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July 20, 2006 Edition

Dear Max,

When I was in college, one of my roommates decided that we should get a dog as a group so that we (read: he) could meet women.

I was expecting something like a golden lab, but he came home with a Lhasa Apso. His name was “Caper” and he was freakishly cute.

All was going well, women of all kinds were stopping to talk to Caper. In fact it worked TOO well. Women would pay all kinds of attention to Caper and barely any to my roomie.

What is the “cuteness cut-off” for using a puppy to meet ladies? Or what breeds of dog are cute enough to stop women, but not so cute as to steal them.

Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

Dear Seemed,

First, I’m going to answer the question you didn’t ask: Is it reasonable to use a living, breathing being—most importantly—a dog as a community “pawn” in a tail-getting scheme?? The lifespan of that Lhasa is upwards of 12 years, and your roomie’s college career is what—maybe six or seven tops? Unless he’s thinking of going to grad school after that. I just hope upon all that is holy that someone in the group has a permanent claim on the care and feeding of the “chick magnet.”

Now, onto your question. I think once you venture into letting a dog do the talking with the ladies, you’re setting yourself up to be a permanent sidekick and second banana. Because no matter which breed you choose, it’s hard to out-cute a canine. We’re irresistible! Just look at my mug shot upper left corner of this column. Tell me you wouldn’t rather spend more time scratching and teasing that than your roomie’s mug. Instead, I say it’s time for you and your lovelorn roommate to assert yourselves. Take charge and turn the tables in this romantic bait-and-switch: wear the collar and leash yourselves and have the dog lead you around. Pretty soon, you’ll know the joys of having co-ed after co-ed bend double to snatch you up, press you to their cheek, and say, “Oh he’s sooo adorable. What kind is he?”

(You can also try impressing the ladies with your excellent taste in literature… by reading my Mom’s new book, Stupid and Contagious, available now through amazon.com (click here), bn.com, and fine booksellers everywhere.

One reader said the book brightened his outlook on life, cleared up his athletes foot and got him laid. )

Dear Max:

I am a one year old black teacup Chihuahua. And my mom is a bit of a Ho. Should I worry about her not putting me in my crate and leaving me to roam around and witness these dirty night-time acts? I mean I have heard this phrase “you dirty dog, you” but I haven’t met a mutt yet to match the misses of my house.


Dear Lucy:

Ay Carumba! Which as very few people know literally translates to: “Who’s that guy under my mother?” With you at such a tender age, I am shocked that she doesn’t take better care to shield you from the shenanigans between, above, and beside the sheets. However, I bet any fellow pet would tell you the same. Humans have no shame when it comes to acts of intimacy. Have you ever seen animal planet?? It’s basically just a poor excuse for a big build up to a mating scene. I know it’s “all natural” but give a wildebeest a little privacy will ya?

I’d say open up the lines of communication. Let her know it makes you uncomfortable by whining incessantly and pawing at the foot of the bed when she’s attempting the nasty. If that doesn’t work…maybe try another angle: when her prospective partner du jour looks good and ready…chomp his weiner. Once. Decisively. Trust me…you will no longer need to bear witness when she bares all.

Dear Max:

My Shih-Tsu is always itching & wants his lower back scratched. He weighs 18lbs and is 7yrs old. What can I give him to stop the itching. Also he has very bad breath. Any ideas? Help. Thanks,


Dear Muff:

This dog sounds like he is really fun to be around. I recommend you brush his teeth and give him milk-bones for better dental health (the source of his bad breath), perhaps a minty-ball if he’s into the chase, and a quick trip to the vet to make sure the itchiness isn’t something serious.

I know weight can be a touchy subject, but I have to point out that he weighs much more than he should. His health could be in jeopardy because of it (so go easy on those milk-bones). Most likely, the itchiness will be fleas, dry skin, or a skin infection (yeast or bacterial). Your vet will know which one and what to do.

As much as we pets go into panic mode in the waiting room of any veterinary office…you’ve got to admit: they’re the best deal in the entire service industry. For about $50 bucks you get loads of love and affection, solid health advice, and someone who generally cares about what they do. Try to get that deal out of your friendly neighborhood streetwalker.

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