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Defining moments – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Defining moments – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

When I was in high school, I got busted for shoplifting at the Piggly Wiggly. I know it wasn’t a big deal, but I still felt really guilty about it. I promised the manager I would never do it again, and he was nice enough to let the matter drop without filing charges or calling my parents. I have never done anything like that again.

I just graduated college, and just found a local position with great benefits. Unfortunately, it’s at the same grocery store company I shoplifted from years ago. I am not really sure what to do — is this something I should still feel guilty about? Should I apply for the job at all?

Angtsy in Andersonville

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Angtsy,

When I was a puppy, I used to chew on my mom’s slippers. Mom was mad, but she was also nice and taught me what things I should chew instead, so I never chewed shoes or slippers again. I have done other silly things throughout my life, but I have always been Abby. Mom never calls me Abby the Slipper Chewer, Abby the Carpet Wizzer, Abby the Toilet Drinker, or any such things. In mom’s book, Get Over it and Get Started, she says that the past may shape you, but it does not define you.

In other words, I have not been identified with silly things I did when I was younger and did not know any better. Most people call me Good Girl, Smart Dog, Great Fetcher, Sweetie, and other things that I am now. It’s the same with you, and those things you call yourself? That is your choice, too.

The nice man at the grocery store could have been very mad, but he saw that you wanted to make it right. You took that chance and became a better person. Mom read your letter, and she says she is willing to bet that if you were to run into that same store manager, he would laugh about it more than anything, and he would be proud of the person you have become. In other words, don’t let such a minor thing control your potential success. You are not a victim, you are the one in charge of who you are and who you will become. Good luck on getting the job; I know you will retrieve it!

Love,

Abby

Social anxiety – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Social anxiety – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

I have been a member of a local fraternal lodge for several years. I was approached last week about running for president of the lodge. I have never been the leader of anything before, as I suffer from social anxiety. But I’m flattered and know I would do a good job if elected. What do you recommend I do to attack my anxiety?

Nervous in Needles

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Nervous,

Social anxiety has become more and more common, and mom says it has a lot to do with the interweb. I don’t like spiders much, either, but I can’t see how they would make you feel more frightened to go out and meet people. Spiders don’t like people, so you’re safe there. Maybe you should just stay away from the interwebs and go out to meet more people so you aren’t afraid.

Mom and I wrote a book about networking, and we’re working on one about making friends. Mom says it helps to know that everyone is on your side and that most people share the same fears, so you’re all in it together. She says to focus on the inclusion and the sameness, which I understand. I hang out with my cats because they like me, and I have a way of finding people who like dogs, too. If I approach someone who does not like dogs, then I find out right away and I know to stay away from them. It has nothing to do with me, so it doesn’t bother me — even though I am sad that the person is missing out on being friends with me, but I’m only sad for a little while because there are plenty of others who are my friends!

It sounds to me like these people are definitely dog people; I mean they like you and trust you enough to ask you to be the president. That’s really neat! Since they believe you will do a good job, and you say you will do a good job, then you will be an amazing president. Just get out there and be friendly.

Don’t take what’s not offered – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Don’t take what’s not offered – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

Recently I was at a friend’s house, and we were enjoying a cup of coffee and chatting like normal. I don’t know where it came from, but all of a sudden she said something that I found insulting and insensitive. She swears that she did not mean it that way, but I can’t let it go. Should I break off our friendship? How do I get her to understand how hurt I am?

Dissed in Deschutes

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Dissed,

Mom always brags about what a good dog I am because she can leave a plate of food sitting out — even something really yummy like steak or cheese — and I will not touch it, even if she leaves the room. I know that I should not take something that is not mine, and I learned to respect mom’s plate. Mom is always very generous and I have never gone hungry even for a day. I trust her and respect her, so I do not take things from the table even if I can reach it easily, and even if it smells really good.

Mom says that offense is something that can be taken even if it is not given. If you take something that is not offered, then that is stealing, and stealing is not nice. Why would you take — and keep — offense if your friend did not offer it to you? If she says that she did not mean it that way, then why would you call her a liar? If I were your friend, I would feel more offended that you thought so little of me. I would not trust you because you are mean.

