Q: I appreciate your advice for dogs that are not graduating in the top 10 percent of their class. For some canines, the issue is compounded by the presence of a cat with a Mensa-level IQ. Does the Dog Parkist have any advice for dogs whose people subject them to life with an evil feline genius?
—Dog School Dropout
A: My dear Dropout, I am surprised at you, violating the laws of nature as you are. Don't you understand that there are dog people and there are, unfortunately, cat people, and never the twain shall meet, marry, procreate, and set up mixed-species living arrangements? How will your children ever learn that dogs are the center of the universe if they are forced to see your poor, wretched canine repeatedly humiliated by an animal that is as useful and relevant as a crocheted toilet paper cover?
But, since you so politely asked, I will gladly tell you what to do. First, let's review the order of Things. Most dogs are smarter and better behaved than any first-grade honor student. That much is clear. They do not take off their underwear in church or repeat infelicitous phrasings overheard while you were talking on the phone with your girlfriends. They require far less bathing and correction than children as well. You never have to remind them not to eat Jello with their fingers at Lubys cafeteria after church. That said, as you correctly pointed out, cats are far smarter and more in-control than dogs. They do not bark mindlessly at falling leaves or strangers in uniforms. They do not roll in or eat their own poo. Nor do they sniff crotches or hump unwilling partners in public. Mostly they sleep. If awake, their only assignment is to sit around on velvet pillows and wait for you to feed them, brush them, or scoop their litter boxes. Not only have they subjugated the dogs, they have turned you, a reasonably intelligent and over-educated adult, into a personal assistant who toils for little, if any, remuneration. Nice work, if you can get it.
My advice to you is to compartmentalize, my dear. When you are with the dog, throw the soggy tennis ball and speak in loopy, enthusiastic tones. When you are with the cat, stand up straight, avoid eye contact, and speak only when spoken to first. If the cat and the dog insist on commingling, simply avert your eyes. The encounter will almost always be initiated by the dog, and it will not end prettily. Step in only when bloodshed threatens to erupt. Then, like Doctor Who or Captain Picard, reinforce the forcefields between the ruptured universes and get on with your day. Ta!
Dear Readers: Thank you for your continued interest in the Dog Parkist's opinions. She would love to answer your question about dogs, dog care, or dog-related phenomena (bop, bee, da bee-deey). Send them to comments or via the firstname.lastname@example.org. Ciao!