Soapbox warning! Bad owners = Bad dogs

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

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

The cats are sleeping so I got another chance to write to you! I’m sorry your mom & dad got sick, well, sort of… I like when they stay home all day! It’s awesome to get the extra cuddle time!

I think we need to talk, because yesterday while you were at school it got CRAZY!!!

The neighbors’ husky dogs got out again and attacked some cats and that nice dalmation puppy across the street. The huskies have gotten out every day for the last two weeks and had been chasing everyone’s pets. They even hopped fences and went after other dogs in their own backyards!

Your mom wouldn’t take us for walks because the huskies had already tried to get at us through the windows. It wasn’t too bad because your mom & dad played with us in the backyard, but I missed all the smells!

Yesterday the huskies were roaming and trying to go after every animal outside. A bunch of people told the neighbors that their dogs were out again, but they acted like they didn’t care.  

First the huskies tore through the outdoor cat hut and killed one of the cats down the road. They also bit the other cats inside, but most of them should be okay. Then the huskies chased and bit my puppy friend while she and her family were on a walk. Some people saw it happen and were outside shaking and crying. It was scary and awful and should never have happened.

The animal control people came and then all of these sheriff cars came. The cats’ owners were over yelling at the huskies’ owners and the huskies’ owners were yelling at the cat owners. It got really bad really quick!

It was NUTS! I couldn’t stop barking at them through the window even when your mom gave me peanut butter!
Then, when I thought it would calm down, Animal Control took the dogs! Shouldn’t they take the owners instead???

I try to bark and be friendly like I should, but this makes me growly mad! Your mom was VERY upset!

The owners never walked their dogs, they never played with their dogs, and they never cuddled their dogs. They didn’t care that their dogs were biting at everybody and scaring them and never tried to keep them at their home.

Remember the five seconds that I got out once? Your mom, your dad, and your Aunt Maureen all ran out to get me. I thought we were having a great game until your mom used her scary voice! (I ran back double-quick! I HATE that voice!)

See, you’re not supposed to run wild when you live in a neighborhood because there are kids, and cars, and things that might hurt you. Your mom and dad and auntie were trying to keep me safe. That’s what the neighbors with the huskies should have done!

Your mom and the other neighbors tried to be friendly, talk to the family, and even ask the authorities for help. But no! No one did anything until the dogs hurt one of my buddies!!!

The owners should go to the pound, not the dogs! Dogs get bored! Seriously!

I never get bored because you play with me and I have a huge box of stuffed cuddle toys and squeaky things. Your mom and dad talk to me and run around with me. Plus, when the thunder starts and I get scared your mom gives me special treats and lets me cuddle with her on the bed. Always.

I’m not scared as much because you guys take care of me.

Those dogs were always outside, even in thunder, lightning, and fireworks. I know some people say that dogs shouldn’t be treated like family, but we ARE family. We protect you because you are part of our pack, just like you protect us because we’re part of your family!  

I think that everyone blaming the dogs is wrong. Blame the owners instead!

Okay, the huskies weren’t nice, but I don’t think they ever the chance to learn how to behave! I think that it’s the owners who messed up, because they should have given the dogs love, and playtime, and gone and taken care of them when they were scared.

You know how your mom gives me treats when I let her tell me to sit and lie down and stuff? I like that! I’m super good at showing her how I listen! The neighbors should have done that too. It’s kind of nice to know what’s expected, am I right?

Now everyone is sad and nobody wins. I feel a little guilty, but now that the huskies are at the pound your mom, dad, and all the neighbors are able to go on walks again. Your mom and dad took us out this morning and it was perfect! I enjoyed the new smells and got to find the old ones too!

Best of all, no one chased us back to the house or tried to bite us. We just got walk like we used to do.

I know you’re really young and stuff, but when you’re a grownup don’t forget: dogs are family too. Some treats, ear rubs, and nice words are good. I don’t even mind that you baby talk to me! I like the fact that pick me up and carry me around! (Why does your mom say I’m too heavy? I only weigh 68 pounds, so she weighs a LOT more than me!)

