NEWS~ASTRO~RADIO ♫~News for a Song~♫ Good afternoon! My name is Dexter Marlin, and we have a treat for you! The other day during break, our editorial team told us the station was getting a lot of requests from families throughout Aleph about choosing the right dog for your family - and the answer isn't that simple! To help us get to the bottom of this, we brought in some subject matter experts and their respective pets. Joining us via video feed from Cloverpaw, we have designer and roboticist April Zanetti and her Man's Best Friend, Jack. Welcome to today's program. ZANETTI: Pleased to meet you, I can't wait to get started! [Jack borks!] From Horrigan University we have Professor James Van Ulrich - with a Spectral Sighthound draped across his lap. Good evening! ULRICH: Well met, Mr. Marlin. [Sighthound looks up, yawns.] And here in the studio we have Evan Gundersen - local animal trainer from Bayside with a garden variety, non-robotic, non-Weird dog for the rest of us. GUNDERSEN: G'day. [Dog barks, tries to shake Marlin's hand.] Put 'er there. So, here we have three different sorts of canine pets. One technological, one magical, and the other mundane. Which one will complete your life, but above all, why get a dog? ZANETTI: No family is complete without one, so why not have a dog who can do more, like Jack? ULRICH: Since time immemorial, people and dogs have evolved together, domesticated from wolves. It would be doing a disservice not to have one in your life, at least. This is true! Dogs are the product of tens and thousands of years of selective breeding and evolution, as well as mutual benefit. The benefits for humans include companionship, utility... GUNDERSEN: I reckon dogs only evolved from wolves 'cos they discovered we have couches and snacks. ...while the benefits for the dogs are couches, snacks, and unconditional love, yes. Can the Man's Best Friend reciprocate that love, Ms. Zanetti? It says on the box that they can lift approximately five hundred pounds and doesn't need to breathe! ZANETTI: This is true. They are engineered to be steadfast companions and work-suitable tools. They draw power from common foodstuffs and organic matter, much like real dogs do. They're also surprisingly heavy, clocking in at about thirty five kilograms for a two foot tall dog. On the opposite end of weight - Professor Ulrich, how much does the hound draped across you weigh? ULRICH: About the same weight as a greyhound, between thirty to fourty kilos. And does your ideal dog have any ... special dietary requirements? ULRICH: A Spectral Sighthound's diet requires a helping of Feleaf, in addition to nutrition provided by regular canine foodstuffs. If you cannot grow your own or if none can be sourced locally, store bought Feleaf will do. GUNDERSEN: Sounds mighty complex - a regular dog will take whatever you give 'em within reason. No need to plug them into the wall and update their firmware or summon 'em. Are you suggesting our audience would be ignorant of these things, Mr. Gundersen? GUNDERSEN: Nah, 'course not. It just depends on how much they're willing to do. Wanna keep it simple? Get a garden variety doggo from your local adoption centre and give 'em a loving home. A very no-frills approach indeed. Do our other subject matter experts have anything to add? ZANETTI: Well, for starters, you don't need to plug the MBF into the wall for it to download updates. ULRICH: It isn't difficult to summon a Sighthound to begin with, and many practitioners fabricate a recall trinket for making future summoning easier, should your Sighthound depart for the Weald. Let's open the line to viewers, and see what they think...!