For years, man looked at his closest companion and was at a loss. Ten thousand years of domestication and evolution and while the Dog had far outstripped it's lupine cousin, it was no closer to true communication then than it was before it was domesticated. How many loving and caring dog owners have longed to just speak with their beloved pet? To communicate in a clear and intelligent fashion?
Takamoto Genetics and Augmentation, Inc
Traded under the TGAI, Takamoto is best known as a boutique genetics company. Where the larger companies will do massive projects such as Neko Augmentation processes for thousands or tens of thousands, or diabetic screenings for millions, TGAI does work for clients who might number in the dozens. Takamoto is best known for it's patented Uplift Process which uses a combination of artificial brain components, specifically an artificial frontal lobe, and genetic code tinkering to produce a super smart dog. The end result is a dog that is able to speak, in a rough fashion, as well as having basic problem solving skills, thoughts and opinions, and the other accouterments of sentience.
There has always been a cloud of controversy around Takamotos canines. The animals are unique creatures, each a deliberate creation. While a great deal of effort was put into the process of human cloning, no such effort was put into the acclamation and habilitation of the new canine psyche. They are artificial and they know it. Legally, a Takamoto Canine is intelligent, but afforded no legal rights, no legal protections. At the end of the day, they are afforded the same legal status as a sofa. If a Takamoto dog is killed, mutilated, tortured, neglected, and so on, the only crime commited is Cruelty to Animals.
Creating an abomination like a Takamoto Dog is cruelty to animals. Any process that starts with butchering the brain and adding toaster parts to it is evil.
Typical stance of Anti-Uplifter
Takamoto's uplifted dogs have human level intelligence. The brightest match human average, while the majority fall into the 9-12 year old range for mental ability. They are able so speak one language at a basic level, and have all of the normal abilities of a dog. Their personalities are far different from human, as they are predominantly a scent based creature rather than sight based. And much like children, they are direct and to the point.
A Takamoto Dog could be used a PC (Scooby Do, Astro, etc) with the following additions and modifications
Physical stats, such as strength, hit points, etc, would not change as an aspect of the Uplift Process.
Determine mental traits as usual, but Intelligence cannot be higher than human average (9/18 for D&D, 2/5 for WoD)
Perception attributes benefit from better hearing and better sense of smell, but visual perception is given a minor penalty. If merits and flaws are being used: Keen Hearing, Keen Nose, Colorblind
Basic abilities are severely limited by the fact that the dog does not have manipulative appendages other than it's mouth so it cannot talk and manipulate an object at the same time.
Other general suggested merits and flaws: selective diet, vulnerable to hacking, loyalty (to specific person), Short, uneducated, easily distracted.
Each Takamoto dog needs to have some psychological issues, such as phobias, stress or neurotic triggers, or something of that variety. They were created first and foremost from a point of 'just because we can' and are sold in a commercial consumer economy. This can be as simple as cowardice or anxiety about being alone, or can be as serious as atavistic behavior, excess aggression, or effects that resemble PTSD.
A Few Notes
The talking dog is a common sight in cartoons, but with the advances in technology, creating a talking intelligent dog is not an insurmountable task. Compared to cloning humans, or creating artificial life in a machine, its relatively easy. But this doesn't mean it's right, or ethical. The Takamoto Dog is alone in the world, intelligent but unable to speak clearly or easily, unable to use clever monkey hands. It can see other dogs, and it knows that it is different. While most of the time, the dog in question can be quite happy and appear to be well adjusted, there need to be times when the facade is pulled away and the cruelty is brought to the surface.
Those Meddling Kids! - A local investigation group has a Takamoto great dane that serves as a team mascot, as well as being a trained search as rescue dog. The dog is loyal to a fault, but is constantly hungry, and is easily startled and has fear control issues. When he loses a self control check, he has to run away and hide as quickly as possible.
Cujo - Rabies isn't gone, and while great efforts were made to stamp out cancer and diabetes, not nearly as much attention was paid to many animal diseases. The neighborhood Takamoto comes home with his family, but while on vacation in the country was infected with the deadly disease. Mayhem ensues as the dog, it's mind rapidly deteriorating starts freaking out, attacking and killing people.