Ask a Terrier

Budleigh-bookshelf-eye-darkened-V2Dogs have much to teach us about life besides the best spots to poop.

As a fully qualified terrier, Budleigh is devoted to sorting out your life in much the way he sorts out the lives of rabbits or other small prey.

Submit your questions, thoughts, or challenges by filling out the form below. Your identity will remain confidential, unless you’re a rabbit or other small prey.

Budleigh’s Ask a Terrier column appears below the submission form. (Yes, just scroll down. This isn’t that hard.)

Check back here often. You never know when Budleigh might answer your question. Or steal your shoe. Or dig under your trellis.


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Ask a Terrier: Extolling Consoling


Dear Budleigh,

When is it appropriate to get another dog? Our sweet Izzy crossed the Rainbow Bridge six months ago. Bitzy, her sister, has adjusted pretty well, we think. Except now in the middle of the night she jumps off the bed and checks all the rooms like a night watchman. I worry that’s kind of obsessive behavior. But then, so is my following her around at night.

Nothing can replace our Izzy! But all of us, including Bitzy, miss the company of another dog. The question is, are we ready?

Izzy’s family in Michigan City, MI

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Dear Izzy’s family,

I so sympathize with your loss of Izzy, whether over the Rainbow Bridge or in one of the rooms of your home. Last year we lost Brisby, our Senior-level Administrative Canine. As he was a Very Good Boy, he too traveled the Rainbow Bridge, according to my Giants. After weeks of tears, they seemed to find tranquility sharing that beautiful rainbow image. Although to us Canines, such a bridge would be perceived in various shades of grey.

A lovely metaphor, though. I hope it’s true. Brisby would have liked that. He enjoyed his walks and I’ll bet a rainbow smells great!

So, how long before a new Canine should be inducted into your pack? For us, a year passed. Then came Cheadle.

Ask a Terrier: Budleigh! (-udleigh-udleigh…) In! (-iin-iin…) Space! (-ace-ace…)


Dear Budleigh,

In these disturbing times of political turmoil, pandemic risk, and economic uncertainty, what a warming comfort it is to know that billionaires can joyride in space. Imagine my delight at the historic space flights of Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson…excuse me. Sir Richard Branson. Of course, I didn’t actually witness these events since I was stuck in traffic in my nine-year-old Prius, slowly inching my way to my crap, low-wage job.

In case you can’t tell, Budleigh, I’m being sarcastic. I think it’s unfair that outer space is just for the wealthy. Do you agree?

Please share your down-to-Earth wisdom with us. (See what I did there? With that pun, there? I just made that up!)

Be well! A real smart-ass in Seattle

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Dear Smart-ass,

You might not enjoy hearing this, but I cannot rail against billionaires as I am one.

Apparently, this advice column business pays rather well, I’m told by my unpaid intern Per Se who handles all my finances. I find “Money” quite confusing, so at Per Se’s urging, I assigned to him control of my assets, investments, and savings. He says he’ll only alert me if funds run so low that I can’t afford new tug-tug toys. Per Se insists that I’ve a million billion “moneys”, which is like 10 in dog years, so I’ve no worries.

I mention this because despite my enormous wealth I was denied a berth on the historic flights of both Jeff and Sir.

Ask a Terrier: The Truth Ain’t Out There!

Howdy, Budleigh!

So, like, UFOs? Does this new Pentagon declassified report on unidentified flying objects reveal any threats to Dillie, my Greyhound? I’ve watched “Alien” like a dozen times, so you can be straight with me. Is Dillie in danger?

Oh, and Humanity?

Eyes on the Skies in Michigan. And Dillie!

Monday, June 28, 2021

Dear Eyes and Dillie,

I was eager to scrutinize this long-anticipated, highly technical report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. My initial impressions were that it was written on paper that shredded easily but was very chewy.

For a deeper dive, I had my unpaid intern Per Se actually read the nine-page report, which he did with a speed and professionalism borne of having thumbs. In his PowerPoint, Per Se outlined the report’s conclusions: the U.S. government doesn’t know what these UFOs are or if they’re extraterrestrial.

Also, why the report is so chewy.

Ask a Terrier: Paper Training

Dear Budleigh,

Are you kidding me? What is it with you dogs and paper? I leave my Labrador Retrievers Vex (nose above) and River (nose below) for an hour and come home to a Superbowl celebration. Yet I know that their favorite team isn’t even in contention.

I think that we’d all agree that Labrador Retrievers are the most intelligent Canines, are incapable of doing wrong, and deeply respect the personal space of others provided those spaces are tennis ball free. But to Vex and River, paper products like napkins, tissues, toilet paper – especially toilet paper! – are catnip. Or the doggie equivalent of a controlled substance.

