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

Zach the dog: How do I break up with my girlfriend?

Dear Paws to Talk,

I have been dating my girlfriend (who I prefer not to name) for 6 months. She is smart, funny and has a lovely fur coat. Overall, she is a wonderful canine, However, I don’t have romantic feelings for her anymore.

I know that I need to break up with her for both of our sakes but I don’t know how. Last week, I took her for premium chow outside of our yards figuring that over a nice meal I could end it. At least then, her tummy would be full even if her heart might be broken.

But I couldn’t do it. I knew it would be hard. How do I break up with her?

-Zach the dog

Howl Zach,

I am relieved that you care enough about your girlfriend to ask for advice on how to deal with this difficult situation. Some men can be such wild animals.

No matter how painful it may be, most of us just want to know the truth. Don’t waste our time or say you are too busy to take us out of the yard for date night because in reality you don’t care about the relationship anymore.

Before you do anything, make sure that you are ready for the relationship to end. Are you sure those romantic feelings have diminished? Can you live without seeing her gorgeous fur coat on a regular basis?

If breaking up is still the correct choice,then perk your ears up. Go to your girlfriend’s yard when she won’t be crowded by humans or other animals and tell her your feelings have changed.

Then just listen to what she has to say. When she is done crying, barking or reminiscing, tell her again how fabulous you think she is. Explain how you agonized over this. Be gentle and kind.

If you handle this sad situation with grace, it will help both of you to move on peacefully. Leave the gate to the yard open because you never know who may trot through it in the future.




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








Bruno the Pug: Help! I need 3 wonderful holiday gift suggestions.

Dear Paws to Talk,

I am starting to panic! I have three humans to but gifts for before our annual holiday party next week. My mind is not in gift-buying mode but instead is preoccupied with the plush toy I lost in my yard a few days ago.

I love giving gifts to my humans but am afraid I might disappoint them this year. Help! Can you suggest some wonderful gifts I could get them?

-Bruno the Pug

Howl Bruno,

It is refreshing to meet a being who enjoys giving gifts. So many others only focus on what they are getting. We have even seen some even write out paper lists of things they want. What a waste of paper which would make a lovely snack or impromptu toy.

We have different ideas on what to give the humans so we usually go to mall together but purchase separate gifts. So we will each give you our top three ideas.

Also, don’t forget how special homemade gifts can be. Plus the cost less bones.

See our suggestions below.


-Fuzzy gloves to keep your humans’ hands warm and stylish this winter. They can’t pet you if their hands have turned into ice blocks.

-A food processor. This gift will encourage your humans to cook more at home and hopefully create some sumptuous meals for you.

-Home decor. Take a non-stinky, inedible item from the trash and fashion it into a pretty design. If this is too complicated then just leave your paw prints on the item you selected. Your humans will appreciate the originality and effort you put into this gift.


-A large smoked ham. Who wants to cook during the holidays? Be sure to sit up straight at the table and put on your “hungry face” when the ham is being served. This will increase your chances of getting a piece and being able to chew the bone after the ham is finished.

-A flower or plant from your yard. Uproot it and bring inside so your humans can enjoy their garden when it is too cold to go outside.

-A  bundle of sticks.This one may only work if your humans have a fireplace or wood-burning stove. Gather as many sticks as possible and lay them in a nice pile. Your humans will barely have to lift a paw next time they want to make a fire because you have done all the hard work for them.

Good luck!


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.

Poppy the Brussels Griffon: I like to be in control. Is something wrong with that?

Dear Paws to Talk,

Just like so many of us, I have humans to take care of, jobs to perform and a house to manage. I prefer that these things are done in an orderly manner so I take control of each situation.

If the humans aren’t doing what they are supposed to, I bark or give them a nudge with my nose. When working my jobs, I always finish my tasks and make sure they are done flawlessly. If the house is not in order, I drop my bone and clean it up.

My friends have told me I need to relax more and not always be in charge. The humans even call me an Army general in the body of a dog.

Is there something wrong with being in control?

-Poppy the Brussels Griffon

Howl Poppy,

We commend you on keeping things in order. With skills like that, you should be a CEO of a large corporation. Hopefully, you would be CEO of a premium kibble and treat company that is looking for two Standard Poodles to work in the test kitchen. Our palates are refined and hungry.

We wonder why you feel the need to be in control all the time? Life can be fleeting and we would hate for your to miss its joys because you are stuck at work late at night.

All of us have our moments when it feels satisfying to have things just as we want them. However, it is difficult to maintain that. Eventually, one of your humans might defy you, walk away from your nudges and put you in time-out (DiDi: I hate time-outs). Or you may not be able to finish all your work by the end of the day.

There is nothing wrong with being in control as long as you don’t tear your fur out when things become unpredictable.

This may be impossible to comprehend but let your humans do some of your work. We canines are here to help out but our main job is to be companions. Your humans have had it easy while you run around with your tongue hanging out the side of your face.

After all, your paws must be tired from always juggling your house, humans and jobs. Even though, your biceps are probably very toned.


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.

Byron the Boxer: I learned how to hold a conversation with ladies I like! My exclusive advice interview with Toby.

                                                     Byron the Boxer


I am Toby, Bella and DiDi’s Poodle nephew. A couple of months ago, I answered the letter of Byron the Boxer who was having trouble conversing with the ladies. Clearly, Byron needed another guy’s help. As brilliant as I think Bella and DiDi are, this one was out of their yard.

I gave Byron some pick-up lines to use and I am proud to say they have helped. Earlier in the week, I interviewed Byron over the phone about his newfound social success. See it below.

Toby: So Byron did any of the pick-up lines work?

Byron: Yes!

Toby: Which ones?

Byron: “Did you just get a fur trim? Your coat has the perfect amount of fluffiness.”  That one was very flattering and appreciated.


“I know a great place where they give out treat samples. Would you like to join me there sometime?” This line was most helpful as it led to a date. Although, it was difficult to find a place that would give treat samples in my neighborhood.

Toby: Byron, I hope you didn’t promise a lady something and then not follow through?

Byron: No, I found a way to make sure we had a nice table with an assortment of treat samples.

Toby: Okay, I can breathe again. There is nothing worse than starting a great conversation and then having it end with no treats and a disappointed date.

Were there any pick-up lines that didn’t work?

Byron: Yes. “Your human(s) are very well-mannered. You did a good job training them.” Apparently, training humans is an ongoing process and they only act well sometimes in public. How was I supposed to know?

Toby: That is the risk with some conversation starters. You never know if you are stepping in poop or about to stride on the path to love. At least you made an effort.

So how have you changed your approach to speaking with ladies you like?

Byron: I feel more confident now that I have some ideas on how to start a discussion instead of standing there speechless acting like I have a giant chew toy in my mouth. Also, I have learned how to listen more to what the ladies are saying. The pressure doesn’t always have to be on me to speak.

Toby: That is right. You have large ears so why not use them?

Byron: Exactly, mine work really well too.

Toby: I am very happy that you are doing so well socializing with the females and getting back to dating. I wish you continued luck.

Byron: Thanks Toby.









© 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.