Columns » Dangerously Normal

Ask Dog Lady

by Julie Walker
Wednesday Sep 17, 2014

Advice on Pets, Life, Love

By Monica Collins

Dear Dog Lady,

This summer, with everything going on in the world from beheadings to global warming, I have been a pessimistic mess. I despair for the world. I want to crawl under the bed and stay there. My friends and relatives think I take the scope of world tragedies very emotionally. They offer the bromide that life goes on because the alternative is just too horrible. I'm gay and without a partner at the moment. My loneliness certainly adds to my feelings of doom.

You must wonder why I am writing you. Seems the one hopeful impulse I have at the moment is to adopt a dog. Do you think a dog might be the cure for what ails me? Do you have any advice about what kind of dog?

--Brandy

Dear Brandy,

You want a dog, get a dog. However, make sure you are adopting a dog for all the right reasons, instead of grabbing for the first warm-fuzzy that comes along. Dogs are flesh and blood. They are not panaceas. They require much time and work but they give back so much joy.

A dog is a great gift of life and hope. Dogs teach us lessons about taking one day at a time, putting the past behind, enjoying the moment. Dog Lady believes humans can thrive with a pet in the under the same roof and she's living proof. Also, a dog introduces you to a whole new social set. Who knows? Your dog might lead you to the human of your dreams.

Dog Lady endorses adopting a shelter dog because orphan dogs need homes in this crazy world. Go to your local shelter and sniff around. Visit the dogs available for adoption. You might strike up a great relationship.

Dear Dog Lady,

I have a neutered male Siberian husky that I got at eight months old. He is now one year and three months. I was told he was paper trained. But I take him out into the yard and he looks and comes back and goes on the paper. He is still paper trained. But sometimes things go off the paper and I am constantly mopping the floor. He also rips up the paper when I put it down. He still chews a couch. He annoys the other dog in the house, a female terrier-mix that's six-years-old. What can be done? I don't have a lot of money for training. I could use advice.

--Randi

Dear Randi,

You must train this dog-and it doesn't take any money. You must walk the dog so the animal gets enough exercise and enough time to do its business outdoors in an appropriate place. Don't merely open the door and let the dog out in a yard for five seconds. Dogs need to be walked at least an hour a day, especially a big breed like a Siberian husky.

You are expecting the dear dog to know everything when the husky has never been socialized or exercised properly. The dog needs interaction with other dogs and people. And the dog chews the couch because, without walks and social stimulation, there's nothing better to do. Your dog is bored. Thank goodness the terrier-mix provides some companionship, although the smaller dog must be looking for something to do too.

True confession: Dog Lady feels sad and disheartened when she gets letters like yours because your problem could be easily solved and you don't seem to have the will or determination. Start reading about dog training, because you must start from scratch to house-train the husky. You can't expect anyone else to do the dirty work for you. You have to step up and be responsible. The least we owe our dogs is humane care.

Dear Dog Lady,

I recently moved into the city from the suburbs. I'm still getting used to the dog culture in my neighborhood. On the one hand, I like to see a lot of dogs on the streets because it makes me feel safer. On the other hand, I don't like to see so many dogs relieving themselves on the granite cornerstone of my townhouse. The stone always drips with dog pee. Makes me nuts. How do I deal with this, other than becoming the local grouch and shooing away dogs 24/7?

-Lucy

Dear Lucy,

You could post a cute sign on the stone urging dogs to move on. They can't read English, so their owners might get the message.

Your cornerstone has become a pee-mail posting site. You want to take away the odors that compel canines to leave their markings of spurted messages. A solution might be Simple Solution, a solvent that not only cleanses dog drippings but the smell. Simple Solution, available in many pet stores, works on tile and brick, so it must be effective on granite, but you can do your own research on this.

Go to www.askdoglady.com to read more columns, listen to radio segments and watch episodes of "Ask Dog Lady," the TV show.

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