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What happens in Vegas – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
What happens in Vegas – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

My buddies and I planned a bachelor party for my friend Robert about a year ago. We decided to spend a weekend in Las Vegas. We pooled our money together and paid for everything in advance. Now his fianceé is saying she wants to come along. I tried to explain that this was a guys-only thing, that everything had already been arranged, and promised that we wouldn’t let him do anything to damage her trust. It wasn’t enough. She got angry at all of us, and threatened to break off the engagement if we went without her. I think Robert might be better off without her at this point. Am I overreacting?

Over in Andover

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Rover and over,

My advice is to you because ultimately Robert is the one that will have to make the decision. I can only offer what you might ask Robert to do, but please do not be upset with him if he doesn’t listen. Weddings are stressful things and many times the wedding gets in the way of the marriage.

Talk to Robert, in fact, you may even want to bring this letter with you. After he is done laughing at the fact that you wrote a dog for advice, read him my story.

Mom and dad agreed to take care of their friends’ dog, Atom, while they were away for a long time on vacation. Atom and I got along at his house (even though he did not like to swim), and we were OK together, but when he came over to my house he tormented my cats. I mean, he was vicious and just would not leave them alone. Mom kept hoping that he would get over it, but he never did. We finally had to take him back to his house and just visit him every day.

While mom really wanted him to get along with everyone, he had no desire. She had to make a tough decision because his inability to change was hurting the whole family. This was his choice and his alone to make.

Now, please understand that I am not comparing Robert’s fianceé to a Terrier, but people are not that different. He was a Terrier when we visited his house. He was a Terrier when he visited our house. He will be a Terrier long after the honeymoon is over.

So will Robert’s fianceé.

Atom fit in with his family at his home, and they got along fine there as long as there were no cats. If this works for Robert, then this is great. Atom did not fit in anywhere else, so we had to go places without him. He was still Atom when we got back, and he was still part of his family. No one loved him less, and he was OK at home with his squeaky toys.

If the fianceé lady wants to come to Vegas because she does not trust Robert, then that is a bad, bad thing. It will not ever change, and Robert must decide if he wants that forever. He may be OK with her being fine at home and nowhere else, but that may also mean that he does not get to go anywhere else with her.

If the fianceé lady wants to come because she’s never seen Vegas and is jealous, then she can plan her own trip with her own friends, and she will have more fun with them than you.

Overall, if you are a Terrier, you are not going to become a Retriever just because that is what others want. For some, a Terrier is indeed best. For others, a Retriever is better. Either way, you gotta stick with your Terrier or your Retriever, so you best decide before you make them part of your forever family.

Love,

Abby

Divorce Distress – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Divorce Distress – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

I’m 12 years old, and my mom and dad divorced a couple of years ago Mom met a man at church a few months ago, and they are starting to go out on dates. I like this man, and I want my mom to be happy, but there is a part of me that still wants my mom and dad back together. Is it normal to feel this way?

Confused in Columbus

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Cornfused,

I am only 10 years old, but I am told that my years make me older than your years, so I will tell you what I learned when my mom and dad divorced. When my mom and dad first split up, I was devastated. He was the only dad I ever knew, and I worried that I would never have another dad who loved me again. The thing is, I did not know any better because he really was the only dad I ever had! When mom found the dad I have now, I gave him a chance, and he was the best dad ever! If my first dad wanted to hang around, I would have had two dads — and that would have been super cool. But, things work differently with dogs and people, so we never saw my first dad again. I hope your first dad wants to be there for you forever.

I know that my mom would never have been happy with my first dad. If mom wasn’t happy, how could I be? If they were both miserable, how would I feel? Mom is super happy now, and so is my new dad. Give your new dad a chance. If he’s awesome, then your life will be, too. It doesn’t mean that your first dad doesn’t love you anymore. It just means that you get more love, and your mom (and most likely your dad) will be happier!

Lots of extra love,

Abby

Fair Share – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Fair Share – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

I volunteer for a local charity benefitting veterans and the elderly. Recently, a board member criticized me for not doing my fair share of work. Abby, I work a full time job, have a family, and have an active church life as well. I don’t have as much time to devote to this as this board member does, as he is retired. It made me angry enough to consider leaving, but I love doing this. Should I take my talent elsewhere?

Hurt in Houston

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Hurt,

Maybe I am thinking about this too simply (I mean, I am a dog, after all), but how much are you getting paid? Mom told me that “volunteer” means you don’t. So what is your fair share? Is it divided by how much you are paid? Then you are already giving 20 bazillion times more than anyone else!

