, Salem, MA


October 5, 2012

Ask Dog Lady: Does my dog need a pet dog?

Dear Dog Lady,

I suffer major guilt because I’ve been neglecting Peanut the poodle. I go to work early in the morning and my teenage daughter usually walks the dog. But she’s been away at camp this summer and starts school at the crack of dawn in the fall. I have to race Peanut out before the sun comes up or leave it to his dog walker who comes around 11. Peanut hasn’t messed in the house so far. Actually, he’s a very good dog. I take him out for big walks on weekends. I’m wondering if I should get another dog to keep him company because I’m away so much and the kids have their own lives.

— Marge

A: If you have so much guilt about Peanut the First, can you imagine how much greater the responsibility with Peanut the Second? You can always get another dog but do you have the time to care for two?

Dog Lady never wants to warn anybody away from a dog. However, you would be getting another dog for all the wrong reasons — to please Peanut and not to please you. For now, it sounds as if things are better under control than you think. You have a dog walker. Peanut enjoys enough outside time so he hasn’t been desperate enough to abandon his house training. You have the opportunity to provide walks on weekends.

In our lives, we inevitably go through times when we’re crushingly busy punctuated by periods of indolence. Our pets must go with this flow. Dogs are not children. You don’t have to worry about taking them to soccer practice and other activities. Dogs merely care about walking and sniffing out their news while you lead the way. When you’re not around, they close down until the next wake-up call.

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