How can I regulate my pups’ cravings for paper short of going 100-percent digital, which ain’t gonna help in the bathroom.

Please call. Don’t write a letter! Alex and Jess, Chicago

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Dear Alex and Jess,

Let’s first address that elephant in the room, which in this case is a Labrador Retriever. I’ve known many Labradors, frolicked with them, even sat with some on the boards of large nonprofit corporations. Some are good dogs, some Very Good Dogs. But intelligent? On a scale of one to ten, with me at the top, I’d give them a “Meh!” plus.

Ask a Terrier: Don’t Hold the Phone!

Dear Budleigh,

Zoe, our new poodle, has a problem. Or maybe I have a problem. Or Society. The thing is, Zoe keeps stealing my cell phone and snuggling with it on her bed. She’s not making calls. I checked the phone bill. Also, as you can see in the photo, when she takes my phone she surrounds her bed with her dried dog food bits. What’s that all about? She doesn’t act threatened or fearful. If anything, she seems a bit surprised that I want the phone back.

Guidance would be appreciated, Budleigh. And preferably soon. I’ve a super important Zoom meeting today at 4pm. I really need that phone!

Thanks, but don’t bother texting. Caryn, Michigan

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Dear Caryn,

Zoe is just playing a game with you. A dark and dangerous game. But before we explore that, and possibly recommend martial arts training, let’s better understand this behavior that Giants call “stealing” and Canines define as “adding to my permanent on-loan collection.”

Ask a Terrier: Wake Up and Smell the COVID!

Dear Budleigh,

Am I to understand that dogs are being trained to sniff out COVID-19? Has anyone explained this to the dogs? While there is no evidence that dogs can catch and spread the virus, this begs the question: Is there evidence that dogs can catch and spread the virus?

How far along is this research? Who’s conducting it? Are the brave trainees being rewarded with more than a click and a treat? Maybe a steak sandwich?

Please post your thoughts soon. Better yet, call me, since I try not to touch the computer keyboard. Or anything else.

Be well,

Jason in the Basement Behind the Furnace Under a Plastic Tarp

Monday, June 1, 2020

Dear J. Bbfupt,

You’re referring, I’m sure, to the recent pilot study at the University of Helsinki in which Finnish scientists are deploying a randomized, double-blind study to determine if canines can scent a specific olfactory signature of the novel coronavirus in the effluvium of test subjects’ secretions.

Like many of my readers, I was unclear on a couple of these concepts, such as Helsinki, Finnish, deploy, randomized, double-blind, scent, olfactory, novel, effluvium, test subjects, secretions, and Bbfupt.

Ask a Terrier: Unmasking the Mask

Dear Budleigh,

I know all about coronavirus, but do we really need to be wearing face masks everywhere? I walk around the grocery store and feel like an extra in a Tarantino bank heist movie. A lot of these health guidelines seem confusing and arbitrary. Who should we believe?

The answer, of course, is Budleigh. Mask or unmask? What’s your opinion?

Safe in Seattle

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Dear SS,

I never wear a mask for reasons of both style and snout. Style, because I’m averse to anything that blocks my black-and-white, charmingly uneven, Giant-delighting beard. It’s what got me adopted. And keeps me in bacon bits.

Snout, because…well, sufficient lengths of fabric have yet to be found. Possibly my Giants’ bed linens could serve, but years ago we negotiated an agreement. They would maintain limited control of the bed; I would be adopted and kept in bacon bits.

Ask a Terrier: Zooming Isn’t Like Running

Hey, Budleigh!

Is this social distancing as hard on dogs as on us Giants? When I take Edde, my big goof, on a stroll, I keep six feet from other dog walkers. They keep six feet from me. Edde cuts that in half by lunging. So does the opposing dog. So what’s that now, like seven, eight inches apart? It’s exhausting. And a lot of math!

How are you staying in contact with your fellow Canines? Do you find Zoom useful, or is lack of thumbs a hindrance? Large keypads are available.

Hope to see you in the chat room.

Wash your paws!

Dennis and Edde, both big goofs

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Dear Big Goofs,

This pandemic reminds us that Canines and Giants have much in common besides Netflix. We are gregarious, social animals that need to interact with our own kind. Both species are vulnerable to despair without familiar contact, without friendly communication, without ravioli stuffed with ricotta.

For Giants, Zoom is arguably the greatest communications advancement since yelling. Zoom is an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems, as I understand it.

