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,

I am having serious concerns about the care I am receiving from my humans.  I live with Alice.  A couple of months ago Alice met Josh. Josh is very nice, and he shares his snacks with me.  He eats LOTS of snacks. 

Recently, Josh dropped a small leafy bit of salad on the floor, and I whisked in and ate it up. No one saw. 

Well, I started to feel quite strange. I was seeing butterflies, and feeling really, really floaty . . . kind of like—well, like a butterfly. Oh, and I got very hungry, so it was fortunate Josh was there to share his snacks with me (I really love it when he eats Cheetos).

Alice came home and said that I was acting strangely. When she went to put my harness on to go for a walk, I just fell asleep. 

Alice decided we needed to go to the emergency vet clinic. I slept through most of the experience, but apparently the vets took my blood and put me on a heart monitor and determined that I had overdosed on THC. Not sure what that means exactly, but it sounds very dangerous. Although the vets did say that this sort of thing happens ALL THE TIME.

Should I be worried?  Do I have irresponsible humans? 

High as a Kite,

Jethro, Miniature Dachsund, Danbury, CT

*

Dear Jethro,

Well, I’d say that Alice and Josh definitely need to be more cautious with their “salad.” 

Thankfully, no real harm was done, and emergency room visits always make humans more grateful for the company of their dogs.

In truth, it sounds as though you have a very thoughtful, concerned caretaker in Alice, and Josh may be loose with his salad, but any man who will share Cheetos with his pup is a keeper in my book.

But maybe…. Lay off the “salad” in future. I’m sure Josh will share his Cheetos either way. 

Are they the extra crunchy variety? Those are the best.

Crunch away,

Hektor

2.

Dear Hektor,

My human started dating Jill about one year ago. When he travels for work (frequent), he usually leaves me with Jill. 

Jill is excellent, good fun!  We go for long hikes, off-leash in the country. She keeps treats in her pockets, and she lets me on all the furniture. She cooks my meals for me, (no boring, dry kibble at Jill’s house) and she knows exactly how to massage the tired spot between the pads of my front foot. 

I guess my question is, can I switch humans?  Do I just fill out a form or submit an application? Surely there must be a process in place.

Swinging,

Chappie, Pit mix, Tucson AZ

*

Dear Chappie,

You present a serious quandary. Jill sounds eminently worthy. Unfortunately, there is no formal process for switching humans. It is very much a till-death-do-us-part kind of relationship. Unless you have a genuinely BAD HUMAN, one who might give you away voluntarily. But we do not speak of such things.

The obvious solution is to convince your human to propose to Jill. If they get married, then you can all live together happily ever after. Additionally, if anything were to happen to your human, the vagaries of the American legal system would officially proclaim that you belong to Jill.

Marriage is frequently proposed on one knee. You sound like a substantive type of dog. Wait for the humans to drink a fair amount of wine, and then try to knock your human down to one knee in front of Jill. Perhaps, finding himself there, he will take inspiration and pop the question.

Alternatively, do your walks ever take you past a jewelry store? Plant yourself on the pavement and shout your head off until your human does the right thing and buys the sparkly ring for Jill.  The proposal on one knee should follow naturally from there.

Hopefully, she says “Yes!”

Best of luck,

Hektor

Billy, a dog with a refined taste for culinary delights, penned the following letter to Hektor, asking for advice.

3.

Dear Hektor,

Sometimes my humans take me to visit my grandparents and elderly aunt Toby in the country, which is really fun. Toby and I get along great – we run around in the grass all day, and she shows me lots of good new smells. I have recently discovered that I have a taste for a delightful delicacy that can be found all over their lawn. It is literally the most scrumptious and delectable thing I have ever tasted. Bear in mind that I have a very refined palate, living in New York City. We have some of the best street food in the world! But this beats even the finest moldy bread and half-masticated chicken wings I’ve ever tasted.

The issue I’m having is that my humans clearly do not want me eating this particular lawn snack. They say things like “Billy stop it, that’s disgusting” and “oh no, is she eating deer poop again?” and they shoo me away. I do not understand why they would have an issue with this, when it clearly brings me great happiness. Are they greedily trying to save it for themselves? Do they think that such haute cuisine is wasted on me for some reason? Does this mean they see me as uncultured, unsophisticated, and inelegant?

Please help me to understand where they are coming from. If you have any tips on how to continue eating my new favorite dish, that would also be much appreciated.

Confused,

Billy, Terrier Mix, Brooklyn, NY

*

Dear Billy,

The urban dwelling dog so often thinks herself superior, yet you, Billy, have discovered the countryside is not only charming and less polluted, but lush with the redolent repast you have so beautifully described. On the horse farm where I work with my human, there are a wide variety of these wonderful snacks. Each species of wildlife and livestock seems to leave behind its own uniquely flavored delights: horses . . . deer . . . rabbits. 

But by far, bar none, the greatest delicacy of all, the Caviar of canine cuisine, can be sampled anywhere cats are to be found. (Strange creatures, sharp and pointy, best not to get too close.) Thankfully, cats will conveniently leave these mouth-watering treats in a box in the bathroom.  (Humans then collect these treats and store them in a bin.)

Unfortunately, humans are not inclined to let us partake in any of these culinary delights, no matter what creature they emerge from. Instead, they will try to shame you into eating dry, tasteless biscuits or plain rice, whilst they indulge in their own assorted meats and bonbons.

As you have intuited, this is one of the great mysteries we dogs must ponder: Why are humans so obsessed with what we eat, and with what we don’t? More to the point, why are they so unduly interested with the collection and “clean-up” of our favorite fecal treats? Are they hoarding it all for themselves? And, if so, why do we never see them actually consume these delicacies? I fear some kind of conspiracy of the highest order.

Till the truth is revealed, there seems no solution but to sneak around and help yourself to your new favorite dish at every available opportunity. Over-indulge, eating as much as possible as quickly as possible, before they catch on to what you’re up to.

Bon Appetit!

Hektor                                                                  

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