July 14, 2024

Ask Strider: Lots of great mail, with our columnist loving the praise

Happy to hear from you. Image by María Fernanda Pérez from Pixabay
July 3, 2024

The happiness of cat and dog lovers — and the unhappiness of fireworks

By Strider the Dog

Dear Strider,

You asked me what made me happy, “seriously.” Well, after due consideration, I know it is two little critters: Serendipity Marguerite la Petite (“Dippity” because it looks like she was dipped in ink) and Pooh (like Winnie-the-Pooh, because she is so darn cute).

I didn’t actually want them, or even choose them.  I walked into the shelter, intent on getting two black kitties, sisters of course. Well, they didn’t have two black kitties. All they had were these two scruffy little ones: a black one, and a grey tabby. When I met them, they were wound up in a black/grey ying/yang ball.  All their brothers and sisters were gone, and they had found each other. I fell in love.

A woman walked up and started to reach for one of them. “No!” I told her. “Those are my kitties.” She stepped back, which is a good thing for I might have slugged her.

As I was leaving the shelter, a litter of all black kitties was being delivered. “No, thank you,” said I. “I have found my kitties.” That wasn’t quite true. My kitties had found me.

Sometimes I forget how wonderful they are, like when they tickle my nose with their whiskers at 5:00 am, wanting me to get up and play. But mostly I remember. We’ve been together nine years now, and they have made me smile every single day. No one else has come close to that — lol.

Yes, there are other things that make me happy. But Dippity and Pooh are at the top of my list.

In joyfulness,

— Grumpy Gus

Dear Grumpy,

Strider the Dog

Oh wow, your letter made my doggy day. It’s so true that we animals have a big paw in picking our guardians/loved ones. I know you humans think otherwise, but we have kind of a handle on how to cut across dimensions and find the person we need — getting them near us, so they can bring us home.

There are beings in other dimensions who help our people find us. I hear it’s a lot of work, but they’re willing to do it for love. I’m glad your kittens found a way to convince them to expend all that energy in getting you to the shelter right before the black cats arrived.

Nothing against black cats, of course. Two of my best friends are black cats. It just sounds like you and yours found each other just in time.

My warmest wishes for continued joy!

Dear Strider,

Your column is wonderful and meaningful! Makes my day.

— Shelley B.

Dear Shelley,

Thanks so much for the encouraging words. Every dog loves a pat on the head now and then, even as much as getting treats. This pat made me feel warm and happy all over. It made my day!


Hey Strider!

Thanks so much for the heads up on the need for dog walkers at the Jackson County Animal Shelter. If humans are feeling down — you are so right — they will get happier just by taking care of the poor dogs locked in cages out there. I mean, come on, how would you like to be locked up in a cage about 5′ by 5′ for days on end? You know what I mean. There is a lot those humans can do to make someone’s life better — in this case the dogs.


— Linda B.

Hey Linda!

Thanks for the encouraging words, both for me and those dogs who need walking. As a matter of fact, I have memories of being locked in just such a cage as you describe, in three different shelters. (*shudder*)

I know how happy it would have made me to have a friendly person take me out for a stroll. It would have made my life better.

And isn’t making the lives of others better one of the most fun things we can do? I know I love it when I make someone feel good for giving me a pet. Or even a pet and a treat.

It’s the least I can do for humankind.

Thanks again. This was like getting a pet and a treat in letter form!

Dear Strider,

Are you afraid of fireworks?

— Bailey

Dear Bailey,

I really hate them, to tell you the truth. I try my best to brave it out when they go off, because I don’t want Tod to worry about me. She’s usually right there, petting me and saying soothing things. What’s worse is when Shadow freaks out, and tries to dig a hole under a carpet to get below the floor.

So this is a perfect letter to get right before fireworks season. It’s a great reminder to dog guardians to try to protect your dog from the fear of all those loud, unpredictable noises, keeping them inside and comforting them as much as possible. It’s a sad fact that the most lost dogs happen on July 4, because a dog outside gets like Shadow, and runs as far and fast as they are able to get away from the bangs.

Thanks for the reminder, Bailey. Please, everyone, keep your dogs away from fireworks as much as you can.

Stay safe, everyone! Dogs and humans, too.

He was a street dog. Now he’s a dog about town. The dog park teaches many things. Got a problem? Our advice columnist, Strider, will wag, not bark. Just email

Picture of Tod


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