Dear Dr. Spot,
Here’s what my owner thinks is a major problem: I “collect” toys, reading materials and other sundry items (sometimes including food, socks, wash cloths, and napkins I’ve shredded, that may technically belong to my owner), and store them in the space underneath her bed. I’ve dubbed this area my “man cave” and it’s off limits to the other dog and cat who share my home. It’s even off limits to my owner, who is now too fat to crawl under the bed and retrieve her stolen possessions.
I get great pleasure from this collection—it comforts me to know I have lots of toys in one place, and in case I want to nosh on a little something while I’m reading, it’s right there. My owner is trying to shame me into getting rid of some of this “stuff”, like her smelly socks that I adore and the newspaper articles I’ve already
What’s even worse is that my owner fancies herself an amateur psychologist and calls me a “hoarder”—she’s even considering an intervention-type event where she and her friends try to force me to part with my beloved possessions. I just want my toys and a few other of my favorite things nearby. My owner has heard good things about you, and we’ve both agreed to abide by your decision. What say you, Dr. Spot?
Bocci, Columbus, OH
Bocci, let’s address this problem head on before you get into even more trouble. It seems you’ve pushed your owner to her limit, since she’s considering a formal “intervention event”. I can tell you from experience that humans can be just as possessive about their things as dogs, only they don’t usually bite people who try to take their stuff, they just shoot them. So it’s not cool that you’re stealing her stuff and then hiding it where fatso, I mean your dear owner, is no longer able to reach. And since she apparently loves to eat, it’s really not smart to steal her food!
Here’s what you must do immediately to preserve both your dignity and your man cave:
__ I think it’s fine to keep as many of your toys as you like in your man cave—and maybe a biscuit or two for that late night snack. But no more stealing her stuff! I know smelly human socks are enticing and can even be comforting on a cold winter night, but that’s what her comfy bed and down comforter are for.
__To help you ease into a less cluttered lifestyle, check out Peter Walsh’s plethora of books on letting go of material possessions. It really is freeing to have less stuff around, and you’ll soon learn to appreciate what you do have even more (yeah, right!). And I just heard Walsh has a new book coming out in the fall just for canine hoarders called: One Stick, One Ball, and That’s All: A Mutt’s Manifesto.
Good luck Bocci, and let me know when you decide to throw a party in your newly decluttered man cave!