Monday, June 24, 2013

I have decided that it would be a terrible waste and a tremendous shame were I to pass on without bestowing my wealth of knowledge upon the rest of the world. I have many secrets which of course will only be revealed upon my death, but in a number of areas I am quite simply an untapped fountain of information.  Of course I have never been good at sharing, but it is my hope that this post will be the first in a series of "how to" segments.  I intend to share a wide range of information....for example,who doesn't need advice on say.... How to choose a pooping site....Where to mark in the house so as not to be blamed....How to tip over the trash( and also frame Nessarose for it).... How to canoodle without being tormented by human feet... How to guard the bathroom door.....Killing things....etc. etc.
This evening's subject is of great importance:

How to Comfort Your Sad Human
This may in fact be a dog's most important duty.  Well, after patrolling and protecting, and of course slaying dragons....chasing squirrels....
At any rate it's right up there with a dog's mostly important duties.

First:  Do not try to understand why your human is sad.  It doesn't really matter.  This is why humans have mothers, and siblings, and friends, and therapists.  They will all talk for hours to try and understand where the sadness is emanating from. You don't really need to know.  Usually the problem is with the heart.

Second: Recognize the signs that your human is sad.  Crying is the most obvious indicator, but there are often other signs.  If your human cooks an entire chicken breast for example, and then cuts it up to feed to you while eating your kibble herself in its place....definitely a sad human. Going to bed early is also an indication. Or refusing to get out of bed.  Subsisting on ice cream and nothing else.  Checking email or facebook obsessively.  Picking up the dog( that's me) all the time and refusing to put me down.  Did I mention crying? Long showers.  I mean really long showers.  I mean like "don't make me come in there! I will break this door down....I know you climbed out the window" kind of long showers ( anything over 3 minutes should raise an alarm). Sleeping in the bathtub( my human has never done this when she is sad, but I have heard of it happening.) Throwing things( don't be fooled into a simple game of fetch).  No desire to play tug... Listlessness.

Third: Run a test.  Get close to your human.  Initiate physical contact.  Nuzzling, paws on the leg, jumping in the lap, even lying on the feet if you have to.  Then gaze longingly and lovingly up to your human's face.  If the  reaction is to pull you close and nearly suffocate are dealing with a sad human.
A picture of me running a test.
Fourth:  don't panic.  Actual documented cases of smothering by sadness are extremely rare. Try to get your nose near the armpit as there is a space here between the arm and torso which lets in a small amount of air.  Often the smell is quite lovely also.  Breathe very deeply and let out the largest sigh you can muster.  This is a sign of your solidarity with your human's sadness,  It speaks volumes of your unique canine ability to just empathize and not have to understand.

Fifth:  In these situations your comfort remains of the utmost importance.  Be sure to rabbit kick aggressively until the human positions you appropriately for  your task of comforting,  This is essential as comforting sessions can be protracted. Try to stay completely relaxed and limp. A belly rub is a normal perk for this kind of work.

Sixth:You will be kissed.

Seventh:  Try to let your human break the canoodle of consolation first.  This way they feel you have truly done your duty, faithfully remaining at your post, despite your discomfort and hunger.  You will be hungry.  At least I find consoling a sad human leaves me famished, and a bit parched.  Usually the human will get up first in order to feed you snacks.  Often a good canoodle will brighten their mood so dramatically that the whole thing ends in an aggressive game of tug!

Don't forget to be patient.  Sadness can't always be cured in one canoodle.  Sometimes it requires several.  If you are struggling alone call for reinforcements. It has been proven that multiple dogs comforting a human can dissipate sadness at three times the rate of one dog by himself.  But don't be disheartened!  Even a solo dog will eventually succeed if he follows these guidelines.

Check in again for more "how to's."  Such as How to eat horse poop and get away with it.

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