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Wouldn't it be great if pets could talk? This might be the next best thing

A pug reacts to the camera on the first day of the Festival of Dogs weekend at Castle Howard on May 21, 2022 in York, England.
Ian Forsyth
/
Getty Images
A pug reacts to the camera on the first day of the Festival of Dogs weekend at Castle Howard on May 21, 2022 in York, England.

Every wonder what your pet might say if it could talk?

Well, you can wonder no more.

Some wildly popular social media videos feature pets talking back to their owners with attitude.

The videos come from the mind — and mouth — of Bobby Johnson, a Dallas voiceover artist. He's known on social media as The RxCK STxR. He takes animal videos submitted by his many fans — 2.4 million followers on TikTok alone — and gives voice to dogs, cats, hamsters, birds and more.

Johnson used to be a music producer until his animal videos became a full-time job.

The inspiration for his channel first came during the pandemic.

"Everything shut down and we were isolated," Johnson said. "One day I came across a video of a puppy dog bouncing in a box and noticed it was bouncing on beat. It had a rhythm to it so we made a song."

Johnson posted the video. And a few days later, celebrities, including Colin Hanks and Missy Elliott, were reposting it.

"It just blew up. And that's when I figured, hey, let's just check this lane out a little bit more," Johnson said.

Johnson watches about 200 animal videos a day. He plays them back with the sound off. That way he can spot animals with expressive moments, where they seem to be saying something with their bodies.

"Those quick jerks, those foot stomps and those quick turnarounds are not to entertain," Johnson explained. "They're trying to tell you something like you're doing something wrong, you're doing something right or I need you to do something for me."

Facial expressions also get Johnson's attention. However, just because an animal looks guilty, it doesn't mean it has to sound guilty.

"When you first look at something, you'll get an immediate impression. But we don't buy into the first or the fifth or even the sixth impression. We try to paint a picture that makes people say, wow, okay, I didn't see it going that way," Johnson said. "I've never taken an easy approach to anything, and that's been my downfall. But it's it's paying off big time right now."

Making the unexpected the expected is one of the reasons The RxCK STxR's talking animals are leaving so many humans speechless.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Barry Gordemer is an award-winning producer, editor, and director for NPR's Morning Edition. He's helped produce and direct NPR coverage of two Persian Gulf wars, eight presidential elections, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and hurricanes Katrina and Harvey. He's also produced numerous profiles of actors, musicians, and writers.