OK, I don’t understand it. It’s written on this card my unpaid intern Per Se just handed me. Well, read to me. I don’t understand writing either.

Ask a Terrier: Sheltering Outside the Shelter

Dear Budleigh,

In these pandemic times, I’m confident that your focus is on safety and community because you’re medically trained and don’t need toilet paper. We Giants are trying to do the same, but it ain’t easy! Worry runs high. Fortunately, many of us have you guys to cuddle. I hope that this isn’t straining the Giant/Canine relationship. If so, look, there’s gonna be an extra cookie in it for all of you, I guarantee!

Be well and wash your paws!

Charles, Ft. Worth TX

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Dear Charles,

I’m still trying to wrap my teeth around this pandemic. However, I wasn’t schooled in the Sciences. Or anything, really, if we’re to believe my report card from Intermediate Obedience Class. (Comments: “Budleigh doesn’t Heel up to potential.”)

To better understand the COVID 19 Coronavirus, I turned to my science advisor Jellybean, an Appenzeller Sennenhund—a breed that also sounds like a virus.

Ask a Terrier: How the Dogs Are Voting

Dear Budleigh,

Assuming that you’re not a registered voter, have you any advice for us Giants on the U.S. elections? We seem to be making quite a hash of it.

You dogs seem to agree on a pack leader without being overwhelmed by confused caucuses, authoritarian threats, and malicious foreign intervention. (Unless, you know, Russian Wolfhounds?)

What are Canines doing right that Giants are doing wrong? If you’ve a solution, you can have that hash I mentioned!

Help me, Obi-Wan KenoBudleigh! You’re my only hope!

JP, New Hampshire

Friday, February 28, 2020

Dear JP,

By a happy coincidence, elections for Alpha are coming up soon in our dog park. Much like Giant elections, campaigning has been spirited, robust, and in a few tragic cases, feral. That last usually among candidates who were off leash.

Ask a Terrier: Budleigh Addresses a Royal Pain

Dear Budleigh,

I was gobsmacked – isn’t that what the British say, gobsmacked? – when Prince Harry and wife Meghan announced they were stepping down from their royal duties. I thought that only happened when angry peasants carrying torches stormed your castle. Harry’s way was so more civilized. And hardly anyone was hanged!

But I’m concerned. Not for me but for my own personal royal family, which is Queenie, our King Charles Spaniel. As her breed implies, Queenie views herself as integral to the British Monarchy, and as such is 1,487th in line to the throne of England. Will Harry’s decision move Queenie closer to ascending to head of state? If so, will that interfere with her butterfly-chasing responsibilities. Also, does the high office come with a lap? She’s demanding this be sorted out quickly!

By the way, Budleigh, you have a certain aristocratic profile. Is it possible you’re descended from royalty?

To the Queen!

Andrea, Personal Advisor and Dresser to the Queen, Queenie

Monday, January 27, 2020

Dear Andrea and QQ,

During my early days in the shelter, canine lifers who mocked my Hapsburg jaw were quickly introduced to its weaponized teeth. Admittedly, I’m sensitive about my profile. Learning to be comfortable in my own fur took the patience of two devoted Giants, my secured ownership of their home, and access to cornbread. A lot of cornbread.

Ask a Terrier: Mark of the Hallmark

Hello, Budleigh!

Big fan of Hallmark Christmas Movies here. I’m excited that 40 new titles are slated over the holiday season, which according to Hallmark began in July. While Hallmark’s programming is enjoyable, several issues distract me:

1. July?
2. In their movies that feature a dog, it’s always a terrier.
3. Is that a union thing, terriers?

You seem to have your paw on the pulse of the entertainment industry, Budleigh. Any insights into why terriers rather than other breeds? Um…I’m asking for a friend. Who’s curled in my lap, sighing sadly.

Happy holidays!

Jennie C., her friend, and all the Whos down in Whoville

Monday, November 18, 2019

Dear Jennie and friend,

What a wonderful tradition is Hallmark holiday movie season! My Giants and their Giant Relatives gather ‘round the television, laugh and cry, share memories, and, with any luck, spill food on the floor. Truly, a Season of Grabbing.

Ask a Terrier: It’s In the Bag!

Dear Budleigh,

What’s the best bag for a dog? My sweetie Brussels Griffon, Tinker, commutes everywhere with me in her suede faux-fur lined carrier. But she’s an uncompromising fashionista! And a style trendsetter, judging by the head-turning envy her presence evokes.

The problem is that the fringe on her carrier – I call it her runway – is looking a bit ratty. And worse, passé! She deserves better. Well, the best!

