Ask Dog Lady: Love connection at the dog park?

Monica Collins

Dear Dog Lady,

Every morning, I walk my dog Smallfry (he’s a terrier mix) at a large public park area where there are lots of other people and their dogs.

As you might imagine, I recognize the dogs more than the people, but I have noticed this very nice-looking man with a Bassett hound. The sight of these two always puts me in a good mood. The man is tall and the dog is saggy. They make quite a couple. For me, there’s nothing sexier than a man with his dog.

I’m recently divorced and would love to make new friends. Should I introduce myself?

-- Treena

Dear Treena,

Introduce yourself to man via dog. A suggested opening line: “My, what a handsome hound. Do you mind if I give him a little treat?” Carry a freeze-dried liver chunk for just such a purpose. The dog, at least, will love you forever. The man may not be so enamored, but you can always hope he feels the warmth of a friendly first impression.

The best approach to people is through their dogs – especially in the morning when defenses are down. Dogs can be stalking horses into human relationships. They are an empathy barometer. Smallfry leads, and your heart follows.

Dear Dog Lady,

My wife and I recently got separated, and I have left our dog with my wife for the time being. My dog Roxy means the world to me. The separation was due to marital problems, but I feel like the one who suffers is the dog. Or am I making more of this than it is?

It hurts me not to be with Roxy. I had to get my wife to agree to equal custody of our dog until we could decide what we were going to do about our relationship. That may seem foolish, but I really care for my dog. I miss her more than my wife.

My wife has requested that I make arrangements to pick up Roxy for visits. Additionally, I have the adoption papers on our dog and all of her medical records. Every document is in my name, even her microchip.

I have legal right to my dog, but I know my wife loves and cares for her as much as I do. My wife and I don't seem like we are going to get back together, and I want the dog to be with me 24/7. Is that wrong? Am I being selfish?

-- Chris

Dear Chris,

You have all the proper papers, but do you really want to take full custody of Roxy? Already you have allowed your wife to care for the dog while you work out the details of divorce. Carry this arrangement though the final agreement, because peacefulness rather than vindictive sparring is better for the soul – and the dog.

You and your estranged wife must now hammer out the rest of the details. How will you share – two weeks on and two weeks off? How will you split veterinarian bills? What food and amenities?

When considering the fate of a dependent living creature, be sensitive and kind. Dog Lady suggests you don’t drag out these arrangements but take care of things right away. Dogs are amazingly adaptable. Give them a vigorous daily walk, stroking behind the ears, good grub and a deep fresh water bowl and they’re insanely happy. Because she is well-loved by both of you, Roxy will do fine.

Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Her website is www.askdoglady.com. Contact her at askdoglady@gmail.com.