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.

Hektor, the relationship guru.

Photo by Leah Epstein.

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 them to dog@lovedog.com. Put DEAR HEKTOR in the subject line, and be sure to include a return email address and a photo, if possible.

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.

Dear Hektor,

My human has always been very loving and affectionate with me. He pats my head and kisses it whenever he comes home and before we go to sleep at night. Recently, he started bringing home a new “friend” for sleepovers. She insists that kissing my head good night is “disgusting,” and she refuses to engage in any humping behaviors if he continues to do so. She also makes him wash his hands—WITH SOAP—every time he pats my head. Please help!

Shelley, Apricot Standard Poodle, Tacoma, WA.

*

Dear Shelley,

What a shame you are such a large breed of dog. One of the best deterrents of such outrageous human behavior is shouting your head off. This works very well for smaller breeds like me (only twenty pounds), but you big dogs don’t usually get away with it. Shouting your head off can lead to consequences: crating, nights in the garage, and that most dreaded of all things—the citronella collar.

Nonetheless, this new friend’s behavior is totally unacceptable and very dangerous. You best nip it in the bud before it has a chance to take root.

I recommend you pee in the new friend’s shoe. She probably has fancy shoes. Try to time it just right, so that the urine is still warm when she goes to slip into them. You will probably never see her again.

Best of luck,

Hektor


Dear Hektor,

My human and I recently moved into Dale’s house. Change makes me very very very very very very very very very very very very anxious. So, the first time the humans left me alone, I maybe chewed on the arm of the sofa just a little teeny bit.

Okay, I maybe chewed a big hole and ripped out all the foam.

Dale has always been very kindly to me, but when they came home, he got really mad. And he shouted a lot. And he threw a magazine at me. And I peed on the floor. Now I have been relegated to the crate whenever the humans leave the house.

I feel terrible. I know it’s all my fault.

How can I apologize and make it better, so we can all live blissfully together?

Forlornly,

Shaman, Border Collie mix, Denver, CO

*

Dear Shaman,

Never ever ever apologize. It sets a very bad precedent. This Dale person sounds unreasonable. It was just the arm of a sofa, and as you have pointed out, you suffer from debilitating anxiety. Your human will just have to explain to Dale that dog=no nice things.

If all else fails, you may have to remind your human how much he values you by running away from home. Of course, this should not be attempted unless you are both micro-chipped and wearing a tag, since if you run away, you probably won’t find your way home unaided.

Whatever happens, don’t feel bad. If things don’t work out with Dale, your human can always move on to someone with less expensive furniture, or a cat. Cat people have shitty furniture.

Warmly,

Hektor


Dear Hektor,

I am a parrot, not a dog. I am, however, a huge fan of your book. In fact, I shout my head off as much as possible. Recently, my human, Benjamin, brought home a new human. Her name is Margot. My cage is in the bedroom, and there has been a lot of screaming, including statements such as these: “Yes! Yes! Yes! Please! Benny! PLEASE PLEASE!” Or: “Is Margot a naughty girl tonight?” These are followed by elaborate moaning sounds, or other expressions of exultation.

Since the humans are saying it all the time, I feel it is appropriate for me to repeat it all the time, too. “Yes! Yes! Naughty Margot, Naughty! Please! Ooooohhhaaaah!”

The humans are now covering my cage with a heavy black sheet, and this makes me very sleepy. What can I do?

Sedately,

Herckel, Sun Conure, Clancy, MT

*

Dear Herckel,

Always happy to hear from a fan of the book! I am a little rusty on the mating behavior of parrots, but I do know that humans are very, very touchy about keeping their relationships with each other exclusive. (Dogs, on the other hand, are indiscriminate humpers.) Anyway, my point is, Margot likely believes that Benjamin is only engaging in humping behaviors with her, and her alone. Your job now is to make her begin to doubt this. So next time Margot comes over, try shouting something like, “Is Jane feeling naughty tonight? Naughty, naughty Jane!” Or: “Oh, Alana, give it to me, Alana, yes!” The more female names you substitute for Margot’s, the better.

Write to me and let me know what happens—I’m eager to find out!

In the meantime, shout away!

Fondly,

Hektor


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