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Ask Dog Lady

Thursday Apr 27, 2017

Advice on Pets, Life, Love

Dear Dog Lady,

Just curious. Has President Donald Trump gotten a pet yet? Is he the first president not to have a four-legged friend in the White House?


Dear Peter,

No pets yet at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Kind of creepy, wouldn't you say? Actually, a fur-less Oval Office shouldn't be that surprising. President Trump has already smashed a lot of traditions and standards associated with the U. S. presidency. Yes, he's the first president in modern times who does not have a pet.

Alex Beam, the columnist, Ask Dog Lady friend, and fellow West Highland terrier owner, recently wrote a piece for the New York Times, "What Kind of Pet Should Donald Trump Get?" that is really worth the Google search if you haven't read it already. Writes Beam: "It seems emblematic of President Trump's blaring tone-deafness for the office that he doesn't even feign interest in recruiting a furry, fowlish or finny friend. Pets reap vast, humanizing rewards for presidents as almost every one of his predecessors has discovered."

Ever the good reporter, Beam has found an expert who can speak to this. He quotes Alan Beck, a professor of animal ecology and director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University. Says Beck: "If you have an animal, you are somehow a better person. There are lots of studies on this. But I don't think the president even seems to care about that."

Dear Dog Lady,

My dog, Spooky, has seen my beaus come and go. My current (for the past year) beau got along smashingly with my pooch for about six months. Then, Spooky began to act destructive while he was staying with my guy at his home while I was traveling for work. Trash cans overturned, bathrooms wrecked, and even urinating on his couch. It became such a problem that Spooky no longer stays with my fellow while I travel, but with a friend (female and no problems). I love this guy, and he tolerates the dog despite the bad behavior. Any ideas on how to correct the problem and keep the both of the loves of my life in the same picture?


Dear Beth,

You have to be part of this picture too. When Spooky wreaked havoc, you should have immediately stepped up to make things right with your beau by reimbursing for damages and cleaning - no matter if he gamely insisted the animal antics were OK. Staying with your female friend seems a more successful strategy. Still, don't tax your intimates. Friends don't let friends mind the dog.

When you leave town, arrange for reliable, professional dog care and pay for the service. Ask at your veterinarian's office, the local dog store, or neighborhood dog walkers for referrals to pet sitters. Use the app Wag or go to, the web site of Pet Sitters International, a professional organization. You can search, via ZIP Code, for a referral to a Spooky sitter.

Dear Dog Lady,

I was raised by parents who were breeders, so when I noticed that my friend's Saint Bernard looked underweight I mentioned it to my friend and was told in a "none of your business" attitude that the veterinarian says she's "fine." That was months ago and the dog's spine and hip bones are very visible through her fur, her nose is always very dry, and she doesn't eat well. I sneak her food whenever I'm in the house, just dog food with warm water on it, and she wolfs it down eagerly, but the owner says she doesn't eat when food is offered to her.

How do I get my friend to take her dog's health seriously?


Dear Alicia,

We all know that minding our own business is the preferable course. However, in a case like this, you must ask your friend about her dog's condition. Sure, you risk being a Buttinski but, in the matter of a living creature's health and welfare, your meddling is warranted.

You have credentials. Tell your friend you come from a family of St. Bernard breeders. You know how a dog is supposed to look and her St. Bernard doesn't look well. Point out the bones and the dry nose. Arrive girded with names and contact information for a couple of well-regarded veterinarians as well as information about brands of prime dog food. Also, bring the contacts of a St. Bernard rescue organization. Offer the information without judgment.

Your friend may be overwhelmed caring for this animal. A Saint Bernard dog is the size of a small horse. The breed requires much food, good exercise, and a snowy Swiss mountain all their own. Their slobber runs in rivers. They are great dogs and renowned for helping humans in distress. Your friend, however, may not want to keep this sort of a high maintenance pet and will be relieved if you provide the opportunity for a way out.

Visit and read the new blogs, "Shorty Knows" and "Dex and the City."


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