I’m desperate for your voguish advice on her replacement carrier. A tote that will part crowds when they see her coming. Something savvy and sassy and cleanly fashion forward. Otherwise we might as well just outfit her in a velour tracksuit and platform pumps and call it 2002.


J. J. and Tinker, #MadShoppingInNY

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Dear J. J. and Tinker,

Happy to assist. Fashion is my life! Just after killing chipmunks. Oh, and tug-tug.

Full disclosure, though: With the exception of my collar, I’ve never worn any fashions. Yes, there was a brief afternoon when my Giants and I “discussed” a no-pull dog harness. That didn’t end well. For anyone.

Ask a Terrier: Semper Canis!

Hey Budleigh!

How cool is it that a new line of postage stamps will honor the military’s working canines? Have you seen them? They feature four breeds often used as military working dogs: German shepherd, Dutch shepherd, Labrador retriever, and Belgian Malinois.

(Courtesy U.S. Postal Service/Released)
(Courtesy U.S. Postal Service/Released)
Sadly, no Chihuahua mix like my Loki. Has the military considered training and deploying Chihuahua mixes? Loki would be ideal for covert missions where concealment and stealth are imperative. Unless it’s against field mice near a bird feeder. Loki gets very emotional.

And what about terriers? Are you jealous?

Stay frosty!

Kevin B. and West Point Cadet hopeful Loki

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Dear Kevin and Loki,

Jealous? More like envious. Proud, brave, and uncomplaining despite having to wear harnesses, our fearless military warriors are trained in narcotics and explosives detection, search and rescue, security, and tracking.

I can steal socks from the laundry basket, but there seems little call for that skill set.

Ask a Terrier: Talkin’ TED

A question for you, Budleigh.

Have you considered giving a TED Talk? You’ve such an essential grasp of the issues and themes that trouble us all. Well, mostly dogs. But I’ve also picked up many useful tips from you. And frankly, you’ve more valuable advice to share than most TED talkers who drone on about saving the environment, or technology that solves world hunger, or extending life through emotional fulfilment. Yawn! We all just want to know the best tug-tug toys.

Well, mostly dogs.

As a loyal reader, I urge you to expand your forum to the TED stage. The world would benefit. Plus, you’d look so adorable wearing one of those headset microphones!

Hoping to Manage Your Career,

Greg P., Buffalo, NY

Monday, July 8, 2019

Dear Greg,

I’ve thought to give a TED talk. Especially in advance of the release of my self-help book, “How to Be Less Whatever It Is You Are and More Me.” But while I lecture extensively, and often to groups that are feral, TED might not be my ideal forum.

Ask a Terrier: Just How Infra is Our Structure?

Hey, Budleigh!

So, when the village rebuilt the sidewalk in front of the house, they had to take down my silver maple tree. Or more precisely, Kippy’s silver maple tree, as he has been – how shall I phrase this – nurturing it 2 – 3 times a day for eight years. He’s handled it pretty well, although it’s shaken his faith in government. Now they’ve upended Kippy’s favorite street sign at the end of the block which he’s also nurtured all these years. His world is coming apart. He’s outwardly stoic, but instead of gazing at me with the face of an adoring pup, now he glares with the cold, dead eyes of a mob hit man who’s been double crossed.

Is that normal?

Sleeping with One Eye Open,

Dale, Oak Park, Illinois

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Dear Dale and Kippy,

Kippy’s right. Government has failed. So screams my Yelly Giant who throws a lot of stuff at Anderson Cooper.

Ask a Terrier: Not a Black Hole Lot of Excitement for Dogs

Dear Budleigh,

I’m filled with awe and wonder that scientists have captured the first images ever of a supermassive black hole. Some describe it as the Eye of Sauron, others as a glowing one-way portal to eternity. Looks like my right eye in junior high after I took a line drive to the face.

Still, awe and wonder!

As the darkest entities in the universe, black holes are impossible to see, say astronomers. I totally understand their mathematical reasoning: An intense gravitational field that…something, something. Einstein’s theory…something, something…time and space. Really, really big…something, something…Star Trek.

Despite my excitement, Anka, my Shar Pei, shows no interest in black holes. I’m sure that she understands as I’ve explained their importance. (“Anka! Outer space…something, something…cookies!”) But she just rests her head on my knees and seems bored. Well, not about the cookies.

How can I ignite her scientific curiosity since I’m running low on dog treats?

Sincerely, Miriam and Anka, science geek and disinterested dog, Atlanta, GA

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Dear Miriam and Anka,

Which ones are Shar Peis? With the wrinkly faces, right? Maybe Anka’s excited but you can’t tell.