Your letter sounds like you want me to give you advice on how to tell your friend they were bad, when it is you who is taking something without being offered and then wanting to smack your friend on the nose with your feelings, even though she did not give them to you. Maybe you should practice being a better friend.

With love,

Abby

The gaze of dog – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
The gaze of dog – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

My daughter Megan turned 10 yesterday, and my husband Rob and I planned a party at her favorite pizza place. On the morning of her birthday, Rob got called in to work for an emergency project. This happens a lot at his job. He assured me he would be at the restaurant in time for the party, so we moved forward with it rather than postpone. 30 minutes before the party started, he called and told us that he would be working late to meet the deadline, and couldn’t make the party. He apologized profusely, but my daughter was devastated. She put on a brave face for her friends and tried her best to enjoy the party. Abby, I’m mad enough to spit nails. His work always seems to get in the way of these life events, and I am afraid he will eventually wind up alienating Meg. I’m not in a speaking mood right now, but when I am, how do you suggest I handle this?

Tired of it in Tacoma

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Tired,

As a dog, I want to give a very simple answer to this question, but mom found something really cool that I want to share as part of it. Some people believe that we dogs get super excited when you come home because we are just excitable or we were bored. The truth is that we get really excited when our people come home because we LOVE them. A recent study done at Azabu University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in Sagamihara, Japan proved that dogs get a spike of the same hormone — oxytocin — as humans when they are bonding. This oxytocin is sometimes called the “love hormone” because it is what increases when humans hug, kiss, and do other lovey-dovey things. It is also the hormone that surges when a mother gazes into her baby’s eyes — and now they proved that it happens when I gaze into my mom’s eyes. Cool, huh? They say that this bonding is fundamental to civilization and that no one would ever be able to build trust or care for others without it.

The thing is, you have to be present to win.

I am sorry to hear that Megan’s dad does not understand what is most important in this world. I understand how important work is and that humans sometimes believe that it is more important than anything else — but what are they working for? When I fetch the paper or tell mom the mailman is here, I do it because I like my job and I want to help the family. But, I would never put any of those things above just being with my mom, dad, and cats. If I could not find a way to do both, I would find another way to help the family so I could be there for them when they need me. Another thing that really helps is that my family tells me often how much they appreciate both what I do and when I am with them. Make sure you tell Rob this, too.

Maybe you can show him this letter to remind him. If there is one thing we dogs get right, it is prioritizing our time to be there for the ones we love.

Gazing in your eyes with true love,

Abby

Read the report here.

Las Vegas Strong – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Las Vegas Strong – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

Something really, really bad happened and I don’t know what to do. Mommy is sad, and my big sister is crying a lot. I kind of understand it a little, but it is just too bad for me to believe. We did not have school Monday or Tuesday. When we did go back, my teacher tried to talk to us about it, and a lot of my friends are sad, too.

At church, we did not have Sunday School because my Sunday School teacher was one of the people who got dead. All us kids had to go to the big people’s church. Our pastor prayed for all of the people who died and for the bad man who did it. We lit candles and lots of people cried and hugged each other.

Abby, I am scared a lot. I don’t want my teacher to be dead. I heard Daddy tell Mommy that this bad man had friends. Are they going to come back and hurt more people? How do we stop being sad all of the time?

Bobby in Las Vegas

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Bobby,

I live very close to where the bad things happened, and I heard the scary noises. Mom stayed up all night with me and she cried a lot, too. I don’t know much about the bad man, only that he will not come back. This is a lot for a human to understand, much less a dog.

I remember when mom first brought home Max and his sister, Maggie. They were tiny kittens who had lost their kitty mom, and they cried a lot. They were scared and — because they cried a lot — I got scared for them. Mom had to feed them both with droppers, and she also had to give them medicine and clean their noses and eyes because they were both really sick. Mom would not let me help, but I would stand by the door and listen. Whenever mom was taking care of Maggie, Max would yell and yell from the crate. He did not like it that Maggie was scared and he wanted to be with her. Later, when Max was more well and he could walk around on his own, mom let me take care of him. Max liked to cuddle up to me and sit quietly next to me. It made him feel better, even when mom was giving Maggie her medicine. Maggie finally got well, too, and then she would sit with us. Just being together made them get well faster. It made us all feel safe and not scared.

