Ask Dog Lady: Man seems to like dog more than grandson

Monica Collins

Dear Dog Lady,

My father, who lives with me, my husband and my son, adores our boxer Diesel.

He loves him so much that he pays 99 percent of his attention to our dog and only 1 percent to his 2-year-old grandson. He has never played with my son nor taken him for a walk. Yet he goes for a walk with Diesel at least five times a day.

It’s as if our dog is my father’s own pet. We don't get a chance to spend time with Diesel because he enjoys my dad's company rather than ours. This is making me so frustrated; I do not understand how somebody can love an animal more than a grandson.

I love my dog very much, but the unconditional love I have toward my son cannot compare to my love for my pet. Please, how do I approach my father about this problem?

-- Sandra

Your letter is quite poignant. Your father seems boxed-in by his feelings for the boxer. This is understandable since the dog does not present any emotional complications for grandpa – unlike the 2-year-old grandson who is a real little person with needs and demands. It’s easier to serve the dog’s needs.

Your hurt over your father’s misdirected attentions is understandable. So is your father’s attachment to Diesel. Your dad bonds with Diesel because the two of them are the outliers in this nuclear family.

Talk to your father – not angrily but lightly. Put your son in the stroller and go along for a walk with Dad and Diesel. Say something like: “Hey, Dad, it’s so nice we can all go out together.” Let him know much you enjoy spending time with him and the dog. The expression of appreciation breaks down barriers.

Your unconditional love is not shared by your father, whose child-rearing days are in the rear-view mirror. By taking care of Diesel, he may think he has found his place in the family. Dad tries the best he can to belong to your pack.

Dear Dog Lady,

Whenever we take Mimsy, our Maltipoo (Maltese/poodle mix) to the groomer, she comes home out of whack for three to four days.

I could swear she's depressed or even drugged. Her behavior is so not her. She refuses to play. She stays in her bed for days and she eats very little. The only time she moves around is to occasionally go to the potty and to run between bedrooms where she jumps into her bed and stays there for all day, like she is scared.

We have asked the groomer how she acts and it's always the same answer, "Great." We have decided to try another groomer to see if the behavior changes. But is this behavior normal?  She is a rescue and we love her dearly.

-- Nina

Good idea to take Mimsy to another groomer just to see if the dog’s pouting-after-poufing endures. Whenever your dog exhibits different behavior, you should also consider taking her to the veterinarian since her malaise may have a medical cause.

In the meantime, stick up for Mimsy. Ask a lot of questions of whatever groomer you use. Ask to watch a complete treatment to see how the groomer handles your dog. You must gather as much data as possible to protect Mimsy.

Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Her website is Contact her at