SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

December 28, 2012

Woman's ex took the dog when he left

Ask Dog Lady
Monica Collins

---- — Q: When my ex-husband moved out, he took the dog, Sandy, a scruffy terrier mix of indeterminate lineage with long legs, sorrowful eyes and a gentle personality. He had brought Sandy into the marriage 11 years ago when she was a puppy, and he took her away when she was the best part of our fractured family. I can’t stop crying. He says I can come visit Sandy and take her for a walk. But I don’t want to be reliant on my ex for anything. How do I get over this?

A: Swallow your pride, and visit Sandy at your ex-husband’s residence. What’s the harm? The dog will be happy and so will you — more and more as you get your two feet on the ground. No divorce is easy, but your feelings for Sandy are pure and simple. These emotions always win in the end. Honest feelings shouldn’t be sullied by whatever antipathy you feel toward your ex-husband. Sandy is the best part of him.

You should definitely start looking for a dog of your own. You have no excuses. This is an optimum situation for bringing a pet into your home. You are dog-deprived, spouseless and ready to start over. There is no better way to do this than to bring a new dog under your roof. Immediately call your local animal shelter and make an appointment to start inspecting the available woofers. And good luck. With an eager pup leading you outward and onward, love will surely find you again.

Q: This is regarding your answer to the man who was going to Paris over Christmas vacation and asked about dogs in Paris. I live in Paris, and when I walk my dog, American tourists (almost exclusively) are always asking to pet him, telling me their dogs’ life stories, even showing me pictures. We Americans do love our dogs!

You tell your readers how to ask to pet a dog in French, but I have a feeling you meant to look up the French word for “pet,” and it slipped past before you inserted it. Plus, you suggest the familiar form of “you.”

Here is your text (for “You have an adorable dog. May I pet your dog?”): Tu as un chien adorable. Puis-je pet votre chien? “Pet” should be “caresser.” In French, “pète,” which is pronounced like “pet,” means “fart.”

And you should never address a stranger with “tu.” That’s reserved for friends and family and people you know well. It should be “Vous avez un chien.” You got it right with “votre,” which is the formal way of saying “your.”

I hope you don’t mind me saying these things. I’m a blogger and always appreciate respectful corrections from people myself.

A: No disrespect taken. Dog Lady’s fractured French is about as reliable as Dog Lady’s ability to change the transmission on a Peugeot. Thank you for the correction. The last thing we want is for tourists who can’t resist chasing after hairy canine rumps in Paris to mistake pète for caresser. You are very good to indulge the American visitors’ need for snout snuggles in The City of Light.

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Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Follow the “Ask Dog Lady” fan page on Facebook. Send your questions to askdoglady@gmail.com.