Friendship comes from wagging your tush!

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Dear Olivia,

Your mom and dad were talking about some grumpy people they saw when they were at the post office. It seems like a lot of humans are grumpy these days! Does being human automatically make people unhappy? Is it a tail thing? If it is you can tell me, I won’t mind, honest!

See, dogs use tail language, and dogs are happy people (well, happy dogs)—at least most of us are! Think about it: we meet someone new, preferably someone with bacon, and our tails wag super fast, Whap! Whap! Whap! It sounds loud, like when your mom is banging a jar against the counter to get it to open.

When I think you’re upset, I do a subtle wag that sounds more like thud, thud, thud! It sounds like a slower heartbeat and kind of like a reminder to you that you and your family are my heart.

If my tail stands straight up, it’s standing at attention! I am alert and ready for whatever is about to happen, whether it’s a tree kitten/squirrel trying to invade our yard or a garbage collector trying to steal our garbage!

And if my tail is down, well, you know, I might have done something a little naughty or cat-like. I don’t mean to knock stuff over, but my legs seem to split away from me sometimes! Seriously! My chest goes one way but my legs go the other, I can’t control it!

See, my tail tells everyone what’s going on, like whether I’m friendly or not. But humans don’t have tails. Tails never lie. Humans do sometimes.

Sometimes a person smiles at you, but says something that makes you cry. But other times a friend says something that sounds mean that makes you laugh. It’s confusing! There’s no tail language to warn you what’s coming!

Maybe humans should waggle their butts more. That would help! Try it!

The next time you go to school and you want to make a new friend, walk right up to him and then bark once, turn around, and swishy swishy your tushy in his face! He’ll love you for it and you’ll be best friends forever! No more grumpiness!

That’s the answer isn’t it? If more people wagged their butts in public there would be less grumpiness, I’m sure of it! For someone LuLu calls a “dumb dog”, I’m pretty smart, right?

I love you, now start wagging!



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