Anonymous Human: My dog upset me. How do I feel better?

Dear Paws to Talk,

I am so mad at my dog! I took her on a walk this weekend and brought her to a field where I regularly let her run off-leash. The dog loves this activity.

She ran out to the middle of the field and then just kept running. I incessantly called her name to no avail. Next, I held up her beloved treats but that wasn’t enough to lure her back to my side.

I panicked! Then tried more “tricks” such as pretending I was leaving her, which always sends the dog in my direction. Not on this day!

Finally, after crossing a nearby road, she looked at me from the other side and sprinted back to me. I knelt down full of relief and anger as I hooked the leash to her collar.

As we walked home, I held the leash firmly and spoke firmly to the dog. We continued walking and my anger consumed me. Thoughts of what awful things could have happened filled my mind.

 I felt like an angry, sad failure. I pride myself on taking great care of my dog and making sure she is well-behaved Why did my dog do this? How do I feel better about this?

-Anonymous Human

Howl Human,

First of all, we’re animals. It’s that simple. You can train us and give us fabulous treats but sometimes we tap into our inner wolves (supposedly we were all once wolves) and follow the scent of a chipmunk, another dog or the concession cart that moved through the field a few days prior.

Just because you have trained your dog thoroughly, doesn’t mean she will always respond to you. Obviously, this is a scary thought given the fact that roads and cars were involved.

The dog didn’t run away to make you upset (although sometimes this is a tactic we use for attention) but she probably craved some extra adventure.

We really aim to make our humans happy and proud of us. There is a very good chance that your dog feels guilty about all of the worry and anger she caused you.

Now, is a good time to start anew. Buy some better treats (no dog will leave your side if you have some well-seasoned roast beef in your pocket) and practice your commands in a safe place.

Maybe you want to find another field for your dog to stretch her legs that isn’t close to a road? Or if you go back to your regular place then make sure both of you are ready. Bring some toys or a canine friend to distract your dog from sights across the road.

After a situation like this it can be tempting to never let the dog run free again. However, you can’t deny your dog’s love of galloping in an open field. Let her safely do what she is passionate about.

How would you feel if something you enjoyed was taken away?


Bella and DiDi








Toby the Poodle: 3 ways to get over it!

       Toby: I got over it! Therefore, once I help you I am going to relax and watch TV.


Bella and DiDi (my aunts) have asked me to stand up on my treat box and give some advice today. I believe I have a very important message to deliver – get over it!

We all know life is not a large heaping bowlful of delicious bones. Humans and animals say, do and think negative things. When this happens to me, I feel like a St. Bernard has hitched a ride on my 25 pound body.

Thankfully, I have learned how to let go and move on. I used to live in a shelter so everything else besides that seems insignificant.

Here’s how you can get over it.

1. Define what it is. Could it be something you did to yourself? Is it a comment a friend made to you? Is it a behavior? Is it a feeling? Is it from the past? What is it?

2. Once you know what exactly it is, put it on a leash and take it for a long walk. You may think it is the only thing being exercised but soon you will see that you are working out your feelings. After it is exhausted, let go.

3. Find a healthy and friendly it to replace your bothersome it. This could take some time but be on the look out. How about a cooking it? A boyfriend or girlfriend it? A dog it? A peaceful it? There are many options.

An it can only bother you if you let it.



Moxie the Maltese: I indulged. Should I feel guilty?

Dear Paws to Talk,

The past couple of days, I have been wild. I gained access to my full treat box and ate the whole thing. Afterwards, my tummy didn’t hurt that much and my mouth still remembers the deliciousness.

Some of my other indulgences this week have included kissing my male neighbor dog, tasting a loaf of bread just out of the oven and lounging all over the humans fancy sofa.

I don’t typically do these kinds of things but I must admit it has been fun. However, my enjoyment was ruined when I saw my mommy scrubbing my muddy paw prints off of the fancy sofa. Also, I felt badly waking her in the middle of the night so I could take care of my business outside after eating the box of treats.

Should I feel guilty or embrace my new carefree attitude?

-Moxie the Maltese

Howl Moxie,

You have certainly been mischievous and busy! I am the daredevil in my family so I can relate to being tempted by various indulgences.

Bella likes to indulge too. However, she usual thinks of a plan on how to indulge and then relies on me to execute it. Why wasn’t I the first-born?

There is nothing wrong with treating yourself to something fun, tasty or flirty every once in while. If a human is pulling a roast or chicken out of the oven I have been known to stick my snout in it. Or when my Poodle nephew Toby comes to visit, I hoard his toys. His toys have smell better and are more interesting than most of mine.

I was reading your letter last night while relaxing inside my favorite shrub by the side of the house. I wondered if there is another reason why you are suddenly so rambunctious.

Did something in your life change recently? Are you unhappy? Do you need an extra serving of kibble each day to combat your growing appetite?

I am concerned that you are acting like a wild woman because of something else happening in your life. Head to your nearest shrub and really contemplate this.

Don’t worry about guilty feelings right now. Although, you should really give your mommy some extra hugs and kisses. Dig deep (not in the soil but in your heart) and see what is going on.

After all, how can you enjoy a tummy full of treats when your heart is malnourished?




Frank the French Bulldog: How do I smile more?

Dear Paws to Talk,

At first glance, I may not look like the happiest dog on the planet. It is my loose jowls. They make it a bit more difficult for me to smile.

However, inside I am a jovial canine who loves others. Unfortunately, humans and other animals can be put off by my business-like appearance.

