Ask Dog Lady
Dear Dog Lady,
I am curious about why dogs have become part of the political conversation. For example, do you think it relevant that Mitt Romney tied his crated dog to the roof of the family car when driving from Massachusetts to Canada on vacation? Or is it crucial to know Barack Obama ate dog when he was a boy living in Jakarta with his mother and stepfather?
In Romney’s case, Dog Lady believes it was an oddly insensitive efficiency move and not an extreme act of cruelty to tie the crated pet to the roof of the family station wagon. The Irish setter, Seamus, wouldn’t fit in the car with five boys, Anne and Mitt and all the baggage. One of Romney’s sons proudly told this story to the Boston Globe because he was illustrating what a competent manager his father can be. In all the fuss over this story, Romney has never explained why the baggage didn’t go up on the roof of the car instead of the dog.
Republican Romney may not empathize with dogs but he doesn’t despise them. A proclamation from then-governor Mitt Romney hangs on Dog Lady’s office wall in which he declares "Ask Dog Lady" day in Massachusetts: "Whereas Ask Dog Lady dispenses wise and literate advise (sic) every week in her well read newspaper column for all of us who love our dogs and want them to be the best they can be," it reads in part. Considering all the canine shenanigans swirling around Romney, Dog Lady is tickled by the certificate. A picture of it is posted at facebook.com/askdoglady.
As for Obama, well, back in Indonesia, he was a growing boy and eating what his mother told him to at an age when everything tasted like chicken.
These incidents will not determine who wins the election. But treatment of pets is an indicator of character. We’re a nation where the flipside motto could well be -- "In Dog We Trust." Trust our dogs to lead us onward through the political mud fights.
Dear Dog Lady,
I have adopted a dog from our local shelter. Not much is known about her except she was rescued from a puppy breeding farm somewhere in the South and she is about a year old.
I want to call her Skitters (her real name is Snickers) because she is the most nervous dog and behaves somewhat like a cat because she hides all the time. Her favorite place is under the bed. When I look for her, I crouch down and pull up the dust ruffle to see these frightened eyes staring at me. She does come out to go for walks and to eat. She is house-trained and never makes a peep. I just feel so bad for her. How can I let her know I’m one of the good guys?
Every day you let her know you’re one of the good ones because you feed her and walk her. You are also patient with her. You could coo a little bit - soft sounds soothe. You might also place little food treats around the perimeter of the bedskirt so she knows the snacking is good on the other side. When dog-friendly people come over, see if Miss Snickers comes out to socialize a little. If she does, reward her with a tidbit or two but, basically, pet her and act as if it is perfectly normal for her to be part of the crowd.
Dear Dog Lady,
My mom’s friend has a Doberman pinscher. The Doberman sleeps in the living room usually. When my mom was there visiting, the Doberman slept outside her room every night and even followed her if she went to the bathroom. The dog was very loving and friendly. Both my mom and her gentleman friend are elderly.
My mom wonders if you think the dog was protecting her or if he was protecting the owner from my mom. My mom is 88 and reads your column faithfully. This is driving her crazy. If you could shed some light we all would be grateful.
The doting Doberman pinscher chaperones both parties, with a particular allegiance to your mom’s gentleman friend. How thoughtful for the dog to escort your mother to the bathroom in the middle of the night. But let’s not kid ourselves; Dobermans are muscle-bound, jaw-ready watchdogs. This guy stands sentry on the home front lest your mom make any quick or tricky moves.
Dogs pick up cues and signals in amazingly short order. In this case, the Doberman has a clear indication from its human (the gentleman friend) that your mom is welcome. However, the dog knows its duties and has sharp instincts to guard and protect. The dear beast can’t help himself but keep a watchful eye on the proceedings. Mom has every right to feel protected - and warned not to try any funny business.
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