My cat, Max, thinks that his fair share is anything that lands on the floor. We have had very serious discussions about this in the past. Well, I am the dog, and since I am at least 10 times bigger than him, I tend to get the most. I fetch the paper and do other chores around the house while all he does is meow. It’s only fair.

So, since your friend has 10 times more time than you do, he should do more than you do. It’s only fair.

When Max and I talk about it, he is very reasonable. Maybe you should talk to your friend and work out a schedule. Sometimes those of us who are bigger just like to have our say. Other times, we just want more treats.

Love,

Abby

Hiss and growl or forgive and forget – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Hiss and growl or forgive and forget – Dog Abby

Dog Abby:

Several years ago, I had a falling out with my brother when I pointed out that his wife was openly disrespecting him. They have since divorced, and he recently called me to ask forgiveness for taking sides with her even though deep down, he knew she was wrong. I’m still very hurt over the whole thing. Should I let bygones be bygones?

Sister in Santa Ana

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear UpSetter:

When Mom and Dad first got together, Dad had a cat named Junior Barnes. I had a cat named Stormy, and we were best friends, but Junior did not like me. Not. One. Bit. He would hiss and growl and run away, even if I was just sitting there. I tried to be friends, but he was not interested. Later, when Mom and Dad moved in together, Junior found out that he could go in and out of my doggie door. He really liked that door. He realized that we would be able to get along, and we became friends. He would even sleep on the bed with me sometimes. Our whole lives changed from there on — from losing Stormy, to gaining new kitties, to moving all the way to another state. Junior and I went through a lot together, and it would have been really hard if we were not friends through it all.

If Junior Barnes can forgive me for being a dog, then you can forgive your brother for being a bonehead. You don’t have to remember the whys and hows or even the whos and whats. What is important is that he wants to be your brother again.

Junior crossed over the rainbow bridge two years ago, and we all really miss him. I am glad that we were able to be friends. Never, ever, ever let a moment go by to make up with someone you love. You just don’t know how long you will have.

-Abby

Junior Barnes

Junior Barnes and me during our photoshoot for my book, Nose-to-Nose Networking

Unchain Yourself — Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Unchain Yourself — Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

I have just received a job offer for a position that I know would be perfect for me. However, it’s in another state that I only visited long enough for the job interview. I’m starting to have second thoughts, as I have never been more than 50 miles away from the town I grew up in.  This would mean basically starting my whole life over. Should I give this a try?

Chained in Chillicothe

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Ruh-roh in Ruttsville,

Your name says it all. Chained? Dogs hate being chained, and obviously you understand that sentiment. You long to run free. Why are you chaining yourself to a place or a job? You’re the one in charge. Run free! What is the worst that can happen? When I moved to Las Vegas with mom and dad and my kitties, I was worried that I would miss my lake and my ducks. Instead, I got my own pool! The only thing that would have been worse is if I tried to stay behind or someone chained me to my old life. Dogs don’t get the choice to be chained or not. You do. Go. Try it. If you don’t like it, try something else.

-Abby

Sloth vs. Golden – Dog Abby

Sloth vs. Golden – Dog Abby

Dog Abby:

I like to maintain an active outdoor lifestyle. I keep trying to bring my girlfriend along but she claims to dislike hiking, camping, and all the outdoorsy things I enjoy doing. I have decided that I would like to form a small group of friends to go hiking and camping with me on a regular basis. This is upsetting her, because she thinks that I am taking my attention away from her. Am I wrong for wanting to do this?

Perplexed in Poughkeepsie

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Couch Potato (not) in Ploughtown:

When mom went looking for me, she wanted a dog that liked to swim and hike and do outdoorsy things. She would not have brought me home if I did not like those things. When dad was looking for mom, he wanted someone who was intelligent and caring and made him laugh. Mom did not come home with a sloth and neither did dad. Why would you get a sloth if you are a dog person?

If your girlfriend is a nice lady, she will see that you are not compatible. She needs a sloth and you need a Golden Retriever. It is time to rehome each other.

With love,

Abby

Second chances – Dog Abby

Second chances – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

My ex-boyfriend is a sweet, intelligent man, except when he’s drinking. He went too far too many times, so I left him. He called me yesterday swearing that he was in Alcoholics Anonymous and was cleaning up his life. He wants me back. Should I give him another chance?

Torn in Toledo

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Doormat in Denial,

If you have to ask, the answer is no.

(I was going to leave it there, but I sensed that you may need more of an explanation.)

When my cousin doggy Jezzy visits, mom jokes about how by the end of the day, Jezzy is great on a leash, comes when she’s called, and even knows tricks like “shake” and “speak.” The moment her mom comes to pick her up, she forgets all of that and goes back to yanking on the leash, ignoring her name, and not doing any tricks (other than being really cute). I’ve seen this happen with other doggy friends, too. You see, when you are back with someone who is familiar, it is too easy to fall into the same patterns.