Ask a Terrier: What’s Bugging Budleigh?

Dear Budleigh,

In a recent column you mentioned eating spiders, which got me thinking, “Ewwww!”

It also got me thinking about recent video of a spider the size of a dinner plate—a dinner plate!—observed in the Amazon rainforest of Peru. It blatantly killed and ate an opossum as though perfectly aware of YouTube.

Now I’m worried that legions of dinner plate-sized spiders are rapidly reproducing, then headed our way. And frankly, there ain’t a Wall big enough!

As you’re comfortable with a certain level of spiders, any advice on where I should hide?

Warmest regards,

Cowering Behind the Furnace, Burlington, VT

Friday, July 5, 2019

Dear Coward,

In typical Giant fashion you’ve reacted to overblown reports of “spiders the size of dinner plates” before asking, “Who’s dinner?”

Ask a Terrier: Budleigh Goes All Scatolog-ICK-al!

Hey Budleigh!

Scientists in New Zealand have found a working USB memory stick filled with someone’s vacation photos and videos frozen in a slab of leopard seal poop deposited on a beach.

I don’t know what to do with this story, but I can’t unread it.

Can you help sort it out?

Thanks! Closing My Eyes Just Makes It Worse, Boston, MA

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Dear Closing,

While I sympathize with your trauma, as a dog I just can’t relate. Giants are so reticent to discuss poop. Until they get old. Then that’s all they talk about.

Ask a Terrier: Your Dog or Your Boyfriend. Is That Really a Question?

Dear Budleigh,

I came across your column while looking for advice about keeping New Year’s resolutions. So, are you a dog or what? If you are, maybe you can help me with my Resolution No. 4: Train Shanda, my Samoyed, to like my boyfriend. Or maybe just not snap at him so much. He’s a wonderful guy, but he’s never had a dog, so he does things that upset Shanda. Like sitting in her chair. Or at the kitchen table. Or anywhere, really. Also, Shanda barks too much when he’s around. But I think he startles her. He’s very tall.

Any suggestions how to bring these two together? I’d have them hug it out, but Daniel – that’s the boyfriend – doesn’t trust Shanda’s teeth so close to his throat. But she’s such a sweetie!

Best regards, Soon to be Single? Cleveland, Ohio

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Dear Single,

Yes, I’m a dog. And while it’s reasonable to ask my credentials, perhaps you’re just avoiding the real question: What’s a Samoyed?

Ask A Terrier: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Dear Budleigh,

I read about a new study indicating that dogs may have an inner clock which would explain how Cinnamon, our Cocker Spaniel, always knows exactly when it’s time for meals. However, here in Illinois we just switched from daylight savings time (“Spring forward. Fall back!”), and my little sweetie is annoyed that her food is being served late.

Is there a way to reset a dog’s inner clock? Like a switch or button or something? I’ve scratched that adorable little patch of white on Cinnamon’s muzzle. She loves that, but is still running an hour ahead. An hour behind? Now I’m confused!

How can I adjust Cinnamon from daylight savings time?

Hoping for timely intervention, Claire S., Oak Park, IL

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Dear Claire S.,

First, the correct term is daylight saving time. A Giant shouldn’t need a Terrier to tell her that.

Ask a Terrier: Dogs Are A Bargain! Except For The Money

Dear Budleigh,

I’m having a disagreement with my Cockapoo, Mighty, and I’m hoping you can straighten one of us out. Maybe both.

According to a recent Cost of Dog Ownership Survey conducted by the website Rover, people drastically underestimate the costs of owning a dog. Most believe a dog costs between $26 and $75 per month. When I stopped crying bitter tears, I read that dog owners spend an average $153 per month.

Mighty, who is 14 years old, considers that reasonable. I say he owes me $137,624. But I’ll settle for $125K. Mighty insists that he’s paid his way in licks and kisses and scaring away squirrels and invisible monsters. He raises a good point. Am I wrong to keep things on a strictly cash basis?

Hope you can settle this while I’m out taking Mighty for his walk.

Best, Sam and Mighty the Cockapoo, Illinois

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Dear Sam & Mighty,

To be honest, Giant money confuses me. What is it, one dollar equals seven dog years or something like that? I have a Giant Intern to deal with all that.

Ask a Terrier: Destroy All Monsters!

Dear Budleigh,

Poolie eats cicadas. A lot of cicadas! Like more cicadas than any dog in the world. I’ve tried to stop her but she’s fast. And a lot closer to the ground than me. Are cicadas bad for her? I can’t stand them, they’re so ugly and loud. Not that I’m profiling. I just worry that they’ll make her sick. What’s the appeal and what should I do?

