Dear Doodlebug: Foster, foster, and wear your harness

Dear Doodlebug

Dear Doodlebug here for another installment of my new blog advices column! It has been hot and sunny in Austin these past days which makes me and my brother very happy and very, very lazy. So ‘scuse me if I don’t write as much this week. I am very much enjoying your questions, so keep sending ’em!

On to business:

Dear Doodlebug, My mom keeps talking about fostering a pit bull type dog. The problem is I am not a big fan of this idea. I am HIGHLY dog selective and still get reactive if a dog looks at me the wrong way, even though I myself give long glares at most strange dogs I meet. My mom tells me this is rude and tries to distract me or go in the other direction, with limited success. I do have some friends I really like to play with and hang out with, though, preferably somewhat smaller and male and who don’t mind my rather rude behavior, rough play and wild vocalizations. Do you think I could ever handle a foster brother? Do you have suggestions? Do you think my mom is crazy for even considering this? Do you think you can convince her to give me more treats? Thanks Doodlebug. Sincerely, Shelby the Wonder Dog and Queen of all she surveys

Dear Queen (Shel)Bee ,

I have never gotten to be a foster brother myself, but I have heard stories about it from my brother the Chick, who has fostered many dogs. According to my brother, your mom can foster dogs whether you decide to be friend-like with them or not — the only question is whether YOU  foster them too. You see, some of my brother’s fosters, like Gonzo Bunny-Ears, Stevie Wonder, and Curious Georgia — became good pals with him and got to spend lots and lots of time together. 


Others — like Lollie Wonderdog and Dora the Explorer — he wasn’t entirely sure about, so they only spent time together sometimes but not all the time. And others still — like Little Zee — did NOT want to be friends with my brother and there was no changing her mind, so they never even met at all. You see?

We wrote a few weeks ago about fostering and how to get started — please tell your mama to read that post if she hasn’t already. If she thinks that she can separate your house or crate-and-rotate, then she can get started irregardlessly of whether you are going to want to party with the foster over time. And if she is comfortable with her separation arrangement, then she can really take her time integrating you and the intruder (slowly, slowly, slowly) to maximize your chances at friendness. And who knows — you may even end up falling in love, just like my brother did with me!

XO, Doodlebug the foster failer

Dear Doodlebug… My question is this, why does my dear dog Tina love to burrow? Into your armpit, the corner of the couch, a pile of blankets, really anywhere. She particularly loves to burrow into my armpit/shoulder area making groan-y noise and then twist all around for belly rubs. Is this a special dog trick, do my armpits smell delicious or is her face really itchy? Please advise.  Yours Truly, Flummoxed in Philadelphia a.k.a Rose


Dear Flummoxed,

I am not an expert of any kind, but I have been exercising my big brain thinking about your question just the same. What I came up with is this: maybe Tina likes to burrow because she is a dog who is getting back to her ancestral roots? Wild dogs (nothing like me and Chick, but our ancestors just the same) were denning animals, which means they liked to hide in small spaces to feel safe and warm. For those dogs, covering themselves up and making a little nest out of soft things was the best way to achieve the safeness and the warmness. Us modern dogs are no wild animals, of course, but maybe we still like to give a little shout-out to our homies of past by continuing some of their behaviors?

XO, Your Brainiac Bug

Dear Mr. Bug, What are your advices to get me to behave while in the car? I do so enjoy a car ride, but I get so excited sometimes that I misbehave. My mama sometimes uses a doggie harness, but sometimes we just need to go somewhere quick, and she is too lazy to put me in the harness. Are there any good ways to get me to be more calm so my momma doesn’t yell at me and threaten to pull the car over? Thanks, Hazel the Monkey-Puppy


Dear Hazel,

Mama says that I can say this to you because she knows your mama personally. My extremest apologies if I offend you! You should tell your mom to stop being a lazy-butt and use your harness when you ride in the car! First of all, harnesses are much safer for the dog in case of accidentation. Second, they are safer for your mama because you won’t be trying to put yourself on her head like a hat while she is doing important things like texting using her turn signal and monitoring her surroundings. And third, they are so very stylish!

