to chat with her owner.
Sometimes "love you" means please? ## smartestdog ## hunger4words ## talkdog ## mydogtalks ## Amazingdog ## Schäferhund ## cutedoggo ## tiktokpups ## doggo
♬ Original sound - I'm Bunny
Christina Hunger, a speech therapist from San Diego, is a pioneer in this innovative way of getting pets to communicate. After drawing inspiration from her work in speech therapy with toddlers, she was curious to see if dogs could express themselves in a similar way using words.
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