Sabrina the Human: I need 5 engery-boosting tips to finish this exhausting week.

Dear Paws to Talk,

I am in the middle of one of the busiest weeks of my life. I have so much to do before Sunday ends and am losing my energy.

Between my paying job, a looming deadline for the business I am starting, my family and keeping the house in order, I feel like I have nothing left to give. I am working 16 hour days and need some help to finish off the week.

There are 5 more days left of craziness. Can you give me 5 tips to help me boost my energy and accomplish everything?

-Sabrina the Human

Howl Sabrina,

Whatever you do in the midst of your busy week, don’t forget to feed your pets! Most of us aren’t as good as our ancestors were at hunting down dinner.

It seems like life has given you everyone else’s work to do this week. That doesn’t seem fair. We will try to see if we can file a grievance.

Here are your tips to make sure you survive the remainder of this week with grace and poise.

1. Take a short nap either after your lunch kibble or before your dinner kibble. Nap for no more that 30 minutes on the couch. If you go to bed and sleep longer than 30 minutes you probably won’t get up until morning.

2. Treat yourself to something special. You may think this is the wrong week to be doing this. However, a massage, facial or special meal is probably just the thing to rejuvenate your tired mind and body. The massage usually works for us every time when the humans stress us out.

3. Chase something. For us, this is easy because we have pesky squirrels invading our yard every morning. An invigorating run with a purpose in mind gets the blood flowing. If you don’t have a squirrel to chase then pick out a tree or building to run to.

4. When you are done for the day, be done! Sometimes we go to bed contemplating tomorrow’s blog or if the humans will remember to feed us the good kibble for breakfast. This is wasted time in which we could be getting our beauty sleep. Close your eyes and dream of something nice.

5. Bark it out! You have a lot going on. When it feels like you can’t do anymore, find a friend who understands and bark about the situation. You will feel much lighter, like someone removed your leash and collar.

Best of luck with the rest of the week!


Bella and DiDi



Murphy the American Quarter Horse: I want more freedom. How do I get it?

Dear Paws to Talk,

I live in a rural area with my humans, a mule and a cat. We have a nice pasture and plenty of food to eat. Overall, it is a good life.

Despite that, I feel a need for more independence. I stay in the pasture most days and feel restless. I love to run and use my powerful legs.

My human mother used to take me for rides every other day but lately this has stopped. Earlier in her life, she was thrown from a horse (not me) and I think her fear may be the reason behind my lack of rides. Last time I was out of the pasture, I got excited and started to run extra fast. She did not like that.

I want to run free and not be burdened by my human. How do gain my freedom?

-Murphy the American Quarter Horse

Howl Murphy the American Quarter Horse,

You are one of the few equines to write to us and we’re glad you did. We admire the beauty and athleticism of your species. When you think about it, horses possess a lot of the same qualities that Poodles do except we don’t eat hay.

We are frustrated that you are in this predicament. Clearly, there is something going on with your human (They are so high maintenance). Maybe she will get over it? Regardless, you deserve to use your natural abilities as much as possible.

We know you are hungry for independence, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to escape the pasture and live on your own permanently. This thought has probably gone through your mind a lot recently. However, it is important to cherish the wholesome supply of hay that you are given each day in your pasture and the animal family that surrounds you. It is a wild world out there.

Maybe you can take a day trip outside the pasture for an exhilarating run? Be sure to get back in time for dinner. Don’t waste that hay.

There are also ways for you to feel more free inside your pasture. If you feel like running, then do it. Run to the furthest boundary and back as many times as your heart desires. Do this for yourself. You have the ability to do whatever you want on this piece of land. Make it your place.

Your human will probably take a hint that you need to be taken out for a long ride. If this happens, don’t worry about her. Do your thing. Run with force, beauty and joy. If she doesn’t like it then maybe she needs to reconsider owning a horse or get someone else to take you on rides.

Use your gifts. Feel the wind blowing through your mane. Freedom from you stagnant lifestyle is yours for the taking. Good luck!


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.



Cleveland the Bloodhound: Can you suggest New Year’s resolutions I will keep?

Dear Paws to Talk,

It is that time of year again. This is when I sit down, close, my eyes and think hard about my New Year’s resolutions.