Also, tell your mama to never yell at you for being silly — you and I both know that when you are being silly, you are just trying to get attention, and her yelling is still attention (even if it’s mean attention), which is what you are going for. Tell her to strap on your harness, ignore your sillies, and praise you like the good girl you are when you’re being a good and calm girl.

Good luck! XO, The World’s Laziest Car Bug

Dear Doodlebug — Our blue Pit Bull Lola battles horrible allergies ever since she was a pup… fast forward to 3.5 years old — environmental allergies equaled numerous trips to the vet, Cornell University, allergy injections every 10 days… steroids, prednisone, benadryl, zyrtec… antibiotics for infections relating to her chewing and scratching… enzyme baths… have only temporarily helped. Then last year she developed a food allergy on top of it. I’m at a loss… we feel helpless and hate having her medicated all the time…. she’s just miserable. Per her food allergy tests we have ruled out much of what she is allergic to… rice, corn, chicken, potato… tho she did well with beef and quinoa, carrots and green beans… currently she on a dry prescription diet of Kangaroo & Oats, which worked for a bit in conjunction with her injections… but for the past 4 months she seems to be reverting… and altho she eats like a horse, she’s losing weight.  We are thinking of cooking her meals… can you recommend how to go about it to ensure she gets a balanced diet? Thank you ever so much! Peace, Love & Pawprints,  Jess

Dear Jess the Dog Chef,

Your poor Lola looks even worse than I did when I was having the worst of my allergenicness, yikes! I am not a vet or a nutritionist, so I can’t really help you. BUT, the good news I can offer you is that there are experts out there to solve your problems! Please find your nearest canine nutritionist and go see her or him. Most prescription vet formulas really aren’t very high quality as far as food goes, so I am not that suprised that she is losing weight. Home cooking (or feeding raw) might be a better option than the Iams food she is on right now. There are many books on the market about homemade dog food, but it’s a complex matter, and important, too. Best to save yourself the worry and consult with somebody whose whole job it is to help dogs like Lola eat healthy, well-balanced meals that don’t give them the itchies and the baldies!

XO, Your Ex-Itchy Bugaroo

13 responses

  1. For the poor pup with lots of allergies: you might want to be mindful in your food testing practices of products/foods that are GMO versus non-GMO. Genetically modified foods – even when used as feed for normal beef and chicken, for example – can have unforeseen effects on those that consume them. You might try to consult a holistic veterinarian to help with this, especially if your regular vet is not open to the idea of home-cooking or raw food for your baby. As someone who has dealt with dog allergies before, too,… Good Luck!

  2. Doodlebug, Franklin the over excited car rider here, can you recommend or let me know what car harness you prefer? Also, in the picture you posted of you snuggling in the car, what is that funny blanket looking apparatus called? My momma would love to know, as I am constantly all over the place in the car and want to sit in her lap so I can drive, but she wont let me…. please help!

    • Hi Franklin, We have heard good things about these harnesses: As for the funny blanket, it is a dog car hammock — there are various brands. We would recommend this for dogs who do well in the car. Craziacs probably would still try to wear themselves on your head like a hat despite the hammock. Good luck with your excitement! XO, DOodlebug

  3. Bug–my boxer/pitty/houndy also LOVES to burrow in blankets and armpits. I think it makes her feel safe. It certainly makes her look adorable.

  4. Thanks for the advice on fostering and offering some of your thoughts on dog behavior. Queen (Shel)Bee does the head burrow into my body thing too, although she hates to be under covers. The mystery of dogs is one reason I love them so. My heart and best wishes go out to Lola and Jess the Dog Chef. What a lucky girl Lola is, allergies aside, to have such a devoted person as Jess in her life. Good luck Jess and Lola.

  5. Thanks DoodleBug for your suggestions for Miss Lola and her itchies… we took her back to her Dermatologist at Cornell last week, and altho she’s not there yet, she’s on the road to recovery.. and hopefully a happier (less itchy) life!

    xoxo, Jess and Lola from @PittieChicks

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