Just a few days after Christina Hunger got her new puppy, she noticed something that would change both their lives.
Hunger is a speech therapist who often works with children who have difficulty speaking. She has to coach them to move past their delays or use tools in order to help them communicate.
While sitting at her desk one day and completing a toddler’s language assessment, lightning struck. Hunger noticed that a young child on the verge of speaking showed many of the same behaviors that Stella, her 8-week-old Catahoula-blue heeler mix, was exhibiting.
For example, just like a young child, Stella cried to get attention and gestured to request action, such as when she nosed her empty water bowl.
“It was this really strong lightbulb,” Hunger told The Post. “Once I saw that, I couldn’t unsee it. I couldn’t think about anything else. It was so obvious to me that dogs just needed a different way to communicate.”