My humans probably think I spend today and each January 1st sleeping off my New Year’s Eve celebration but in reality I am concentrating on my goals for the upcoming year.

In my experience, it has been so tough to complete my resolutions.This past year, I failed at seeking more adventure outside of my yard. The year before that I wasn’t successful in losing my extra vanity weight.

Can you suggest some New Year’s resolutions I can keep?

-Cleveland the Bloodhound

Howl Cleveland,

You are a very ambitious dog and we like that. Most humans have barely risen from their beds (they are still probably covered in shiny paper from midnight parties and too embarrassed to show their faces) and you are contemplating how to make the most out of this new year. Bravo!

We discussed your letter last night over our kibble and a little bubbly (we like to cheers to a new year) and decided that a resolution puts too much pressure on a being.

So many humans and animals make their resolutions too difficult to complete and they set themselves up for failure. This is no way to spend one’s days.

Instead, why not set 2-5 realistic goals or things to accomplish? If you get them done before the end of the year then make some new ones.

See our 5 suggestions for achievable resolutions below.

Get your blood flowing

Run 10 laps around your yard 4 times a week to burn off the vanity weight. You will be amazed how fantastic it feels to break a sweat and have that blood pumping through your fur.

Who can really give up bones or spit out delectable kibble? So burn it off.

Be friendly

Once a week, start a conversation with a neighbor or friend you don’t usually bark with. New friendships or relationships can begin anywhere.


You don’t need an airplane ticket to an exotic locale to add more adventure to your life. Have the humans walk you on a different path. Or spend some extra time in a part of the house you typically avoid.

Always be ready for a squirrel sighting. You never know what creature may enter your yard.

Limit bad habits

It takes a long time to give up a bad habit so why not start off by cutting back? If you are in the habit of sneaking food off the counter everyday then cut back to doing it 4 times a week.

This probably goes against every desire in your body but in the end your belly will feel better and the humans will trust you more.

Be open

Try new kibble if it is put in front of your nose. Play a new game if friends suggest it. Participate in a yoga or meditation class.

Happy New Year and good luck!


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.

Lauren the Human: The holiday season is coming. How do I stay in shape during this time?

Dear Paws to Talk,

I looked at the calendar last week and realized that Thanksgiving and the whole holiday season are so close. At first I felt excited, then a feeling of dread came over me. While I love celebrating with my family and friends, I often eat and drink too much during this time.

My happiness is diminished by too much egg nog or being stuffed with turkey stuffing. How do I enjoy the holidays but keep my body in shape?

-Lauren the Human

Howl Lauren,

You are not alone. We have all been there. First, you are sprawled out on the couch after a lovely meal and next you have to retire to the bed as your tummy feels like it could burst.

Both of us have our holiday strategies for making sure our fur coats still fit in January. See below.


I can’t help myself when it comes to appetizers. My mommy makes such yummy appetizers! I sit next to her and drool as she prepares them. Then she puts the whole spread on the low coffee table. This is too delicious (and easy) to pass up.

My favorite is the bluefish dip with crackers. Before anyone can scold me or give me a look of disapproval, I put my face in the dip. I don’t eat the whole thing but have enough so I feel that I had a nice treat. Of course, after having some dip I take a few crackers in my mouth to even out the flavors and clean the rest off of my face.

Before any of these appetizers are set down for consumption, I make sure to eat my normal and “healthy” kibble. Otherwise, I would be famished and devour the whole appetizer spread. My tummy would be mean to me for a couple of days if I did that.

Eat a normal meal and then indulge in a handful of things that are special. Bluefish dip will always have a special place in my heart.


While Bella is having appetizers, I am making sure the young humans are fed. I am usually on clean up duty after their meals. Young human food is actually quite good.

However, I arrive at the dinner table ready for some good chow. I don’t know why but I love butter. Half a stick of butter and a fresh roll is my usual holiday treat.

Before I make a move for my favorite treat, I survey the other foods on display to see if there is anything else I really want to try.