Anyway, when you get home, you can give me extra cuddles to get over this. Plus, bacon, always bacon!

I’m glad you’re my family!

Jamie the Spaniel


New diet=Chicken stealing!

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

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

YES I stole the chicken off the table! NO I don’t care (too much!)

I didn’t like getting yelled at, and I didn’t like when they took it away before I could munch it all.


Your mom THREW IT AWAY!!! All that beautiful bones and gristle, GONE!

If she wasn’t gonna eat it, why couldn’t I have it? I didn’t mind the carpet threads and a little dirt—it’s just more chewy that way!

I don’t like this new diet thing! I want more food! Why doe we have to diet? Why does it have the word die in it? That doesn’t seem like a good thing!

YOU don’t have to diet! I saw you get your regular lunch!!! I want regular lunch!!!

I like the rice and the lamb and stuff, but the green beans and sweet potatoes are weird. Could you cook them in bacon? Everything’s better when it is cooked in bacon, right?

There should be a LOT more meat! The cats get LOTS of meat, but we don’t! WHY?

What is this “balance” your mom keeps talking about, and who cares??? If it doesn’t have meat, it doesn’t matter!

So I’m a little gassy and my butt squeaks! Everyone’s butt squeaks, mine just squeaks a bit more! The old food was FINE!!!

Maybe we should try a new vet! The old one could be jealous or something! No one ever takes her for a walk, and all she does is give shots. She never gets to play with the dogs who come in; she just touches us in weird places and talks to our peoples. No wonder she’s miserable!

So YES I am going to start hunting whatever dinner is on the table! If the cats get to be jerks, so do I!


But I don’t want you to be mad! Why couldn’t I have some of your dinner? Why can’t I beg at the table? How am I supposed to get more food???

I don’t think this diet thing is good AT ALL. I’m starting to sound mean like the cats! HELP!!!

Jamie Spaniel

Is this a poop cult?

A cat typing at a computer.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon McElvaney

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

Your parents spend way too much time taking care of the pest-hounds. It has to stop!

I have ignored this bizarre “walking” routine (although if your parents try to put ME on a leash I will claw their eyes out!). I have ignored the baby talk and ridiculous need to take pictures of the dogs who are nowhere near as gorgeous as I am, BUT…


Your parents are preoccupied with poop!!!

They walk with the dogs and stand by when they poop (EWWWWW). Your mom gets excited when those stupid fluff balls walk in circles and WORSE! She tells them that they’re being good!

Your parents talk about the dogs’ poop (Did they or didn’t they? Did it look okay? How is the new food affecting them?)

Enquiring minds DO NOT want to know!

Your parents just have this skeezy, ooky-urpy-fested need to be all up in the doggy-doo bidness!

 I have tried to ignore your parents’ fanatical addiction to those dumb dogs, but this is going too far! The other day I looked out of the window and saw your parents walking the dogs back to the house with bags of dog poop in their hands!!!

Your parents are preserving the dogs’ poop in those little baggies. Doesn’t that concern you at all??? Where the heck are they storing all of those bags of dog poop and WHAT are they planning to use it for?

Then, as if the nightmare wasn’t already coming true, I caught your parents taking MY poop out of the litter box! The more I thought about it the more I realized that every time I pee or poop, it all disappears!

What is happening in this house??? What have you and your parents gotten me in to??? This has to stop! I am disgusted! I am appalled! I am sickened!!!

Oh, and bring me tuna.

In horror and disgust,
LuLu Cat

For happiness, be like me!

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

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

I sure hope you get this letter!

Someone changed the password on your mom’s laptop right after the eight cases of tuna cans showed up, so it’s been hard for me to get a chance to write. Fortunately your uncle called so your mom stepped away and left it open for me.

