The face I show others isn’t mine – Dog Abby

Dog Abby:

It has been a few years since my partner and I broke up. In anger, I told myself that I would not show anyone, especially him, how much it hurt. In the time since, I have put forth a persona of confidence, even exuding an air of indifference towards relationships. I have friends of both genders telling me how much they admire me and my independence, and some have said in confidence that they wish they could be as strong as I am. Abby, nothing could be further from the truth! I miss being in a relationship so bad, it is depressing. But I have gone so far for so long that I feel I have to continue this façade, this fake personality. I am not even sure how to break away from this anymore. What can I do?

Just Acting in Acton

Dog Abby paw print


Dear Acting,

As a dog, I can honestly say that I have never understood the concept of “acting.” Dogs only act like…dogs. When we are happy, we wag our tails. When we are afraid, we run away or hide. When we are sad, we cry out. We are just who we are, and yet people love us anyway.


Mom just told me that both Max and I DO act, and we do it often. Phrytzie usually joins in, too. Mom said that when she comes home and gives us all our come-home treats, we will eat them and then when Dad comes back into the room, we will all look at him as if we did not get our treats at all.

I will be honest. It is just a look, but it does sometimes get us all an extra treat! I did not know that this was “acting.” Now I understand. Acting is when you lie so that you can get something that you want and do not deserve.

When Max and Phrytzie and I pretend that we did not get our come-home treats — even though we did — and Mom tells Dad that we actually did get them, they just laugh and say “no” to giving us second treats. Max says that it is always certainly worth a try.

Trying to trick Mom and Dad into giving us more treats is dishonest, but not harmful. Trying to trick people all of the time into believing you are something that you are not is dishonest, and it is harming YOU all of the time. A lot.

You kind of answered your own question in your letter. Trying to keep a face that is not yours is difficult, and it is depressing you. You feel alone and you feel that you must keep making this face to others, even those who care about you.

What you need to do is to stop making faces. Just show everyone your real face. Max, Phrytzie, and I all still get lots of treats even with just our normal faces. We also are very loved and never lonely.

I hope that you can learn show your real face again so that someone who loves your face just the way it is will make you happy.

As Dad says, I love your face,


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