Advice on Pets, Life, Love
Dear Dog Lady,
I recently attended the funeral of a man I did not know very well but liked him well enough so I got together with him and his wife a couple of times a year. He was a character -a lawyer/Uber driver-and I appreciated his sense of humor. He also was a dog lover who died of a heart attack while he was walking his two dogs. At his funeral, his dogs were among the mourners, which shocked me a little to see the animals in the mortuary. Do you think this was appropriate?
Some people might have been displeased by the animals' attendance at traditionally somber rites. However, the deceased must have loved his pets enough so their presence at the funeral would have been perfectly natural to him.
Dear Dog Lady,
How can I best walk my dog among the snow piles? Cosmo, my boxer, doesn't know where to go-for business or pleasure.
During these long snow days, Dog Lady imagines how easy it would be to be Cat Lady. Purr-no walks, no worries. However, the dear dog must go out. So we teeter on mountains of snow and hope the beast chooses to go quickly on whatever patch of ice smells familiar.
A sensible walking tip? Wear Yaktrax (yaktrax.com) on the bottom of your boots to make tracks on slick surfaces. Dog Lady couldn't move without these ice grippers. Yaktrax are available online and in many sporting goods and shoe stores.
Dear Dog Lady,
I adopted a Maltese pup about a year and a half ago. The people I got him from recognized that they had not bonded with him and Freddie was spending too much time in a dog cage. Freddie and I bonded almost immediately. He still follows me around the house and generally doesn't let me out of his sight. When I leave him alone (nearly every day for a little while or longer), he cries. Sometimes I can hear him howling when I pull into the garage. My concern is that I am planning a trip to China and I really am worried about how he will do when I am gone for 17 days. He will be staying with my cousin who has a small dog that Freddie is best friends with. Do you have any suggestions on how I can prepare Freddie for my leaving?
Here's a line to remember about dogs: "Distraction is the mother of reinvention." In general, make sure your Maltese has plenty of healthy chewies (bully sticks are great), and indestructible toys (say a Kong stuffed with peanut butter) when you're not home. Also, give Freddie a vigorous walk before you leave. When you come back home or when leave, do not acknowledge him. This might seem cruel but ignorance is bliss for dogs with separation anxiety. They make a big deal because we make a big deal of greeting them or saying goodbye.. Ignore him coming and going. It will seem strange at first but your feigned obliviousness will help Freddie calm down and detach.
Now, about your trip: Go to China and don't look back. Certainly, your cousin and her dog will keep Freddie amused. Leave her with stuff to distract him - particularly his food -- and Freddie will be in fine fettle, especially with a dog pal. Dogs may love us but other dogs keep them grounded.
Dear Dog Lady,
There have been several news articles lately about the dangers of pets sleeping in your bed due to diseases that pets may give you accidentally. Animals can carry fleas and ticks, and can get infected and re-infected with intestinal parasites without proper veterinary medical care. Fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites are common in pets of owners uneducated about the importance of basic veterinary medical care. And those parasites can lead to severe disease in children, pregnant women, people with certain diseases, and the elderly. As a veterinarian I like to promote the healthy bonds that people have with their pets, but it makes it difficult when you don't realize a pet can carry a debilitating or deadly disease.
Dr. A. (MS, DVM)
Dear Dr. A.,
Thank you for this advisory. Dog Lady believes it's safe to assume that if you regularly see a veterinarian, the medical professional will ensure you and your dog are taking the proper precautions to stay free of parasites. Dog Lady has a new rescue dog, Dexter, and she does not allow him to share her bed. He sleeps in the bedroom with Mr. and Mrs. Dog Lady but he sleeps in his own crate where he is very safe and comfortable. Also, Dexter is not allowed to kiss Dog Lady on the face or lips. On walks, he, like many dogs, is a potty mouth, nosing and tonguing all sorts of disgusting things. Dog Lady doesn't want to stop him from doing what comes naturally but she doesn't want to share his saliva either. Alas, 'tis best not to kiss your dog.
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