Ask a Terrier: Your Dog or Your Boyfriend. Is That Really a Question?
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
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? I thought it a brand of athletic footwear, per se. However, I’m informed by Per Se, my intern, that a Samoyed is indeed a dog, just not one of the cute ones. Of course, that’s both a matter of Giants’ personal taste and their per se.
Establishing a bond between Canine and Giant Boyfriend is fraught with challenges, especially if dog is aggressive and Boyfriend is made of some tasty meat. But there are effective techniques for building rapport, provided Boyfriend respects Shanda as an equal, not just another brand of athletic footwear.
Credit dogs as infallible judges of character. Is it possible that your heart is ignoring Boyfriend’s flaws that Shanda perceives? Boyfriend’s admission that he’d never had a dog was revealing. Did you rightly ask, “Are you from Hell? Do you cast a reflection? Was The Exorcist funny?” His answers, though painful, might have spared you heartache as well as a curse of boils.
But let’s say that Boyfriend is relatively human and, as you say, “a wonderful guy.” So what’s he done for Shanda lately? In fact, what’s he done for me? Much like a restaurant maître d’ and all elected officials, distrustful dogs like bribes. Something as simple as a small biscuit can win a dog’s friendship, until you run out. But does Boyfriend greet Shanda at the door with a pocketful of treats? Doubtful. Does he meet me with a pocketful of live field mice? Never! And you wonder that I don’t like the guy?
Date night offers another opportunity to foster Boyfriend’s loving relationship with Shanda and, to a lesser extent, you. Include pup in activities usually reserved for you and Boyfriend – moonlight walks, dining al fresco, solving jigsaw puzzles—the ones with the big pieces because, ya’ know, paws.
However, even if Daniel insists, avoid involving Shanda in quasi criminal actions, like pulling a bank job. Unlike Daniel, Canines are highly moral and law abiding, although many make excellent wheelmen.
So, Single, is it time to kick Daniel to the curb while Shanda showers clods of dirt over him? That’s your call. But if you believe he’s a keeper despite Shanda’s caution and my shrill, insistent warning howls, then make the effort to bring Canine and Giant Boyfriend together.
But be patient! Takes baby steps. Especially if you’re wearing that popular brand of athletic footwear.