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Ask Dog Lady

Thursday Jul 16, 2020

This article is from the July 16, 2020 issue of South End News.

Ask Dog Lady

Dear Dog Lady,
Do you have any advice for dog step-parents like me? When I fell in love with Bob, I had no choice but love his dog, a shepherd-mix named Aynsley. Bob and I got married and we all live together as man and man and dog. But Aynsley is much more Bob's dog. He immediately jumps to Bob's commands. On walks, he will always look around to see where Bob is. I often joke that even if I stood next to Bob shaking a slab of juicy meat, the dog would always go to Bob first. Why is this? Is there any way to teach an old dog to love me too?
Dear Paul,
Your question strikes a chord with anyone who falls in love with someone who loved a dog first. The simple answer is "no." Nothing personal, though. Bob's bond with Aynsley was sealed before you entered their lives and the link is unassailable — at least in Aynsley's dogged brain.
But consider this: You can enjoy all the benefits of being friends with a dog without bearing all the responsibility for the dog. Surely, you can see the goodness of this.

Dear Dog Lady,
My landlord has been watching somebody's dog for a couple of weeks. He ties the dog right outside my window during the day and leaves it there. The dog barks at everyone who walks by. I feel so badly about this. At least I get to go to work every day but the poor dog doesn't seem to go anywhere. How would you suggest I approach the landlord about this situation?

Dear Chaya,
Geez, Dog Lady became incensed while reading this. How anyone can just tie up a dog and expect the animal to be cool about the confinement is crazy. Step up and say something to your landlord. What? Start from the humane point of view: "I don't think it is kind treatment to keep an animal tied up all day . . ."
If he pushes back, you have all sorts of methods at your disposal: Shame him on social media (TikTok, although haters will label you a "Karen"). Call your town's Animal Control office and anonymously report him; or withhold rent because the dog disturbs your right to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the premises.

Dear Dog Lady,
I have been so good to my dog. I never hit her, shout at her, or make her go hungry. But I swear she plots revenge on me all the time. She chews my shoes and goes to the bathroom in my closet. She looks at me like she's terribly guilty. Without sticking her nose in her messes and swatting her, how do I let her know she's done wrong? She's almost seven-years-old and she should know better.

Dear Chaya,
Are you talking about your dog or a bad roommate? You have fallen into that trap of anthropomorphizing your dog. Anthropomorphize is a big word for a simple concept. Anthropomorphizing occurs when someone ascribes human qualities to living creatures of another species; in this case, canines.
Dogs do not have emotions like humans. You cannot expect a dog to feel guilt, love, remorse or any feeling on a human scale. You are good to your dog, which is excellent. However, do not expect the dog to feel grateful or to consider your feelings when she goes potty in your closet.