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Woof woof grrrrrrrr arf. (Bark?)

By which I mean: We are about to enter a totally new era of entertainment. (And mind if I sniff your zipper?) I wrote it in doggy language because that's the big new thing. Nestle has just started airing its first commercial created FOR dogs (if not by them), complete with squeaks and sounds that the human ear can't hear.

Or, at least, so the company claims. Google "Nestle Beneful ad" and it just looks like a typical dog food commercial, complete with cute dog, meaty chunks and meaty hunk (the dog owner). The human words happen to be in German because the Spot spot rolled out first in Germany. But I'm inclined to believe that the doggy sounds really are embedded, because Carol Nakamoto, a publicist in New York, played the commercial on her PC and her dog "practically ate the computer."

Being a non-dog-owner, I was not aware that dogs are avid TV viewers, but after asking around, I learned that many of them not only like the boob tube but also have definite preferences. Animal Planet is a favorite, for obvious reasons, and plenty are the pooches who run around to the back of the TV looking for their friends -- or prey. And apparently, there's one particular insurance commercial (no one can remember which company it's for) in which a dog keeps his bones in a doghouse. Among the four-legged crowd, that one is epic.

As for types of programming, some dogs like football; some like "Dancing with the Stars." And at least one -- a Cavalier King Charles spaniel owned by writing coach Robyn Fritz -- cannot get enough of sumo wrestling. Fritz's other spaniel barks at a wider array of things, including stock market reports (which, come to think of it, I have started doing lately, too).

Doorbell sounds send some dogs scurrying to greet/attack/sniff whoever's at the door, and TV shows with cows make some dogs nervous, especially now that so many homes have giant flat screens in the living room. How would YOU feel if you came home to find a herd of cattle grazing by your couch? That's how Fido feels.

But given the fact that owners love their dogs and their dogs love TV, I predict that soon we will be seeing a whole slew of shows designed for dogs. Off the top of my head? How about "Curb Your Enthusiasm and Your Dog"? Or "All My Litter." "The Real Lap Dogs of Beverly Hills." "South Bark." "M*U*S*H." "Neutered and the City." "Pimp My Walk." "Family Dog." "Doogie Bow-wowser." "(Dog) House." And, of course, the runaway hit: "Are You Smarter Than a Poodle?" (As usual, everyone in the viewing audience will be surprised to realize: Uh, no.)

After a while, the other half of the pet kingdom might start getting a little peevish and demand (or at least mew loudly for) its own shows, bringing us new hits, such as "Nine Lives To Live," "Tails from the Darkside," "Extreme Meow-over" and (I could not resist) "How I Met Your Mouser."

Whether this will lead to more human time on the couch or less remains to be seen. Will people welcome the opportunity to sit and pet their pets as the pets turn into couch potatoes? Or will the dog take over the recliner as humans head outside to run and play catch?

Perhaps the only thing we can be sure of, my friends, is that as TV starts pandering to pets, the remote is about to get a lot slimier.