Downeast Dog News

Furry Words

Mar 01, 2017
I do a lot of readings for people who are looking for insight and ways to change certain behaviors of their rescue pups. When I begin the call, I never know what to expect, but every now and then I get to read an animal that makes me laugh so hard it’s difficult to relay messages to the owner. This recently happened during a reading for a Beagle mix adopted by a family about four months ago. They knew he was a good boy, but he wasn’t particularly nice to other dogs and kept getting himself in trouble. The owner thought that he was exhibiting alpha dog behaviors because he wanted to be the top dog. She said it seemed as though he wanted to play, but it was very awkward and she didn’t feel as though he could do it safely. What he said to me was nothing that either of us expected to hear!

The dog began by telling me he wasn’t very smart, and he really had no desire to be the top dog. He was lacking social skills because he was in a kennel or puppy mill holding area for the three or four years before he was adopted, so he didn’t know how a “real” dog was supposed to act. As a result, he was mimicking the dogs around him in an effort to be more like them. If they licked their lips, he licked his. If they rolled over to show the belly, he tried to do the same. If they wanted to sniff him, he wanted to sniff them, and so on. They do say that imitation is the best form of flattery, but in the dog world, it can lead to some dangerous situations.

At this point, I was laughing because it sounded so ridiculous but very sincere at the same time. He didn’t know he was being obnoxious, and he kept trying to say that the owner gave him way more credit intelligence-wise than he deserved! He then gave us an example of who you could compare him to, and as soon as the image popped into my head, I had tears streaming down my face. He thought he was a mixture of Jack Black’s characters (from the movies “School or Rock” and “Kung Fu Panda”) and the Golden Retriever in the movie “Up“ who had a collar that could talk for him. That dog’s name was Doug, and he wasn’t very smart and was often distracted. In the middle of a thought he’d scream, “SQUIRREL!” and end up running after it, imaginary or real. The owner was now laughing ridiculously hard, too, and agreed that combination perfectly described her boy.

We still wanted to find ways to help the dog be safer outside of the home, so I asked him what was the best approach to take with him. He immediately said he hated the shock collar and would play dead if they ever did that again. The owner admitted they had tried it once, and that’s pretty much what happened. I have zero experience with anything medical or training related, but you’d be surprised at how many dogs think a shock collar would help them stay focused and out of trouble. The dog said that a clicker wouldn’t work, either because he had no idea why they were making that noise and then treating him. She laughed and said they had tried that with little success, too. Then he said he’d love to have a muzzle. Yes, a muzzle. Can you imagine a dog actually asking for that?

His explanation of why that would work was different but in line with the way this boy thinks. He said with a muzzle on he would think that he was still in a safe crate  and that the other dogs wouldn’t be able to see him as being a threat. In my mind, I saw him wearing a dark brown leather one with a huge smile on his face. Turns out they had the exact one he was describing, but they didn’t want to cause more stress and were saving that as a last resort. He got all excited and said that if they wanted to put it on, that was great, but in order for it to work, they needed to face him head on when putting it on and removing it. He said if they reached over his head from behind, he would potentially go ballistic and accidentally nip them. The owner validated that the only time he’s showed that behavior was when they were reaching over his neck or head, and we told him they appreciated the warning.

Here’s what I loved about this reading. The dog wasn’t trying to be nasty. He just had no idea how he was supposed to act. When he said he was similar to Jack Black, he talked just like the actor and gave us examples. “Oh. You WANT me to go play over there. Of course you do…. I KNEW that and was TOTALLY going to do that before you asked!” That combined with acknowledging that he wasn’t a super smart dog just seemed so funny to me. I can tell you a cat would never admit that even if it were true! These are the readings that are so much fun and hopefully result in positive changes. If I ever see a dog smiling in a muzzle, I will have to ask if I’ve ever done a reading for him!!

Sara Moore is a psychic for people and pets, has an office in North Conway, NH but is also available for phone readings and private events. FMI go to, email, or call (603)662-2046.