Yuck! Jacob, Northfield, IL

Monday, July 30, 2018

Dear Jacob,

There’s a lot to unpack here, Jacob. First, your claim that Poolie eats more cicadas than any other dog.

You may be a Giant, sir, but how dare you! I’ve eaten nearly all the cicadas, so your bragging is like a gauntlet across my muzzle. Were you here and not Northfield, whatever that is, you’d leave me little recourse but to ask you and Poolie to step outside. Which is where I keep my cicadas.

Ask a Terrier: Budleigh Reminds Vacationers, “Hey, Ya’ Got this Dog Here!”

Dear Budleigh,

I’m really looking forward to a summer getaway, but am worried about Hanover, our mixed breed “guilt hound,” who can’t come with us. She was a shelter dog, so I worry about boarding her in case she suffers flashbacks. But what if I hire a pet sitter who, it turns out, is a Satanist looking for a sacrifice? Whatever I do, Hanover’s going to give me “the look” – Where do dogs learn that? – which says that somehow I’ve let her down? Again! Maybe instead of traveling we should just stick with another stay-cation, and movie marathon-cation, and tub-of- Ben-&-Jerry’s…cation. Any advice would be appreciated?

Hoping to get the Hell out of Dodge, Janelle, Chicago

Monday, June 25, 2018

Dear Janelle,

Separation from their dogs can be a very emotional issue for Giants. The best approach is first to ask yourself, “Just how many Satanists live in the neighborhood?”

For me, I suspect two, those Giants who own the black dog with the pointy ears who pees – and I’ve witnessed this! – on my hydrangea shrubs. Tell me that isn’t the act of Lucifer’s hellhound.

Ask a Terrier: Cloning Has Budleigh Seeing Double

Dear Budleigh,

So Barbra Streisand cloned her dog? Seriously? They can do that? Does it cost a lot? How much lightning is involved? Is the clone exactly like the original dog or more of a sequel, like Funny Lady vs. Funny Girl? Could you explain the scientific process, the ethical and moral implications, and whether Barbra will come do the procedure? ‘Cause I’m big fan! So’s Chip, who’s a hound mix and very musical.

Thanks, Budleigh!

T.W. and Chip

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Dear T.W. & Chip,

It will come as no surprise to longtime readers that I have a very strong opinion on this issue, which is “What’s cloning?”

Usually when faced with a controversial topic I’m not familiar with, my Giants research it by watching MSNBC then yelling at each other until I find clarity. Since they were busy binge watching The Crown, I explored the issue using SIRI. He’s this Airedale I know from the dog park.

Ask a Terrier: Budleigh Takes a Walk on the Wild Side

Hi Budleigh!

How worried should I be about my dog versus wild animals? Our big backyard is right next to a forest preserve. Sometimes Nanook , our tough guy, zooms out the back door and charges all the way to the rear fence, barking wildly. The trees are pretty thick, so I can’t tell what’s there. But I’ve seen enough horror movies to suspect it’s something terrible. Nanook returns when called, but he’s not happy about it. I want him to be careful, but I don’t want him doubting his manhood. Doghood. You know what I mean.

Thanks for your advice. Larry, Sheboygan, WI

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Dear Larry,

OK, let’s all stop ignoring the touchy issue of wild animals and squarely address what I call the “coyote in the dog park.”

That is to say, Oh m’God, there is a Coyote in the Dog Park!

Recently I was walking my Giant through the neighborhood and was examining a particularly interesting pile of leaves when he shrieked like a chew toy, then yanked uncomfortably on our lifeline.

And just a quick word to Giants about the lifeline: Don’t call it a “leash”. That’s offensive. It’s like calling your dog a “mutt” instead of a “genetically diverse fur-enhanced co-worker.”

Sorry, but it had to be said.

Ask a Terrier: Dogs and Children – When Species Collide

Dear Budleigh,

Do you get along with kids? My toddler is infatuated with dogs. She won’t go anywhere without her toy “Fooby”. But somehow she’s detached both of Fooby’s ears and split a seam where he once had a tail. Could that behavior be a problem someday? How can I prepare her for a world full of canines?

With thread in hand, Jan W.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dear Jan W.,

Just so we’re all on the same page, Fooby’s a stuffed dog, right? And he’s always been stuffed?

If so, it’s not too late for your toddler to be rehabilitated.

Although unavoidable, mixing dogs and little Giants can be tricky. As Fooby learned to his sorrow, little Giants view dogs as a collection of removable parts in a Fisher-Price “My First Mammal” play set.

