Dear Dog Lady,
I agree that there are many people, myself included, who are guilty of anthropomorphizing their dogs. But you go too far in the other direction by writing: “Dogs do not have emotions like humans.”
Dogs most certainly do feel “guilt, love, remorse” and many other emotions we share. You “cover” yourself (not well enough, I think) by adding “on a human scale.” Not your best column.
A: Sorry “Ask Dog Lady” let you down. And your point is well-taken. Dog emotions can be breathtaking in how much they mirror human thoughts and feelings.
However, Dog Lady does insist that dog emotions and moods contain none of the nuance or guile of human sentiments. Dogs are unabashedly honest. They want what they want now. There is no disguise. Such is not the human way.
Humans have many calibrations of emotions; dogs just have one speed, which is why we love their simplicity and straightforwardness.
Even if you were calling Dog Lady out, she did enjoy your letter because it’s so nice to know someone believes utterly in the power of dogs.
Dear Dog Lady,
During what should be the happiest time of our lives, after the birth of our healthy newborn first child, we are reeling with grief. A few short weeks after the birth, we were picking out an urn to contain the ashes of Zuri, our beloved 4-year-old, 4-pound Maltese/Yorkshire terrier mix.
Our sweet dog was attacked and killed by a 30-pound bulldog at dog day care. The two dogs, with a 26-pound weight difference between them, were enclosed in an area of the day care reserved for small dogs.
While the day care says they are changing policies due to the death, I think this exposes a larger problem: The dog day care industry in Massachusetts is wholly unregulated, meaning each establishment can instill their own rules and policies, with no baseline of accountability. Although the animal control officer investigated the incident, we are left bereft.
Casey and Justin, Ipswich
A: Dog Lady sends her deepest sympathies. The death of a cherished pet is hard at any time, but under the circumstances you describe, the loss must be unbearable.
For anyone whose dog has been attacked by another dog, we know it can happen suddenly and lethally for no discernible reason. There is no guarantee that the workers at the day care could have prevented the mauling. Of course, they shouldn’t have placed the two dogs together, especially if the larger dog was known to be aggressive. However, maybe this was a surprise from a bulldog that had never before shown killer instincts. The bulldog’s owner might also be grieving the loss of a pet if the dog had to be put down.
There are many variables, which comes back to the stark reality: We are dealing with dogs.
Legislating dog business — beyond leash laws, rabies prevention and waste disposal — is tricky for animals we try to understand but often work in mysterious ways.
When we send our pets to day care, away from our supervision, we take a leap of faith. I’m so sorry your faith was broken.
Monica Collins offers advice on pets, life and love. Ask a question or make a comment at email@example.com.