Yes, I believe in second chances for people who hurt me, but I do not believe that I have to be the one to give that chance to them.

Mom wrote a whole book about it that will help you a lot. It is called Get Over it and Get Started. I know it helped her to write it after she escaped my first dad. She says that if it weren’t for learning what she wrote about in the book, she never would have taken hold of her own life and she never would have met the *real* love of her life who never hits us and plays ball with me and gives me lots of treats.

Trust me, we were better alone even though we both still loved first daddy – and then we met Daddy Jim. I can’t even remember first daddy anymore, and Daddy Jim is the love of my life, too. He’s the best!

–Abby

Bad boss! Bad! – Dog Abby

Bad boss! Bad! – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

My boss chastised me in front of my teammates at our weekly meeting yesterday. I am embarrassed and hurt and need to somehow let him know before it further damages our professional relationship. How do you suggest I handle this?

Hurt in Hamilton

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Bad Dog Dude,

When my mom was first training me, she had the good grace to take me to an open field where we could be alone and honest with each other. We developed a mutual trust that made working together easy and even fun. To this day, mom will only tell me “no” and use what I call “mean mommy voice” when I have done something very, very bad that must be fixed right there and then to protect me and others.

But you must understand, I am a dog. You may treat dogs like people, but you do not treat people like dogs.

If your boss is a grown-up and can handle it, be honest with him. Take this letter to your boss and talk about it. Also, give him a copy of mom’s book, The Sniper’s Guide to Leadership, turned to page 178 with the following paragraph highlighted:

“Criticizing someone in front of their peers is ineffective. Even if you have a perfectly valid point, all they hear is that you desired to humiliate them. It does not motivate, never has, and never will. The closest thing you will ever see is that person straightening out just long enough to find another job. Usually what you’ll see is a team that avoids you and each other with each member just trying to not get singled out.”

If your boss is not a grown-up who can handle it, run away. I would rather herd sheep or chase pigeons than fetch tennis balls for a tyrant.

Toss the ball – Dog Abby

Toss the ball – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

I made a joke about my wife and she was hurt by it. It was just a joke! She has barely spoken to me since, and she’s being really immature about it. How do I help her get over it already? It was just a joke!

Funny on Fremont

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Meanie McMeanness

My dad thinks it’s hilarious to hold the ball and pretend like he’s throwing it. He laughs at me when I trust him and go running after it when he still has it in his hand. Here’s the thing, I am just humoring him because I know how slow he is. I pretend to be stupid so that he can feel better about himself. Eventually, he’ll stop and just toss the ball. If he did not, I would stop trusting him and I would not play with him anymore. Is this what you want your wife to do?

Dad is not trying to hurt my feelings, but if you hurt your wife’s feelings, it was not a joke, it was mean. She doesn’t need to get over it, you do. Say you are sorry and toss the ball already. She trusts you. Don’t ruin that.

-Abby

Reunion ruckus – Dog Abby

Reunion ruckus – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

My high school sweetheart “Mary” and I were forced to break up by my parents because we were of different races. I never really got over it. My 20-year high school reunion is just around the corner, and I heard through a mutual friend that Mary was planning to go and was asking about me. She is still single. My heart is racing at the prospect of seeing her again, but I also recently went through a bitter divorce and I’m not sure I’m even ready to deal with my feelings at all. Should I go to this reunion?

Nervous in Nashville

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Doormat in Denial,

There is a lot for me to chew on here.  I am a Golden Retriever, but my mom encourages me to be nice to everyone – even dogs that are mean to me. If she was mad at me for hanging around with different breeds, I would not let that stop me from being friendly and nice and making friends. I guess I am lucky. My best friend is a cat, and mom never said anything. If she did, I would have to wonder if something were wrong with HER. Max and I would still be friends. Just saying.

What did you tell your friend when you stopped seeing her because her coat was a different color? Did you swat her on the nose and tell her to “shoo!” or did you nicely tell her that you were only interested in others with the same pedigree? If you barked or growled at her, I can see why you may be nervous. But that was a long time ago, and most people cannot even remember if they gave you your “fetch-the-paper” treat, much less exactly what happened 145 years ago.

So, go.  What is the worst thing that could happen?

If I worried about the people I may or may not see or the things that may or may not happen every time mom said we were going for a carcar ride, I would never go anywhere! I would never meet new kids or get a pupachino at the drivethrough! Once, I even got a whole slice of ham. When an opportunity comes to go somewhere and meet people, always take it! Your friend remembers you, so you already have a place to start.