1. Keep it a closely guarded secret. Whatever you do, don’t tell a soul about your suspicions. Not even the family. Especially not the family. Your mother-in-law will never shut up about it, I swear. And everyone else? They’ll just think your dog is a freak.
2. Hide it from the vet. When you take your dog in for his regular vaccines, pretend everything is just fine. If your vet asks why your dog seems down, explain that he’s just shy. Tell the vet, and he’ll have you dragging the dog from this specialist to that. You just don’t have the energy, so keep your damn mouth shut.
3. Deny, deny, deny. Your dog has severe mood swings? It’s probably just a growth spurt. Your dog sleeps all day long and doesn’t even want to go to the dog park? Also growth spurt. Your dog stays huddled in the corner shivering? Growth spurt. Or it could be allergies. It’s cedar season, you know.
4. Don’t go looking for trouble. Your dog’s eyes are glassy, and he seems out of it all the time? He smells vaguely herbal? Oh gosh, is he stoned? Oh please, you’re imagining things. Turn your head and vacuum the living room. It’s fucking filthy.
5. Don’t be an asshole. Your dog seems to be gaining an abnormal amount of weight? Don’t you fat shame him! There’s more to a dog than his weight, for God’s sake. Stop it and love him for who he is already.
6. Know he’ll grow out of it. Sure, your dog is sad now, but dogs go through stuff. It’s part of moving from puppyhood to doghood. Talk to your dog. Tell him it’s just a stage, and there’s no need for him to be all dramatic about things.
7. Repeatedly tell him to go for a long walk. Exercise helps everything. He doesn’t feel like it and just sits down on the pavement as you drag him on the leash? Just keep telling him exercise will help. Say it as often as possible, and eventually he’ll be all like, “Oh wow. I’m glad she said that 47 times. At 45 and 46 times, I was like, ‘Ugh, shut up already.’ But once she hit 47? I was thinking ‘Walk! Walk! I wanna walk! It’ll help everything!’”
8. Get really mad at him for it. Anger helps. Yell at your dog often and tell him to get the fuck over it. Tell your dog that no one at the dog park is going to want to play with him if he keeps up with this. Tell him that all he needs is to find himself a little bitch, and he’ll feel better.
9. Take it personally. Look, your dog’s a weirdo. At some point you may have no choice but to admit that to yourself. You know it’s your fault, right? You’re the one who raised him. Who else’s fault would it be? Remember, this is about you.
10. If all else fails, just yell more. What then? Oh, just tell your pup you really, really love him, then move on and pretend it never happened. That’s usually best.
Lucie Frost is a writer in San Antonio, Texas. She is busy working on a humorous / learn-y memoir about post-retirement life, and has been studying up her funny with Gotham Writers Workshop and The Second City. Lucie spent her pre-writing life working as an employment lawyer. No longer shackled by clients and courts, Lucie can now curse freely. Fuck yeah! You can find her online at https://luciefrost.com/ or on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Medium: @luciehfrost.