All the other dogs have advice for humans on how to get through life with happiness and a full food dish. There are “Advice From A Dog” t-shirts, books, dvds. Greta and Rusty want to share some points they’ve learned in living every day, things they wish their mothers could have told them when they were puppies.
Something good will happen every day. It might be a squirrel in the grass, suitable for chasing. There may be a piece of leftover steak in your dish. You might be able to chase your squeaky toy and make it squeal, or drop it in the snow and then find it. And nothing feels as delicious as rolling on your back in the grass with all four paws in the air.
There are always trade-offs in life. If you want the freedom to run through the grass off the leash, you have to come when your human calls you. Yes, even if there’s an important scent that could lead to a groundhog burrow.
Claim your rightful place, in the car and in life. Greta and Rusty have their own ritual for getting into the car. Rusty pushes ahead to be first in line to get in, probably because his first human took him to the shelter and then drove off without him, and he doesn’t want to take a chance on that happening again. He hops in on the driver’s side and crosses to the passenger side. Wrong move. Greta has ridden in the passenger side of the back seat for seven years. She likes that side. It’s her side. She pushes across, and if necessary, body-slams the little guy out of her seat.
When you get into the car and you don’t know where you’re going, assume it will be somewhere good. Sometimes you’ll be disappointed, but think about all the drive time you would waste worrying about whether you’re headed for the veterinarian’s office, when you might not be going to the veterinarian after all. More often, your destination will be a walk in the park, a hike along the trail where you found a rabbit last time or, best of all now that summer’s here, a swim in the lake.
Food will be there. When you’re hungry, find your human, look up at her with big brown eyes and wag your tail. If she still doesn’t get it, you may have to trot over and stand by your dish and look up again. Be sure to use the soulful gaze.
Don’t worry about where food comes from or whether it will run out. Food will be there, morning and evening. If for some reason your human lets you down and food doesn’t come to your dish, you know where the rabbit in the back yard lives.
Don’t let just anyone sniff your rear end. You have a choice. Greta and Rusty are both selective about sniffing permission. If the other dog who wants to sniff hasn’t approached with a friendly high tail wag or at least without visible aggression, his attempt to check out the anal scent glands may be met with a warning growl. Sniffs must be reciprocal. After all, if a dog Greta and Rusty encounter wants to get to know them, they also want to get to know him. It’s a canine social thing.