I wait until my hunger starts acting up or the humans are in between courses and have the butter and bread. Then I zero in on the other item (s). I enjoy these lovely treats until I pull the tablecloth complete with glassware and leftovers to the floor. That is when I know I am in a “food coma” and have had enough to eat.

Coincidentally, when the tableware hits the floor is also the perfect time to go outside for patrol duty or up to bed early.

Since, I don’t have as much self-control as Bella when it comes to holiday treats, I make sure to run extra laps around the yard after the holidays. I like to maintain my athletic and lean appearance.

Good luck! We know you can have a wonderful holiday season and not feel so guilty.


Bella and DiDi
















© Margot Ahlquist and Paws to Talk, 2012. 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.


Ted the Maltese: I have a lot on my mind and can’t sleep. What should I do?

Dear Paws to Talk,

I have had a terrible week of sleep. Each night, I settle into my comfy bed near my humans expecting to fall asleep like usual. Instead, I lay there wide awake with my mind churning.

I think about the gap in the fence surrounding my yard and what unwanted creatures are squeezing through it. Also, I think about the humans and animals who are suffering because of one mean lady named Sandy. Finally, I wonder if another mean lady like Sandy is going to come to my house soon.

How am I supposed to sleep when there is so much to think about?

-Ted the Maltese

Howl Ted,

It certainly has been a tough week in many ways. Sandy came to our house and she was very angry. Bella barked asking her to leave. Meanwhile, DiDi stood in the yard flopping her ears, trying to see if she could get airborne with the help of Sandy’s powerful wind.

Keep in mind that we are the lucky ones. Our humans, homes and yards are intact. This should bring you some comfort.

We are very distressed about those suffering because of Sandy. This is why during the day we have been working on ways to help.

Yesterday, we shipped boxes of treats, bags of kibble and some of our toys to a disaster command post with the help of our mommy. We packed the boxes and mommy did the rest. It was a nice display of human-dog teamwork.

Take action. It will make you feel less helpless and use some of that pent-up energy.  Get out to your yard and fix that fence. Use a branch or rock to plug the gap so no intruders can sneak in. A yard is a special place and you should protect it.

According to our daddy, who is very knowledgeable, Sandy the mean lady’s visit was a rare occurrence. We will all face other challenges in life but don’t spend your time worrying that Sandy’s nasty relative or friend is going to show up at your door tomorrow. It is very unlikely. Plus, Sandy’s family and friends must be exhausted from supporting her in all these devastating efforts.

Become preoccupied during the day with positive work and we guarantee you will drift off to a peaceful sleep at night.


Bella and DiDi
















© Margot Ahlquist and Paws to Talk, 2012. 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.

Anonymous Human: Why is my dog reverting back to his old puppy habits?

Dear Paws to Talk,

I have a black, furry, dog beast. We recently moved to a new house and all of a sudden my housebroken dog is peeing inside every other day.

I know it’s probably because he wants to mark his place but he stopped peeing inside four months ago when he completed puppy training. Why is he going back?
What should I do to keep him from peeing?
And lastly, are you girls looking for a black, furry roommate? Thanks for your help.

-Anonymous Human

Howl Human,

We sense your frustration. Who wants to make progress and then go backwards? Although, sometimes it is fun to run backwards. It is a good thigh workout.

For a moment, forget about the frustration and put yourself in your dog’s fur. He is probably scared about being in a new place. The floors, yard and hiding places are all different.

We think that he is trying to make this new home his territory but he could also be acting out against the change. We hate to admit it but we act out sometimes when things aren’t how we like them.

For instance, our mommy bought us new beds because our old ones were “disgusting.” No one asked her to change our beds. We were comforted each night by the “disgusting” scents on the beds. When she took them away, we refused to sleep on the new beds. Instead we slept on the living room couches for a while before giving the new beds a chance.

During this time of transition, be sure the dog gets enough exercise. When tired, we have no energy for mischief. Also, when you go to work or run errands, leave him in a penned off area. He will not pee in his area. Trust us, we would rather cuddle with a squirrel than have a messy environment.

The most important thing is to just be patient and loving. Your dog can visit anytime but our inn is full. Good luck and let us know how it goes.


Bella and DiDi
















© Margot Ahlquist and Paws to Talk, 2012. 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.