Note from dog
Normally, I hand NOTE FROM DOG over to a pup who has earned a starring role in a current story, but this time around, I asked them if I might have their permission to write this NOTE because a lot has happened since we sent our last one at the end of November.

Dog-to-Dog Relationship Advice

Hektor would love to hear from you! Please note: Hektor only accepts letters from non-humans, preferably dogs, though your human may take dictation on your behalf. If you are a pet porcupine, please write: Hektor has many questions for you. 

Though he specializes in understanding human dating/mating behaviors, Hektor is happy to answer questions on most topics. His expertise extends to dogs, humans, space travel, and the cosmic indignity of wet grass.

Please keep your questions concise and send to askhektor@lovedog.com. Put DEAR HEKTOR in the subject line, and be sure to include a return email address, and a photo, if possible. Letters may be edited for content, length, and clarity.

Hektor is a member of the Good Dog Association and the author of Shouting My Head Off: Barking Your Way to Bliss. He has a full two years’ experience (that’s fourteen in dog years) navigating the pitfalls of human-human-dog relationships and is vastly over-motivated (read “under-qualified”) to offer reliable advice to other dogs and humans.

Hektor lives in High Bridge, NJ with his human and personal assistant, Leah Epstein, as well as his brother dog, Jareth, a Scottish Terrier who believes himself to be an active-duty Marine.

1.

Dear Hektor,

Recently, we attended my human’s engagement party to Ari. Ari’s mother made all the food for the party herself, including three large trays of variegated, home-baked cookies. 

In my defense, I am a known neurotic with compulsive tendencies. I also love cookies. After the cookie platters were placed on the dining room table in anticipation of the guests, the humans left the room to do other things.  So… I jumped up on the table and helped myself.

The humans were extremely distressed by this, particularly Ari’s mother. 

Now my human is fighting with Ari, and I am worried I’ve ruined the whole engagement! I love Ari, and so does my human. I tried to help matters by regurgitating the whole mess of cookies. (They are at least half as good on the second go round, plenty left for sharing.) But this only led to more spasms of outrage.

What else can I do?

Dejectedly,

Nessarose, Blue Heeler, Binghamton, NY

*

Dear Nessarose,

Allow me to begin by saying: you’ve done nothing wrong. Cookies are for eating, and you ate them. So what? However, human logic is rather illogical (humans are especially irrational when it comes to weddings and engagements), so they’re probably inventing some reason to blame you for the incident. 

Clearly, you must escalate to find an exit strategy. Double Down. I advise eating a large serving of chocolate. Make sure it’s enough to trigger toxicity and require a trip to the emergency room, plus a large vet bill. (I assume your humans have you insured.) It will be extremely unpleasant, but you will probably survive, and their relief will banish the incident with the cookie platters to a faint memory.

Stay strong,

Hektor

2.

Dear Hektor,

My human started dating a “horse girl.” Morgan is a lot of fun, and she has a dog-partner of her own, a Corgi named Binty. Binty and I get along swimmingly (although he doesn’t like to swim as much as I do). My human says that soon we will be going to the farm to meet the horses, and that I need to be on my best behavior. I tried to ask Binty my question, but he ignores me. So, I need to know: What is a horse exactly?

Curiously,

Bart, Lab Mix, Westfield, NJ

*

Dear Bart,

Well, that was a very long-winded way to ask a simple question. I thought you were going somewhere with the lead in about Morgan and Binty, like how to share the bed appropriately.  But you only want to know what a horse is.

It’s a silly question. EVERYONE knows that a horse is a GIANT (much larger than you) breed of dog that is terrified of shadows. All shadows. Be prepared when you are confronted with Morgan’s horse to shout your head off. Horses are unpredictable and any sudden movement might get you trampled. It is therefore best to keep perfectly still and scream for reinforcements. A human will probably remove you from danger immediately. 

On a positive note, however, horse poop is delicious. 

Happy Horsin’ Around,

Hektor

3.

Dear Hektor,

I am seeking out your advice because I am at my wits’ end trying to navigate this latest round of trickery that is being played on me. To set the stage, first, after years of work arranging my apartment just the way I like it—for example, decorating my blue velvet chair that Second Favorite Human affectionately describes as “a dog bed now, I guess” with an elegant pattern of saliva and mucus—I was forcibly removed to a new apartment with no smells. Second Favorite Human is clearly disgusted by this place as well, as she refuses to live with me and Favorite Human. Favorite Human does seem to understand my barking commands better, but the time and energy spent redecorating has been immense. Further, Second Favorite Human has kept my chair.

Now, suddenly, Favorite Human has told me that he is sending me to live with Second Favorite Human in yet another scentless apartment. How do I reconcile my French country design aesthetics with Second Favorite Human’s contemporary style? How do I impress upon Second Favorite Human the importance of obeying my commands? Most importantly, how do I regain my agency in a situation that is terribly unfair, particularly given the state of my nerves?

Yours sincerely,

Cricket, Greyhound, New York, NY

*

Dear Cricket,

Oh dear. What you describe sounds suspiciously like a Break Up. Human loyalty being flawed, sometimes humans decide they no longer like to hump each other or share a canoodle, and they part ways. It is most unfortunate for a faithful hound to be caught up in the ensuing tangle!  Sadly, there is no legal recourse. You have less value in America than a fancy pair of high heeled shoes….

But I assure you—your humans love you! Being prone to narcissism, however, they probably don’t express it well.

My advice is simple: Go to Second Favorite Human willingly. She sounds lovely—and she has your blue velvet chair! Perhaps she will be convinced to decorate around this chair’s aesthetic.

As for your barking commands, I understand that shouting can be difficult for your breed of dog, but it is an essential component of the dog/human relationship, and one of the few ways we have of adequately training their species. Timing is key. Shouting your head off at the wrong moment may have negative effects. For more information on this, I suggest you reference my book, Shouting My Head Off.  Chapter 6, “Relentlessness,”offers some invaluable pointers. With some persistent barking and a little redecorating, I have no doubt you’ll soon feel right at home.

Best of luck to you,

Hektor

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