Ask a Terrier: Budleigh Analyzes Therapy

Dear Budleigh,

I think that I’d make a good therapy dog. Is it hard to become one? I have my own harness. It has a pocket. Are there any further requirements? FYI, my fur is soft.

Respectfully yours, Baldur (as dictated to my Giant Mitch)

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Dear Baldur,

My Yelly Giant often remarks that, “The best therapy dog comes in little, blue pills!” Then, he laughs. A lot! Sometimes cries.

He means, I assume, that to pursue this higher calling, canines must understand the difference between being a therapy dog, trained to provide comfort and affection, and a service dog, permitted to carry a concealed firearm.

Ask a Terrier: Hero or Hungry?

Dear Budleigh,

Did you see this video on social media where a Golden Retriever called Storm drags a drowning baby deer from the ocean? Then Storm nuzzles and paws it, and probably would have attached a defibrillator if he was vocally able to shout, “Clear!” Dogs are awesome! Do you think I can train Millie, my Rat Terrier, to be that cool or has that ship sailed?

Love your column! Michael M., Madison, WI

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Dear Michael M.,

I’ve heard about Storm’s dramatic rescue, but not seen it because I can’t access social media due to paws.

However, my Giants seemed quite taken with the story, watching it repeated on the news shows, praising Storm with teary eyes, then sighing at me.

OK, Giants, message received!

The Latest Dirt on Dog Germs

Dear Budleigh,

Should I be worried about germs tracked in by my dirty dog? A recent story in the New York Times cites research that dogs bring an array of micro-organisms into our overly-scrubbed homes that may actually be salutary to helping us stave off a number of illnesses by strengthening our autoimmune system. If true, our Newfoundland, Greta, will be much relieved! She worries so.

Thanks for your thoughts. Ingrid G.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Dear Ingrid G.

“Salutary”? Don’t know that word, but if it means “with sauce”, then I agree!

My Giants are avid readers of the New York Times, and, of course, as a puppy I often peed on it. So I’m well familiar with the high quality and absorbency of that paper’s content. And their story spotlights a major controversy: Should a travel ban be placed on micro-organisms seeking to enter our homes?

Budleigh Offers Food for Thought

Dear Budleigh,

So what is the best dog food? I feed Roscoe, my beagle, a nutritious mixture of dry and canned food that the vet recommended. Roscoe seems satisfied since he eats it all in four seconds. And he’s healthy. But I wonder if he’s really enjoying his meals? I’d really appreciate an average dog’s perspective. No offense.


Jacob, of Roscoe&Jacob

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dear Jacob,

On advice of counsel, I’ve been told not to recommend specific brands of dog food until such time as they pay my Giant.

However, since I’m a terrier rules don’t apply to me. So I’m not afraid to name names. The best tasting, most nutritious and economical dry food for Roscoe comes in that big bag with a picture of a dog on it.

It’s also available in a smaller bag that features a picture of a dog. Only a smaller dog.

There! Now I’ve done it. Let the law suits begin!

Washing Machines of Mass Destruction

Oh great Dr. Budleigh,

My sweet golden retriever heard the sounds of an unbalanced washing machine (loud banging) and the fearless Lily is shaking and quaking at the thought of entering that hallway. I’ve tried a trail of treats, a heap of food and nothing has cured her. She eats her meals close to said washing machine, now dubbed the Great and Powerful Oz, so any thoughts on a cure?

Eternally grateful to ya! Lisa H.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Dear Lisa,

To be clear, I’m not a doctor, although I do have a license. Also a microchip in my neck.

However, I often counsel fearful dogs – usually while cowering under the bed with them – to help them face their issues, confront their anxieties, and, ideally, share those trails of treats you mentioned.

The Veterinarian is In! Budleigh Offers Advice on Not Swallowing Pills

Dear Budleigh,

Daisy, my labradoodle, has a skin rash and she has to take pills. She really hates that and tries to spit them out. Also, she tries to hide under things that are way too small for her, like an antique end table.

I don’t want her to be so anxious. Could you, maybe, talk to her?

Thank you! Carla H., Seattle, Washington

Monday, April 3, 2017

Dear Carla,

Labradoodle? Really? That’s a thing now? OK, no judgments.

Much of the blame for Daisy’s – and all dogs’ – reluctance to swallow pills can be laid at the feet of Giant Veterinarians who routinely treat illnesses with medicines rather than exploring alternative cures, like bacon. I may have had no formal education beyond Basic Obedience and Leash Etiquette, (instructor’s critique: “Budleigh doesn’t heel up to potential.”) but if bacon is “cured” and an illness needs a “cure”, well, you do the math, since I can’t.

