Advice on Pets, Life, Love
By Monica Collins
Dear Dog Lady,
How soon after a dog dies should you get another dog? My dear Bowwow, a shaggy terrier mix, died over two years ago and I still haven't found another dog to bring home. It's not for lack of interest. I will sometimes go to the South End dog park and just hang out to watch the dogs because I miss one so much. Yet, I haven't felt the uncontrollable urge to get another. How do you know when it's time to take the plunge again?
In her more Rover-romantic days, Ask Dog Lady would say dreamily, "You just know. . ." In truth, you don't. There's never a right time to bring home a pet.
Dog Lady initially dragged her feet about a trip back to Dogville. Mr. Dog Lady, however, knew what the Missus needed and pushed Dog Lady to do research, write emails and investigate possibilities about getting another dog. Finally, he gave the final push to leap at a dog that had become available. The Dog Ladys now have an adorable West Highland terrier named Dexter whom they acquired on October 30 of last year. He is a two-year-old rescue who grew up in the wilds of New Hampshire, which means he was completely spooked by the city. He's now becoming much more accustomed to the sounds around him and to tall men walking behind him.
Dog Lady's previous dog, the blessed Shorty who was nearly 16 when he died, was never nervous about anything - even fireworks. Despite the breed similarity, Dexter is a completely different animal, which is really quite wonderful if you think about it because your next dog is guaranteed to be his or her own unique individual. Aren't you curious to meet the lucky fur guy or gal?
Dear Dog Lady,
I was watching "Dateline NBC" and a story about a Texas woman, an executive, who had been murdered. The murderer had vanished into thin air and left behind very few clues. Naturally, all initial suspicion rested on the man closest to her, a guy she met on Match.com to whom she had recently become engaged. Even by looking at him, I knew I didn't like this guy but when reporter Keith Morrison said the fiance he had demanded she give up her two beloved golden retrievers before they got married, I knew he must have been the one who killed her (he wasn't).
Recently, I started seeing someone who bluntly told me, "I don't have pets and I don't want to date a woman with a dog. I can barely stand cats. I have no allergies, except to women with dogs. Hope you don't have one."
I do have a dog I love very much so I didn't see this man again. But I wonder about an aggressive dislike by some men of women with dogs. Are they threatened?
Maybe they are. Maybe they're just not pet people, which is OK for some people - but obviously not for you.
The Dog Lady family - wife, husband and new dog - recently moved back into the city. Since we've been living in our urban neighborhood, Dog Lady has seen many more men with dogs than women. This is a completely random observation that leads to an unscientific conclusion there are a lot of men out there loving on their pets.
Dear Dog Lady,
My Yorkshire terrier, Shrimpie is a dog of open adoption. This means my neighbor across the street, who gave us Shrimpie a year ago, believes it's perfectly acceptable to come over and collect him for overnight stays. I really don't mind all that much but she's starting to come later and later in the evenings. Also, Shrimpie always comes back to us a little crazier than when he left, which makes me worry whether this back-and-forth situation is good for him. He recently bit the man who installed our kitchen tile and he's growling more than usual. What can I do to help all of us?
Shrimpie needs the security of one home. Your neighbor gave him up. Now, you set the visiting rules. She can see him during the day and only when it's convenient for you. Overnight stays should be limited to once a month. Tell her about Shrimpie biting the tile installer. Dog fear always produces aggressive behavior such as biting.
Small dogs pose a dilemma because people think they're cute enough to manhandle. This creates all sorts of problems, as your neighbor must have learned before she surrendered Shrimpie to you. Look in any shelter and the small dogs are usually the most deceptively dangerous. This Yorkie needs a safe house in your house.
Visit askdoglady.com and read the new blogs, "Shorty Knows" and "Dex and the City."