How do I smile more and let my inside personality show on the outside?

-Frank the French Bulldog

Howl Frank,

You have come to the right place! I love to smile and over my many years on this planet have perfected a winning grin.

                     Bella: Is this a smile or is this a smile?

On the other paw, DiDi is one of the happiest beings I know but doesn’t always flash her pearly whites. She likes to save her smiles for when they count. I think this is part of her guard dog instinct.

DiDi: I am smiling on the inside but working to protect my yard on the outside.

It is wonderful that you want to smile more because it will make others more comfortable around you and have an overall positive impact on your attitude.

Since you have some physical challenges that make it harder for you to smile, I suggest the following exercises.

1. Loosen up your jowls by shaking your head back and forth. Who cares if you get some drool on the humans’ floor? Shake it out!

2. Hop up on a chair in front of a mirror and smile. It is important to watch yourself do this because you want to show off an authentic smile. No one enjoys an awkward, half-smile.

3. Let you inner energy flow. The next time you are on a walk, smile at everyone. Soon you won’t even have to think about it. You will have a wide grin that everyone will adore.

Perfecting your smile is the easy part but having the desire to spread cheer is special.




Keiko the Human: Should I get a dog?

Dear Paws to Talk,

As a human, one of my oldest dreams was to adopt a Brussels Griffon dog. I am getting older and I am single and work a lot. On top of working, I volunteer and dance as a hobby.

I have two adorable felines who have been rescued from the streets. Even though I love them to death, I have been thinking more and more about having a little dog to sleep and snuggle with.

Sometimes I think I am being selfish by wanting another animal. Am I being selfish? I feel like I have tons of love to give my dog, perhaps not millions in the bank or extended periods of time (because I will have to go grocery shopping and run errands). Will a puppy get used and still be happy with a single parent and two cats? Please, help!


Howl Keiko,

Thank you for writing to us. The questions you have posed are some of the toughest for humans to decide upon. Adding another animal to your family is a big deal so we are happy you are taking the time to think about it.

No offense to our feline friends but us canines require more loving, exercise and conversation than they do. We also take care of our business outside and not in a plastic box in the house.

Whether you are a single pet mom or not, a puppy will demand a lot more time and attention than you may be used to giving your kitties. Even though both of us were lovely to cuddle with as puppies (we still are), we were always getting into things around the house, craving special chew toys and slow to learn that the carpet is not the bathroom.

Don’t be discouraged by how much work it is to have one of us in your family. If you really want a sweet face and furry body to cuddle with then maybe you can rearrange your life so it is possible.

Right now, it seems to us like you are too busy to have a puppy. You are not selfish to want a dog. After all, we are fabulous! It would be selfish to get a dog and not take proper care of it.

As our mommy says, “They are a lot of work but the joy they bring is even greater.” We’re going to spend today resting on her bed so she remembers just how joyful we are.


Bella and DiDi

© Margot Ahlquist and Paws to Talk, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Margot Ahlquist and Paws to Talk with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Simba the Siberian Cat: How do you know if you’re talented?

Dear Paws to Talk,

Recently, I was watching the big bright thing with my humans and there was a cat on a talent show playing the piano. Then during this same show another cat demonstrated how she could contort herself into a little ball. I thought these cats must be really gifted to be on this show.

It made me reflect on my special abilities. My humans have always said I have the most beautiful purr. Also, I am great at climbing trees. I can pick the highest one in my yard and climb all the way to the top. However, I am not on the big bright thing or on a world tour giving out tons of my paw prints. How do I know if I am talented?

-Simba the Siberian Cat

Howl Simba,

Just because you aren’t on the big bright thing doesn’t mean you lack talent. Cats, dogs and humans all have various talents. This makes our world an interesting place. I would say I am a very talented hole-digger and kitchen taste-tester. However, my talents are not diminished because I don’t have a show on the big bright thing showing me working on a construction site or in a kitchen giving opinions on recipes. I believe in my talent.

When you know what your talent is, the worst thing you can do is waste it. If you have a beautiful purr then purr more. Maybe your humans can help you record album?

If you are great at climbing the highest tree in your yard then climb everyday. Use those powerful paws. I bet there is a taller tree nearby that you can conquer.

Use your talents and enjoy them for yourself. However, you never know when some television producer might want to showcase a signing cat that can climb tall trees.











© Margot Ahlquist and Paws to Talk, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Margot Ahlquist and Paws to Talk with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Bella and DiDi: 3 ways to survive winter weather


Many of us are involved in a bitter tug of war game with winter. This season loves to dump its large storms in our yard and then leave us with the aftermath.

Last week, when winter dropped off another storm we decided a guide for navigating this weather must be made. See below.

1. When a winter storm arrives, make a pathway to anything you might need outside such as the lawn for taking care of business, the car or firewood.

Bella and DiDi: If you have four paws, the better your path will be.

2. Although winter can be nasty at times, take a moment to enjoy the soft sound of the snow falling. Immerse yourself in the snow flakes for a bit.

Bella: This snow is beautiful and it highlights my black fur so nicely.

3. Be sure to have the proper winter gear on when you plan on spending a long period of time outside in the storm. Who wants to be cold or bring the storm into the house?

DiDi: No one told me that I have a parka, hat and scarf! It’s okay I will dry off by rolling around on the sofa.

Happy Winter!


Bella and DiDi


© Margot Ahlquist and Paws to Talk, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Margot Ahlquist and Paws to Talk with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.