So, we’re stuck with pills.

Ask a Terrier: The Giant as Emoticon

Dear Budleigh:

I’m really asking this question on behalf of my Giants. It must be really important, because they ask me ALL THE TIME!!!!

“Who’s a good dog?”

Best, Leia

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Dear Leia,

Careful here, dear! Because Giants are so adorable, it’s easy to forget that they’re only capable of the most basic feelings and emotions like joy, fear, and overdrawn.

Giants that excitedly ask, “Who’s a good dog”, especially while repeatedly slapping their thighs and comically widening their eyes, are revealing more about themselves that about you. “Who’s a good dog” is simply a reliable indicator of your Giant’s good health, especially when their nose is moist and their coat glossy and lustrous.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Dear Budleigh,

I am a miniature poodle. I want to be friends with other dogs, but I lunge at them barking ferociously. How can I curb this behavior?

Thank you! Pebbles

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dear Pebbles,

I feel your pain. Or might, if you’re biting, too.

You’re being far too hard on yourself when, of course, Society is to blame. I’m not sure who “Society” is, but my yelly Giant blames Society a lot. I think Society is that Giant, Steve, down the street who doesn’t return power tools.

Pebbles, you ask how to curb this behavior. I ask you, “Why?” Lunging and barking ferociously is just one dog’s way of saying to another, “Can I give you my business card?”

Is it a terrier world? Is it?

Dear Budleigh, ( I don’t believe that is your real name!)

Explain to me why on Earth a terrier is better than a noble black lab who happens to have the name Louie, weighs 67 pounds, loves to watch baseball and Seinfeld, is a good bromance buddy, lives in Michigan, makes a wicked rice pilaf, does my taxes (all forms and schedules), avoids polarizing political discussions, and generally brings peace and joy to our household?

Go ahead, make my day and explain that to me, brillo boy!

Yours, Minnesota Twins Fan Theatre Guy

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dear Minnie,

Labs are nice, too.


Oh, Great…Another New Collar

Dear Mr. Budleigh,

For a Christmas stocking stuffer, I’m thinking of buying a new collar. Any advice?

Carrie, South Bend, Indiana

Friday, December 2, 2016

Dear Ms Bend-Indiana,

Is the collar for you or a dog? That’s not clear. If it’s for a dog, then yes, I can advise. If it’s for you, seek professional help immediately! But I’m guessing it’s for a dog, right?

Giants love to buy collars for their dogs, especially during the holidays. I heard that in the weekend following Thanksgimme Day, more than 154 million Giants went shopping. I don’t know if they all got me new collars or just chipped in for one really, really nice one. But I wish they’d asked me first. I don’t want a new collar. No dogs do.

Sorry I said “dog do”, but this issue is that important.

What is “dog” backwards, again?

Hi, Budleigh.

I recently attended a Blessing of the Animals at a nearby church with my basset, Grimace. My wife is Catholic, I was raised Jewish, my son says he’s an atheist, and my daughter just insists she’s for Bernie Sanders.

So what religion are dogs? Did we only confuse Grimace? He seemed to enjoy the service, except for a parrot that scared him. Appreciate your thoughts!

Best, Religiously Challenged

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Dear RC,

What religion are dogs? That’s a question I get a lot.

I’ve been told – and firmly believe – that “dog” backwards is “god”. I’ve also heard that “terrier” backwards is “god”. Oh, and “cheese” backwards? Also “god”.

I have faith that these are all true, because I can’t spell. Not even sure what “spell” is. But I do know this: parrots are nuts! And scary!

Don’t worry about Grimace. He seems spiritually grounded. I’m a bit concerned about your family, though.


Why? What are you?

Hi Budleigh. You’re so cute! What are you, and are other dogs and their giants jealous of your good looks?

Denise S., Deerfield, Illinois

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Thank you, Denise S Deerfield Illinois,

I’m probably a cross between a terrier and terrier, although not the same terrier. I’ll never know. I was a shelter dog, but I’m not bitter about that. And yes, everyone is jealous of me except the chipmunks in the Giants’ garden who know only fear.

And respect.


Winnin’ and waggin’!

Hiya Budleigh!

How about them Cubs? Do you think you’d like to be their new mascot?

Yay Cubs! Yay Budleigh! Donna

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Dear Donna,

My Giants would like that. They’ve been waiting to win a championship for 756 dog years. Me? I’m not sure. I’m good at chasing balls. Just not so much at giving them back. Is that gonna be a problem?