The Pet Lady

Dear Pet Lady,

What is appropriate etiquette for dealing with one’s friends’ dogs when they (the friends) are away? Does one give the dogs a little vacation from their routine, allowing them, perhaps, to sleep on the bed, which might in some small way make up for the absence of their alpha human? Or does one strictly enforce the rules, observing stringent care principles and rationing affection so that the dogs in question are gagging for the return of their owners? Please advise.

Dog Sitter, Green Lake

Dear Sitter,

Gagging your friends’ dogs seems extreme under any circumstances. Perhaps you mean to put a stylish muzzle on them? All the canines in Europe wear them, even the grizzled and gray, apparently to make them still feel ferocious though their teeth are gone. In any case, it is a dashing spring look, and those Continental types are quite sensible to prevent the maulings-to-death of their citizens by their pets. A muzzle also prohibits the biting of children, which is so upsetting to parents. Sophie, the dog of the Pet Parents, takes a nip out of the rosy, innocent cheek of a little child now and then, but only because small neighborhood boys tortured her mercilessly as a pup and she came to associate miniature people with evil. Who can blame her? She is a noble, intelligent beast, and experience is her only teacher. This logic is irrefutable, as when any odd behavior on the part of humans, such as hopping up and down on one foot or being bald, causes her to bark insanely until such hopping ceases or baldness is covered, signifying the return of normalcy.

O, yes, the sitting: The Pet Lady has noted that when their regular custodians are out of town, dogs and other pets enjoy a little departure from their routine, such as small f괥s held in their honor or visits from amusing late-night gentlemen callers. It cheers them in their owner’s absence, as does a nice moonlit stroll or being fed at odd hours. Pat them vigorously and frequently and all will be well.

The Pet Lady

Pet Lady,

You worry me. Your odd, seemingly pleasant answers are in truth some twisted, scatological Julia Child-influenced meanderings. I wonder about your intentions.

Anonymous, Concerned

Dear Anon,

It is sad, truly, to see such a suspicious mind. Intentions are all well and good, but the Pet Lady surmises that perhaps you need a pet, or maybe a cocktail, to increase your sanguinity. Bonne chance.

The Pet Lady

No one sent a pet photo this week, and it gave the Pet Lady the vapors. Take matters into your own hands: E-mail or send by land to The Pet Lady, c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste 300, Seattle, WA 98104.