Dog Lady offers advice to a concerned mother of the bride, and urges an anxious dog owner to relax.
Dear Dog Lady,
My daughter and her boyfriend are getting married in the middle of August. We’re planning a simple church (Episcopal) wedding with a reception afterward at our country club. We are inviting about 100 people.
The planning was going very well until my daughter suggested her fiancé’s dog join the wedding party. I know she loves Willy the Border collie but I can’t have a dog running all over the church. What do I tell my daughter?
Tell the bride Willy is welcome with an escort. No way should the dog come stag. You must recruit a wrangler for him. Warn your daughter that Willy and his date may have to wait outside the church if dogs are not allowed inside the sanctuary. Episcopal churches, however, are pretty liberal about animals; a few even have special services each month for family pets.
Including Willy is not an odd request. Plenty of beloved dogs participate in weddings, although people should be sensitive to guests with allergies. Planners should also be mindful of the temperament of the dog. A barker will steal the limelight; a jumper-upper will cause discomfort; a “gimme whatever you have now!” attention-seeker does not understand the day is not about him. That’s why you need to hire a handler for Willy and not let him roam anywhere on his own.
If your daughter is set on Willy’s attendance, do whatever you can to accommodate her.
Dear Dog Lady,
When Lucy, a standard dachshund, and I go to play with other dogs at play group, she spends her whole time barking at and following the dogs that are playing around.
The woman who hosts these gatherings (a professional trainer and active member of a dog rescue) told me Lucy is playing "referee," wanting everyone else to do things her way. It bugs me and makes her look like a bad dog, not to mention annoying. How can I get her to relax and just play with other dogs?
Also, when we meet other dogs on a trail, she will give me a series of woofs -- each quieter than the first. She doesn't do this to people without dogs.
Is she on the road to being dog aggressive? The thing that bothers me most is that these behaviors didn't start until we had our other dog put down. The dog was put down due to aggression.
Other than this pair of behaviors, we have no problems with Lucy. She's very well-mannered and trained.
You have something to worry about if you imagine you have something to worry about.
Already, you have put one dog to sleep because of aggressive behavior. You now seem to hover over Lucy, fearing the same. Dog Lady would listen to the professional trainer who hosts the dog gatherings. Lucy referees, perhaps. She also seeks new followers. She must miss the dog that’s gone.
Your last sentence says it all. You admit your dog is good. Be good to her. Don’t analyze every little “woof.” Don’t worry about how others perceive her.
She’s a dog and she will never be perfect but Lucy could be perfect for you. Dog Lady hopes you lighten up and get pleasure from her doggish ways.
Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Her website is www.askdoglady.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org