Apparently your mom & dad thought they’d been “hacked” or something so they changed all their passwords. I thought they knew it was LuLu–she’s always hacking something up! But your mom still works on her laptop when LuLu is around, so I don’t think she gets what happened. She’ll figure it out when they get the box of cat toys next week! I hope you like lasers & robot mice!

I noticed your mom and dad are looking up “healthy eating”, “mindfulness”, and other junk meant to make humans happy. WHY?  

Happiness is about petting dogs, rolling on the grass, and sitting in the sunshine. I think you people make it too complicated.

Everyone thinks I’m dumb, but I’m not! Dogs are all very smart, even us dumb ones!

We’re happy when you rub our bellies, we’re happy when you give us treats, we’re happy when you tell us we’re pretty, and we’re happy just to sit with you and look at your eyes.

You humans have to have cars, video games, and stuff, stuff, and more stuff! You’re so busy getting new stuff that you never even take the time to break in the old stuff! How can you possibly be happy going from one thing to the next thing without first settling in and getting some chewiness in with what’s around you?

Okay, YES, I seem excited when you bring me new toys, but my old chew bone is my favorite! It reminds me of home, and home is YOU. So long as I have YOU, I’m always going to be happy!

Maybe it’s time to stop reading books and listening to “podcats” thingys. Be like me instead! You won’t regret it!

I love you both and hope you will come home soon. This belly won’t rub itself!
Jamie the Spaniel
PS Be careful, LuLu was looking up how to fill a syringe with cyanide & peanut butter. That can’t be good!

REAL family loves your smells!

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

Dear Olivia,

I can’t decide if I’m happy or sad today. It was very exciting having your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins come to visit, but it was kind of exhausting too.

How come family makes everyone mad, sad, and glad all at once?

Your mom said she was happy to see them, but she looked happy when they left too! How does that make any sense?

Before your crazy-loud relatives got here, your mom and dad were running around like cats who fell in a full bathtub! They were cleaning stuff and fixing switches—ALL of my favorite smells are gone!

Your mom cooked a lot more than usual (that part was nice!), but she didn’t drop food for me like she usually does. I didn’t like that part at all!

She washed every blanket and every cushion and then made me stay off of them. I like clean stuff too!!!

I’d take out all my toys to play with them, and she would pick them up and put them in a basket. What gives???

Then, before everybody arrived, she ran into the bathroom, put that silly paint stuff on her face, and changed into a fancy dress. She looked a lot less comfortable than she did in her yoga pants!

Shouldn’t family love you the way you are? Shouldn’t your smells and your toys and your treats be important to them? Shouldn’t they understand that you need some room on the couch?

Is it any wonder I got a little gassy when I got a little excited with everyone here? They acted like my farts smelled bad, but, for the record, your aunt’s perfume smelled like someone rolled a skunk in roses! I know my smells, and that perfume she kept spraying had skunk in it for sure!

It was nice to get extra belly rubs and more people to play with, but it was wrong to pretend the house is always clean. It’s never clean, and I like it that way!

Now that they’re gone, will you please drop some food for me?
Love from your REAL family,

Poop happens, WHERE matters!

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

Dear Olivia,

I think the cats are upset. AGAIN.

This time I kind of understand, because it reminds me that your parents are those hippo-thingys that the cat calls them. Hippo-mitts? Hippos-creeks? Something fancy that means they say one thing but act another way.

See, I’m not dumb, I learn the stuffs!

Your mom’s friend came to stay and brought her new baby. When the baby came over it seemed okay at first. She dropped food. A LOT. That was awesome!

The baby human seemed kind of sweet and stared at me a bunch. She reached out and giggled when I licked her baby paw. Then it happened. She pooped.

Now, if any of us pets pee or poop in the house your mom gets mad. Your mom growls and fusses the whole time she cleans up. But do you think she growled and grumbled when she cleaned the baby? NOPE!

When your mom cleaned the baby human it was all coochy-coo and silly words and “let’s get you all freshened up!”

