Dog Lady offers advice on dog shows, and why men don’t like playing second fiddle to a pooch.
Dear Dog Lady,
A friend and I went to a major dog show taped for TV. We both have dogs -- my friend has a German shepherd and I have a terrier mix -- so we thought would we would get a giant canine charge at the show, which we did because we saw hundreds of beautiful dogs. But we left there feeling a little depressed and deflated. I couldn't help but imagine that show dogs are not happy dogs. What do you think?
Dear John, show dogs don't know any better. They are happy because parading in the ring is their lot in life and, as always, the animals want to please their humans. Dogs are the most adaptable creatures on earth.
Dog Lady has also attended dog shows and felt the same conflicting emotions -- delight with all the dogs, but sadness at seeing them cooped up in crates (cages), or standing awkwardly on a grooming table while being fussed over by a human, or having their privates manhandled by a judge. But Dog Lady has also seen that fabulous film farce, "Best in Show," too many times to take a dog show very seriously.
Dog shows can be depressing if you believe the dogs don't really want to be there and the show people are pushy stage parents who force their dogs to perform to satisfy the deep cravings of the human ego. But that's not the whole picture. Many owners and handlers feel sincere affection for their animals. Dog shows celebrate dogs, even if that celebration does not reflect the way you choose to celebrate your own dog.
Dear Dog Lady,
I know this sounds crazy, but I judge my dates by how well they treat my dog. Tom got miffed when I cooed endearing nicknames to my darling pooch Cleo. The shaky alliance lasted 13 dates. Then there was Bob. He pretended to like my dog by stiffly petting her behind the ears for a few seconds each time he came to pick me up. But he banned Cleo from any reclining surface where Bob was inclined to recline -- even though it was my house. The relationship lasted eight months. Am I too unyielding in these matters? Does Cleo’s opinion count?
Sarah, you’re the one who must be pleased – and pleasing. You’re trying to be Alpha in your dating world. Actually, you’re allowing Cleo to be Alpha. You should understand that no guy wants to play second fiddle to his girlfriend’s girl dog -- or boy dog, for that matter. Your dates are merely trying to mark their territory. They want you to pay attention to them. So let them woo you freely. You seem to be using Cleo as an intimacy excuse. Eventually, you’re going to have to give a man the unconditional chance to court you.
Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Her Web site is www.askdoglady.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.