Dog Abby, advice from a Golden

Pedestal pushing

Dog Abby,

Why do we as people put others on pedestals then get all jealous because of what they have and we don’t?

Khristina in Kent

Dog Abby paw print


Dear Khristina,

We dogs tend to put ALL of our humans on pedestals, but that is just because they are so wonderful. There is nothing wrong with looking up to people, as long as they are worthy of being looked up to. If you are looking up to someone because you think they are wonderful, then you may aspire to be more like them, and this is a good thing. But, if you are looking up to them because they have something you want — and you just keep looking and never do any aspiring, then that is a bad thing.

I would like to say that jealousy is a strictly human characteristic, but I understand it all too well. Most of the jealousy I have experienced is brief — like when my cat Max is getting the tuna juice and I am not, or when another dog has a ball and I forgot mine at home. I usually forget about it right away and go on to other things. Maybe this is where humans and dogs are the most different.

I have learned that people are not good at living in the moment. Sometimes I will look in my mom’s eyes, and I know that she is thinking about her best friend, Lexy, whom we lost a long time ago. This makes her sad. Other times, I look in her eyes and can tell she is worrying about what might be coming. This can make her sad, too. I do not understand why she does this, though, when we could be having a happy moment. If she would just be there with me in the moment, everything would be fine.

Take it from an old dog who is recovering from a painful surgery and has to wear the cone of shame for the next few days: you will never forget the very bad things, and you will never recognize the very good things while you are experiencing them. If you could swap those two things, life would be a lot more fulfilling.

Maybe if you really thought about people that you put above yourself, you would realize a couple of things about yourself. One, they do not have anything that you cannot have. That is all up to you. Be happy that they are where they are and appreciate the moment that you are in. When you are ready, you can be more like the good things that those people are and have those same things, also. It will look different because nobody is exactly the same, and that is a good thing, too!

The second thing to realize is that to someone else, YOU are the one up on a pedestal. YOU are the one they are watching and want to be like, so you must the absolute best person you can be.

With love,


Golden Retriever in the cone of shame


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