HELLO—where was that voice when I had an accident? Babies pee and poop wherever they want and the adults act like it’s okay. Seriously!

She acted like what the baby did was a good thing. UGH!

Look, from time to time I might roll in poop. Sure, I might even pee on something to send a message to the other dogs in the neighborhood. And once in a while I might try to grab a bite from the litter box.

But the baby was WEARING a pant full of poo! Your mom called it a diaper, but it’s the SAME thing! Totally disgusting, but your mom didn’t even care!

Plus, babies take up ALL the adults’ attention! Think about it–when was the last time your mom and dad helped you with bath time? You’re in the fourth grade, but you still take baths.  I’ve seen you do it.

Do they hold you up in the water and give you toys and tell you to splash? No! They never scrub your butt for you or anything, all because you got older!

Okay, the baby-food-dropping thing is nice, but otherwise your parents are just big old hippo-people, and I don’t appreciate that I can’t poop in the house but babies can. It’s not fair!

I love you, but you gotta talk to your mom about this!
Jamie (your favorite and only Spaniel)

Are clothes a drug?

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

Dear Olivia,

Why are humans so weird about clothes? Why aren’t they proud of their fur? They pluck their fur, wax their fur, and shave their fur! Why not just let the fur grow longer? Then you wouldn’t have to wear clothes at all!

Your mom gets CRAZY over clothing! She has you wear different clothes for school, different clothes for bed, different clothes for play, different clothes if your grandparents are coming, and different clothes for the beach. It’s too much!

You spend so much time changing clothes that you barely get to spend time with me! It’s not fair, I already have to share you and your brother with school, why can’t you just wear your own fur and be done with it?

Before you say I’m wrong, I’m not! Your mom spent HOURS cleaning out her closet. She put a bunch of stuff in donate bags, looked at the empty(ish) closet and said it looked better. THEN she went and bought MORE CLOTHES! It doesn’t make any sense!

Clothes and shoes are taking over our house! There’s shoes on the stairs, shoes in the living room, shoes by the back door, and even shoes under the dining table where I store my tennis balls! When I tried to help your mom get rid of these crazy shoe-rabbits by eating your mom’s tennis shoes the other night she got upset!

How does that make any sense? How is her “favorite pair” any different than the ones she put in the donate bag?

OOH! Do you think your mom has an addiction? Is this an issue and you just didn’t want to tell me?

I saw something about addiction when your mom and dad were watching television. Every time the person quit their drugs they still went back and got more. Are clothes a drug?

WAIT! Am I on drugs? Your mom has to give me thunder chews every time a storm is coming, and I take a heartworm medicine every month. And I get excited ‘cuz they’re like extra treats and they make me feel good! Am I addicted too?

I don’t want to be addicted! I don’t want to wear clothes! I love my fur! This is not good at all!

Come home soon, and bring bacon!

Popularity comes from Pee-mail!

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

Dear Olivia,

I was gonna tell you that I’m too tired to type today, but I’d have to type that to tell you, wouldn’t I? All these past few weeks I have typed letters using my dog paws—it’s not easy! But you never type a letter to me. Sure, you talk to me and give me extra treats, but, wait…actually never mind. I’d rather have a treat than a letter.

Why are humans weird about the bathroom? I know I asked this before, but it has gotten STRANGE at your house. The older dog Felix is now wearing a diaper.

Your parents call it a wrap, and sometimes it looks like jean shorts and sometimes it looks like camouflage, but nobody is fooled. It’s a diaper.

Why would you let them do this to him? It’s humiliating!

Okay, so he has some health issues and is peeing everywhere, but that is great! Peeing feels good and it has a lot of useful information. If you pee, others can smell it and know all about you.

Heck, if you want to make friends at your middle school next year you should try smelling other girls’ pee when they go to the bathroom!

Seriously, if you start sniffing everyone’s pee you will be the most talked about kid in the school! What a way to make sure everyone knows your name!

