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Josh Thole taught his dog sign language

May 5, 2011, 12:00 PM EDT


I guess a catcher would be good at signs.

Thole, considered a cornerstone to the Amazin’s rebuilding, has taught a deaf pooch named Picca – owned by he and his wife, Kathryn – to understand sign language. The 24-year-old backstop said his Maltese-poodle mix caught on pretty fast.

My cat doesn’t come when you call him. Doesn’t listen to anyone or anything. I’m sure the explanation is that he’s deaf. Because certainly a cat would want to obey you, right?

Off to call Thole for some advice …

  1. yankeesfanlen - May 5, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    Here’s the HBT Ultimate Minion Challenge: Dogs or Cats?

    Hounds by a mile.

    • cur68 - May 5, 2011 at 12:09 PM

      Dogs. Specifically Border Collies.

      • yankeesfanlen - May 5, 2011 at 12:11 PM

        Exactly! Well, maybe a little mixed.

      • cur68 - May 5, 2011 at 12:15 PM

        Reply below.

      • yankeesfanlen - May 5, 2011 at 12:17 PM

        Maybe purebred too

      • cur68 - May 5, 2011 at 12:23 PM

        That looks EXACTLY like my dog! She’s also a suspect pure bred. I wish I had a shot of her on the interwebs somewhere to link it too. You’d swear I dognapped yours. I shall now tell my serfs to go do my work for me and try and figure out how to get a picture of her up…

      • cur68 - May 5, 2011 at 12:28 PM

        Len; got it. I hope this works…

      • yankeesfanlen - May 5, 2011 at 12:35 PM

        Yeah, that works fine. To make it bigger, double click before you upload. Border collies post for me once in a while when I’m listening to the game. Maybe just don’t like John & Suzyn.

      • TC - May 5, 2011 at 3:25 PM

        I see your border collies and raise you mops:

      • cur68 - May 5, 2011 at 3:36 PM

        Someone looks like his dog!:) Great shot of your dog, too.

    • The Rabbit - May 5, 2011 at 12:21 PM

      Morning Len,
      Dogs are cool, but cats are the best…even though they do behave like my ex: Ignore me until they want something and then become demanding, leave hair and their toys everywhere, etc.

      • yankeesfanlen - May 5, 2011 at 12:31 PM

        Hey RNJ-
        Sorry I beat Eric in Fantasy last week, but I’m doing lousy on my own. Told ARod this AM I’d bench him if he didn’t start doin’ somethin’.
        Cats are ok, had one in Chgo that thought he was my Golden’s son.
        Cheers- Yanks coming on.

      • The Rabbit - May 5, 2011 at 12:58 PM

        Hey Len,
        Don’t be the least bit sorry you beat Eric in Fantasy last week. I’m hoping to kick his butt in this week’s matchup. It was amusing to listen to him whine that he could win if Jose Reyes had a bad game on Sunday night. I think he lost in extra innings.
        BTW-His wife had another boy on Tuesday. One more and they’ll have an infield.
        Re: A-Rod- I benched him for Polanco in my rotoleague. He’s playing like he did when he was hurt.
        I love dogs, too. Just not convenient if you travel and don’t like boarding.
        Enjoy the game. TTYL

      • yankeesfanlen - May 5, 2011 at 1:04 PM

        Wow- Joe and Brian must finally be listening- ARod and Beep-beep benched today!

    • Utley's Hair - May 5, 2011 at 12:22 PM

      Cats should be purged from the face of the earth. They like pie.

      • Jonny 5 - May 5, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        My Cat just gave you the middle claw and said Cake rules, whatever that means. I was never a cat person, but my wife brought home this stray kitten last year, and this cat is totally insane. So we get along great. But yeah, Dogs rule still.

      • Utley's Hair - May 5, 2011 at 12:42 PM

        Explaining the “Cake rules” comment: cats instinctively try to pi$$ off their two-legged staff members.

      • BC - May 5, 2011 at 3:30 PM

        Cats rule.
        1. They sleep 18 hours a day so they generally don’t bother you.
        2. You don’t have to take them outside.
        3. They generally don’t bite (though I had a male cat that occasionally did).
        4. Give ’em food, water, a scratching post, a sandbox and some catnip and they’re in heaven.
        5. They don’t bounce you out of bed at 3am barking at the top of their lungs.
        6. Instant mouse control.

    • sdelmonte - May 5, 2011 at 1:01 PM

      Cats, if I have to actually chose. I can live without pets with ease.

