Hi my name is Hershey, although sweeter than a hot cup of cocoa on a cold wintry day. I am a 6 month-young mini-Aussie rescued from a puppy mill. I have never shared life with humans before but, being young, curious and resilient I have already discovered enough to see it would be the life for me. So today I share tips for other homeless dogs about successfully living with humans.

First off humans are highly skilled hunter gatherers and usually have plenty of food to offer, although they don’t usually share the premium yummiest smelling foods with us. However, with persistence, some manipulation and a finely developed skill of guilt-conjuring you should be able to up your ante in the food stakes quickly.

Humans utilize odd forms of communication. Just keep remembering they are not like us. Their greeting rituals are rude and aggressive and involve placing their fore paws intimidatingly over our heads and tapping. Somehow this is their way of showing affection? The greatest enigma is their jealous guarding of their most informative body parts. Warning: normal attempts to gather scent information is considered offensive.

I have learned that humans have a natural instinct to care for the helpless and so one of the most useful and effective expressions to learn is “sad puppy face”. Applied in varied situations it can prove to be rewarding in invoking feelings of pity, to then be used to your advantage. Use this tactic often but for best results follow it up with “happy face” once “sad face” has been properly rewarded. Hopefully your human will be of the trainable quality and will respond well to this sort of encouraged positive behavior.

One of the roles we fill for humans is personal fitness coach. By nature the human is rather slothful and low energy. They also don’t use their front paws for mobility (but are useful in other ways such as treat dispenser and toy thrower) so they are quite slow. Be prepared to spend a great deal of time waiting for them wherever you go but it is your job to get them out and moving every day. Use any tactic of annoying behaviors that work until you succeed.

Our other area of service to people, beyond providing them the unconditional love and affection that they are all craving and usually not receiving from one another are: intruder alert services, landscaping, mental stimulation (keeping them open to new things), occupying their offspring, waste disposal and crumb vacuuming, mood booster, and personal protector.

This is the season of the year referred to as Holiday. I am finding it to be the human’s excuse to hunt, gather, and consume more food than usual. This helps them to build more fat stores during these colder months, although all the pelts they wear eliminates the necessity of fat storage.

They seem to have less time for us during Holiday season. They keep gathering together over and over to eat and eat. They spend much less time outdoors during this time as well but try to make up for it by bringing trees inside the house to smell and look at. Peeing on the indoor trees is highly unacceptable (if you forget this is a good time to employ “sad face” to minimize the weird yapping noises they make).

In summary, humans still have so much to learn from us so I am really glad that we have become their best friends and that they are learning how important we are to them. They are slow learners, just be patient with them.

PS, I sure hope one of them brings me home with them soon…

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for over 25 years. Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.