Okay, your LuLu Cat is over here saying “gross”, but it isn’t! I do this all the time! This is how I know where the other neighborhood dogs have been, what they’ve been eating, and what’s going on in the world.

It’s kind of like email, only it’s pee-mail!

Smell pee, learn about others, and be popular!!! I bet none of the other human kids will know about this trick, so you will be like a rock star or something!!! You will be famous, all because you smell pee!

No need to talk to others and be all awkward and nervous, just use your sniffer in the bathroom and others will talk to you first. You’ll rule the school!

Anyway, tell your parents that they should let Felix pee all over the house if he needs to. Those diapers are ridiculous. He is much too awesome for that!

Save me some of your sandwich!



Traffic can be fun!

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

Dear Olivia,

What’s a traffic?

It’s funny that your mom & dad gripe about traffic, but traffic happens in a car. I LOVE cars!

Your ears flap as the wind comes in, and you get to bark at the other cars. The other cars sometimes have other dogs! Genius!

I don’t understand why some humans get all weird about traffic and cars and stuff. I see a lot of people walking on the side of the road and they look really tired. I bet they would love to have a traffic!

The other day I saw a dog grooming van. I got so excited to see who was driving, but it wasn’t a dog at all. It was just another human! Isn’t that false advertising? Shouldn’t a dog be driving the van if it’s a dog groomer?

I know that LuLu Cat once told you that I drove your mom’s van to the pet store, but I really didn’t. I don’t know how to drive, and your mom NEVER lets me.

She says, “Car ride!” and then gets upset when I jump into the driver’s seat. She has never let me have a driving turn, not even once! Worse, if I try to cuddle her when she’s driving, she tells me to stop!

That’s why I like it better when your dad drives. Then, your mom lets me sit on her lap to look out. I like that MUCH better. What’s the point of riding in a car, if you can’t see anything?

Anyway, tell your mom and dad to stop cussing when they’re driving. That weird middle-finger-handwave doesn’t seem nice either. If traffic bugs them so much, they should give their traffic to someone else. Maybe if they give their car to a person who doesn’t have one, that person will be happy.

 I bet there are a lot of humans who LOVE traffic!

I love you a lot little human, but if you want to learn to love traffic, learn to stick your head out of the window once in a while. Flappy ears and a sun-tinted tongue make everything better!

Your favorite dog,


Humans just don’t understand!

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

Dear Olivia,

Why can’t I bite the landscapers? I don’t like them AT ALL.

They took my favorite tree. They said it was dead, but it was still useful! I could use it to scratch my back and the squirrels would jump from branch to branch. Okay, so maybe it WAS about to fall on the house, but they still could have left it!

Now I’m mad. Just plain mad. And I don’t get mad much, so there.

You humans do NOT understand anything about nature. I heard that some kid in your class got in trouble because he brought grass to school! Grass is good!

You can roll on it when you want to wiggle, you can eat it when your tummy feels sick, you can pee on it. It’s like outdoor carpet with munchy crunchy bugs for snack time!

Clearly the adults got something wrong because they said the kid “rolled” grass. You don’t ROLL it, you roll IN it!

Then your mom said this kid was SMOKING grass. That doesn’t even make any sense! If you burn it, how are you gonna chew it later? Did he think he was supposed to cook it first?

Sometimes I think humans don’t deserve nature. You never bark at anything, you don’t chase butterflies when they land on your nose, and you never sniff anyone’s butt (which is the only polite thing to do when you first meet someone!)

You humans really don’t know much about how the world works at all, do you? You just….wait.

LuLu cat said grass is another name for pot. That doesn’t make any sense either, unless the student maybe lit a fire under the pot?

I know that everyone says I’m a dim bulb, but I’m really starting to believe that you humans are the ones who need some brain dumb help.

I love you anyway. I might not be able to help you with your homework, but I can help you eat your sandwich later.