    • IdahoMariner - May 5, 2011 at 1:10 PM

      cats. totally. because you can leave them with a big bowl of water, a big bowl of food and a clean litterbox, take off for a five-day binge of baseball games, come back, and they are good. Can’t do that with dogs. You have to arrange dog-sitting, and then you feel guilty because dogs seem like they care whether you are there or not….LOVE dogs, don’t want to be responsible for them.

      • cur68 - May 5, 2011 at 1:17 PM

        The stage is set for the cat/dog hybrid; acts like a dog when you come home and feed them, can be taught to get you a beer, can be left on own for days at a time because doesn’t need to be walked, uses a litter box, never gives you long soulful looks when you prepare to leave the house without them.

        Naturally, in accordance with the mythos of fooling with nature, they shall band together and attempt to take over the world, but we’ll be able to distract them with a piece of string.

  2. cur68 - May 5, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    A ‘maltese-poodle’? So that’s a ‘maloodle”, right? Know what a cocker spaniel maltese cross is?

    My apologies. I’m still trying to get over this guy:

    • Jonny 5 - May 5, 2011 at 12:19 PM

      Na, it’s a “pootese”.

      • cur68 - May 5, 2011 at 1:21 PM

        Or a “Mr. Hankey”.

      • Utley's Hair - May 5, 2011 at 1:29 PM

        Only at Christmas time.

  3. cur68 - May 5, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    Smooth coat collie X with black lab, right?

    • yankeesfanlen - May 5, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      Yep, most people don’t deduce that right away.

      • cur68 - May 5, 2011 at 12:37 PM

        Only because I see one nearly every day when out walking my 2. If Dash is anything to go by, they are some of the nicest dogs I’ve ever met. Like a laid back border collie. Will do whatever you ask but at a more sedate pace than my pure bred.

        Kudos to Thole for teaching his deaf dog stuff; he’d do just amazing work with a border, though.

  4. bloodysock - May 5, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    Too bad he couldn’t have taught Minaya to say ‘no’.

  5. Jonny 5 - May 5, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    To be honest, this is a non-story, and most dog owners would probably agree that dogs respond well to hand gestures.

    I have a Lab/ border collie mix who does it’s business in it’s pen when I point in that direction, It’s learned everything I’ve tried to teach it. Roll over, beg, sit pretty, bang you’re dead, git ’em, and even goes on the sliding board at the park if i tell her too. The kids go crazy over that one, the moms too…. 😉 She is now in negotiations to run the Dodgers. Top that “THOLEEEEE”

  6. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 5, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    THESE are the best dogs ever. Nothing more badass than an arrmored, infrared camera-scoped, skydiving German Shepherd.

  7. RedHeadedBastard - May 5, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    Dogs are awesome. I have two schnauzers and I taught one to fetch a beer and the other to hike on my wife when she got mad at me for drinking the beer.

  8. David Kaleida - May 5, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Officially its a “malti-poo.” We had one when I was growing up and they’re pretty smart and very friendly.

  9. tmohr - May 5, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Sorry, everybody, but dogs rank as follows:

    1 – Dachshunds

    2 – every other breed

    • cur68 - May 5, 2011 at 2:51 PM

      Really? I have to disagree. They seem nice enough but they can’t swim a lick. 2 days ago my lab/terrier/someone’sleg cross had to rescue one that fell into the creek. That little wiener dog was lucky Carter heard him crying in there because with all the snow melt and rain run off we are having the creek is deep, fast and really cold. He pulled that guy out by his collar after a hard swim and scramble.

      The poor little thing was so terrified he ran off back to his owner (sadly a middle aged man; its never a Jessica Alba lookalike when your dog does something really cool only when he’s crapping on someone’s lawn) as fast as his little legs could go. Carter got a raw beef bone for being a hero and instructions to try and rescue Miss Alba’s dog next time.

      I don’t mind wiener dogs; they seem smart and they are cutest little puppies ever, but I’ll take my mutt and border collie ahead of them.

  10. BC - May 5, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Dogs come when you call them. Cats take a message and get back to you.

  11. professor59 - May 5, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    I’d rather own cats, but as far as selecting a minion, it has to be dogs. Cats assume YOU are their minion.

  12. dimster - May 7, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    “owned by he and his wife…” where and when has anyone ever talked like that? or read that? come on, man, you know better than that. Who is your editor?

    btw, dogs have owners – cats have staff.

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