I’ve been downsized from my high-tech job and have been out of work for six months. To make ends meet, I’ve had to move in with a roommate who is another laid-off worker. She rents half of a house. I also have to live with her dog, a large poodle named Jim. She lets Jim wander freely around the house, and the other day when I was out, I came back to find Jim lounging on my bed. I shooed him away. But I realized I liked having the dog around. I’ve begun to leave my door open for Jim and am disappointed when he doesn’t come in for a visit. I never much cared for dogs before. What’s happening to me?

Dear Dog Lady,

I’ve been downsized from my high-tech job and have been out of work for six months. To make ends meet, I’ve had to move in with a roommate who is another laid-off worker. She rents half of a house. I also have to live with her dog, a large poodle named Jim (by the way, I’ve always thought it odd when people give their dogs real human names). She lets Jim wander freely around the house, and the other day when I was out, I came back to find Jim lounging on my bed.


I shooed him away. But I realized I liked having the dog around. I’ve begun to leave my door open for Jim and am disappointed when he doesn’t come in for a visit. I never much cared for dogs before. What’s happening to me?


Royce


Royce, when you feel the most deflated, there are unexpected beacons to light your way. Dog Lady imagines your humiliation with no job and no home of your own. Yet Jim has somehow shown you a glimmer of possibilities in his own unprejudiced dog-like way. Even though the canine has a human name it is somehow symbolic.


Continue to leave your door open for Jim. You might want to keep a stash of small treats (freeze-dried liver chunks are manna to dogs) in your room so he learns you’re not going to shoo him away but reward him for his incursions. Enjoy the attention as you get back on your feet. Happy New Year.


Dear Dog Lady,


What do you suggest for my two Lhasa Apso puppies who won't eat? We have tried several different dog foods with no results. When we first got them, they ate the Pedigree Puppy Chicken and Rice wet food with a scoop of Puppy Chow twice a day but got sick of it. We have tried doing different combinations of each of the above brands but to no avail. We have heard from the veterinarian that sometimes they just don't want to eat. Should we try yet another dog food and risk wasting money if they don't eat? Should we feed them once a day?


Tiffany


Tiffany, your Lhasa Apsos will never go hungry -- not when they have Tiffany burning up the pet food aisles. Choose one food and stick with it. Make sure the ingredient list always starts with a meat, such as chicken, beef or lamb. Always feed less than the bag advises because you want your dogs on the lean and hungry side rather than overstuffed and picky. Feed them twice a day at the same time. Take up the bowls if they choose not to chow down at the appointed hour – even if they leave some bits behind.


Measure the kibble. For your small dogs, never feed more than a quarter cup to each in the morning and at night -- a total of one-half-cup per dog per day. Festoon the dry food with a teaspoon of canned or boiled meat.


Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Her Web site is www.askdoglady.com. Contact her at askdoglady@gmail.com.