I am the happy owner of a Great Dane with unusual markings. I was unprepared for the amount of attention we would get while out on walks or at the park. The pooch is pretty lazy and would rather get attention from strangers than exercise. I have generally been able to answer people's questions pleasantly: "Yes, they come in that color." "Yes, she eats a lot." "Yes, she is still growing." However, I am getting fed up with the dumb jokes. People are constantly saying, "Hey, look at that horse!" or, "Do you have a saddle for that thing?" I'm tempted to say in a flat tone: "Wow, that is really funny. I've never heard that joke before." I don't want to come across as huffy to well-meaning, if dimwitted, passers-by. Is there any polite way to communicate that I do not appreciate these comments?
—Not a Horse Owner
One of my shocking discoveries upon becoming a dog owner after having cats was just how social a dog forces you to be. Sure, you can refuse to interact with other dog owners, or people who come oohing and ahhing over your pooch. But then you will be the mean mommy and your innocent canine will suffer. I've chided owners of teeny-weenie little fluff balls who complain that every time they take their dogs out people go nuts wanting to pet them. Sorry, if you want people to make a large arc away from you when you're walking your dog, get a Rottweiler. I have an 18-month-old Cavalier King Charles, the adorable Lily. It's just a fact of life that people want to coo at her. You should be grateful your Great Dane is not George, who at 7 feet long and 245 pounds has been crowned the world's biggest dog. You chose to get a striking, lazy, gentle giant. And now you're getting pissed off because she draws attention and harmless jokes. Try smiling and replying you're concerned about her coming in last in next year's Preakness.
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More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts
"This Baby Shower Is a Wash: Dear Prudence advises a reader who thinks her brother impregnated his girlfriend to steal her own baby's thunder—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com." Posted March 21, 2011.
"Teacher Gone Wild: Dear Prudence advises a schoolteacher caught on tape acting a drunken fool—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com." Posted March 14, 2011.
"Dead Letters at the Office: Prudie counsels an office worker who found love letters while cleaning out the desk of a recently deceased colleague that are not from her widower—and other advice-seekers." Posted March 7, 2011.
"Nightmare Vacation: Prudie counsels a reader who regrets her promise to take an ailing family member to Disneyland—in this week's live chat." Posted Feb. 28, 2011.