Dog Lady praises a caring owner, and a reader writes in about her own jumping dog.
Dear Dog Lady,
This summer I’m sharing a weekend lake house with my friend and her dog. Initially, I was peeved when she asked to bring Joe because I didn’t want a dog underfoot. But Joe, some sort of terrier, is very well behaved and doesn’t mess around at all. I’ve grown to like him and enjoy his company. What I don’t understand is my friend’s total adoration of this dog.
She’s newly divorced and childless so I guess she’s a little needy. She babies the creature to an extraordinary degree. When we go swimming, she brings along a chair for Joe to sit under. He had his own towel. She also puts icepacks on him to keep him cool and has bottles of water and bags of treats for whenever Joe was thirsty or hungry. I want to shriek at her, “C’mon, he’s a dog!” I bite my tongue.
Does this sort of coddling behavior seem strange to you?
Life’s a beach for Joe. If your friend neglects any humans in her care in order to put cold packs on her hot dog, your query would bring out the beast in Dog Lady. But nothing of what you describe sounds untoward.
Your recently divorced friend is lucky to have Joe. Her dog fills a hole in her soul and satisfies a nurturing need in a time of emotional distress. Her companion animal has a good temperament and is amenable. There is nothing wrong with that. By the way, Dog Lady has also been known to spoil her pet, although my dog usually digs his own beach chair. He claws through the earth or sand as he carves out his cool dirt lounger.
Your friend gives a great example of being a responsible animal owner. After all, dogs can’t wander up to the concession stand and order a cool one. When they are outdoors in the hot sun, dogs need fresh water to keep them hydrated -- the same as humans.
Joe’s keeper does the right thing to protect him. Your divorced friend has kindly instincts. Be glad there’s a comforting cup of Joe in her life.
Dear Dog Lady,
I read in your column about Lilah, the jumping up dog, and it reminded me of Libby, a beautiful Bernese mountain dog who lived with me in the ‘90s. Her only fault was that she jumped up on people. I asked my cousin, who bred and trained Rottweilers, for advice. She suggested that I take hold of Libby's front paws when she jumped up and "dance" her around backward.
"Big dogs hate to walk on their back legs," she assured me. Well, the solution worked, but not the way she thought. I started doing this with Libby every day when I came home from work and discovered that all she really wanted was some "face-to-face" time with me.
If I spent about five minutes a day with her paws up on my shoulders while I talked to her and scratched her ears, she remained down with "four on the floor" the rest of the time, even when guests came to the house. Libby lived to be 11 years and 1 week old. I miss her.
Libby was the dog who gave new meaning to the classic phrase, “Honey, I’m home.”
Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Her website is www.askdoglady.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org