I think this is what you will have to do with your mom and dad and sister. I think this is why so many people want to talk about it and be with each other. I am really sorry about your Sunday School teacher. Make sure you talk about her a lot, and if you cry, that is OK.

Mom believes that even if this bad man had friends who helped him and got away, there are more good people than bad, so we should not be afraid all of the time. Instead, we should be together and learn more about how to care for each other so that we don’t have to be afraid.

Abby, Max, and Maggie

Abby with Max and Maggie

#VegasStrong

Un-friending with purpose – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Un-friending with purpose – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

It seems that no matter what I say or post on Facebook, I am always losing friends. Some people have even called me terrible names because I did not agree with them. I don’t call anyone names and I do not say mean things. The thing is, the names they call me have absolutely nothing to do with what we were talking about or who I am. I am afraid that I won’t have any friends left if this keeps up. Yet, I do not want to be silent when people are lying and making things worse. What should I do?

Lost in Translation

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Lost,

Your friends must be watching a lot of TV. Mom says she won’t even allow one in the house because of all of this foolishness.  I guess there are mean people saying mean things all over it, and on Facebook, too. I don’t post much on my Facebook page that does not involve tennis balls or swimming, but that’s just me. If someone were to call me names because I like tennis balls, then that would be just them. People are weird.

As for your friends, the real ones will remain and the rest were not your friends to begin with. I have talked about how easy it is to make friends even when you are very different and even when you disagree. I mean, my best friend is a cat! There are other cats out there that say ALL DOGS are cat-eating, smelly, evil creatures that should be shot on sight. These cats are closed minded and would never even try to be my friend. You know what? I don’t care. I would not want mean, name-calling, immature, hissy cats as friends, anyway. You shouldn’t either.

Right now, people are judging each other based on stupid, selfish, silly things like how they look or who they voted for. If these people want to be your friend, then they will have to grow up and stop being so hissy. Otherwise, you are better off without them. Both my kitties took a chance on me, and I took a chance on them. We are all better off for having gotten to know each other, even when we disagree. Max has taught me how to get extra treats, and I have taught him how to fetch the paper. See? We learn from those we listen to.

Love,

Abby

Wrong side of the pffft – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Wrong side of the pffft – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

I recently started dating a woman I met at church. I think I’m really falling for her, and I know she feels the same way. I recently met her parents, and it is very clear they don’t approve of me, because I came from the “wrong side of town.” I admit that I came from humble beginnings, but I have worked very hard to become a successful business owner, and I am on the cusp of “making it.” I’m afraid that they may try to influence her with their outdated way of thinking. What should I do?

Larry in Lancaster

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear Lost Larry,

When mom brought the new kitten, Phrytzie, home, she did not like any of us. That’s even how she got her name – going pffffrft at each of us. She did not like me because I’m a dog. But, she did not even like the other cats! I don’t know if she thought she was better than everyone else or she was just scared of new things. It did not matter. We did not kick her out or send her away. Instead, we treated her with the same respect and kindness that we treated each other with. You know what? She came around. Now we are all one big, happy family. There are many of us dogs and cats that come from all sides of town – wrong and otherwise. This has not changed who we are or how we are loved by our new families. The only way you can change hearts and minds is through kindness. Don’t be defensive if they are judging you. They are probably just pfffffting you because they don’t know any better. Be respectful and kind, and they will come around.

Twisted Sister – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Twisted Sister – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

I have been happily married for 5 years. I was at a Christmas party last year, and after having a bit too much egg nog, found myself hitting on my wife’s younger sister. (My wife never found out.) This sister recently messaged me, saying she wants to hook up. How do I tell her that I’m not interested without hurting her feelings or upsetting her? I am afraid she might tell my wife if she gets upset.

Scared in Scarborough

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear screwed in Scarborough,

If you did not hump her leg, you did nothing wrong. Tell the sister that, while you are flattered, you were drunk and mistook her for your wife. Make sure she knows that you are very sorry and that it was entirely your fault for drinking so much. Also, tell her that your wife already knows about your screw-up. (She DOES know, right?) This will save you from hurt feelings and blackmail. If there is another guy to connect her with, do it. That way, she will be focused on the new puppy and forget all about the old dog.

Love,

Abby

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