Dear Jack: Your Possible New Part-Time Pet Named Whiskers (or Oliver?)

5 years.

Dear Jack,

Dear Jack: Your Possible New Part-Time Pet Named Whiskers (or Oliver?)

Last weekend while we were in Alabama visiting my side of the family for Thanksgiving weekend, Mommy and I went on our usual 2 mile morning walk that we always do when we go there.

As we were half way through our route, a little black kitty started following us; desperately meowing as if to say, “Won’t somebody take care of me? I’m so hungry. I don’t have anyone.”

I kneeled down and petted the cat, then we continued on our walk. It followed us briefly, but then couldn’t keep up.

Fifteen minutes later, as Mommy and I rounded back down that road, the little black kitty was waiting for us.

We didn’t slow down, as we assumed there was a good chance it actually lived on that road. But this time, the cat kept its speed; even though we were ignoring it the whole way back.

Once we arrived back at Nonna and Papa’s house, we soon realized the difficulty of even trying to feed the kitten; as your grandparents don’t have any meat; much less, cat food, in their house.

So Mommy suggested we beat an egg, and serve it in a bowl to the kitten. It worked.

It was obvious the cat was in great need of nutrition. Throughout the day, I cut some slices of cheese I found in the refrigerator and feed it to the kitty.

To everyone’s surprise, we woke up and the little black kitten was still there; asleep on the back porch where we had fed it the eggs and cheese.

After all, he apparently had nowhere else to be or to go.

For the record, we did attempt to feed the kitten some of our food, which is vegan and vegetarian, but the cat was uninterested; after all, felines are carnivores, not omnivores.

So Nonna had me run in to the local grocery store and buy some official cat food.

His name, according to you, is Whiskers.

However, Nana likes the name Oliver; and she, along with Papa, will be the ones actually taking care of him.

And yes, it is a him; as seen in my new web series, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest. Last night as we were watching the 3rd webisode, you announced, “Hey Daddy, look… I can see his nugget pouch!”

(Previously you had asked me how I knew he was a boy cat, so I explained that his “nugget pouch” under his tail was how I could tell.)

“Kitty,” as he is known on my show, apparently will be a by-default regular supporting cast member (like Gunther on Friends).

In addition to being part of the main plotline of the “Freddie the Fox” webisode, he also is undeniably present in the opening montage of my new show.

I never intended for him to be part of the show, but he just kept showing up during filming, so I wrote him into the script.

You and your cousin Calla definitely enjoyed having him around this past weekend. If he sticks around Nonna and Papa’s place, he just might end up being your part-time pet each time we visit there.

Love,

Daddy

Jack Meets Max The Cockapoo, Nearly 3 Years Later

January 5, 2014 at 10:42 pm , by 

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

I imagine there will be a lot of confusion for you over these next several years in regards to how animals actually communicate with humans.

Considering all the kids’ movies and TV shows that feature talking animals, it seems to be evident that we humans secretly fantasize about being able to truly talk to the animals we love.

In fact, something I’ve got up my sleeve for 2014 is a 373 word childrens’ book I have written and have recently started working with an extremely talented illustrator on.

The plot line itself capitalizes on the truth that animals and humans do communicate in a language, but not a spoken one.

More on that in months to come, hopefully…

As for today, I want to tell you what happened this weekend as you were re-introduced to Max, the amazing Cockapoo (a Spaniel/Poodle mix).

On April 5th, 2011, nearly 3 years ago, I wrote Jack Meets Max The Cockapoo. Today, I write the follow-up.

We visited our friends, the Scotts, who happen to have a daughter named Parker who is close to your age, as well as a lovable dog who seems to be mutually interesting in you.

I really enjoyed following you, Parker, and Max around the Scotts’ house.

What initially started out as you sort of pestering Max, because you wanted to pet him so much, ended up being for the majority of the visit, a constant chase of Max after you.

Granted, I think some of it is that he was curious to try your organic yogurt-covered raisins.

But I could also see that Max also truly wanted to be your friend.

I loved watching him follow you around.

What I loved even more was the way you so naturally talked to Max, assuming he definitely understood you.

“Follow me, Max. Come this way with us,” I heard you tell him as you and Parker ventured over to the kitchen.

Later on in the morning, as Max was getting bored of being upstairs watching you and Parker in the “jumpy house,” as you call it, you could tell Max wasn’t being himself:

“What’s wrong, Max? Why are you sad? You want to go downstairs?”

For me, it was like watching three children, two are which were actually human. Even I could see, as you so easily did, that Max wanted your friendship and acceptance; and again, your snacks.

I don’t want to make it seem like our family members are huge animal lovers that let dogs lick our mouths. After all, our family doesn’t have a pet. As we put it, “We’re not dog people and we know this.”

However, Max is different.

We’ve known him for about five years now. He’s like the coolest dog ever. So Mommy and I have tossed around the idea… of getting a Cockapoo when you’re a bit older.

We’ll see.

Love,

Daddy

What Not to Say If You Want People to Like You 101

Exploring the unspoken rules of conversation.


As an avid fan of clear communication and healthy human relationships, I have made myself overaware of the common courtesies of speaking in North American culture.  The problem with being so sensitive to the unwritten rules is that it can be much easier to become annoyed when other people break these rules.  Yet still, these rules exist.  Until now, they have remained invisible- but it’s time for a review of what we already know and hopefully live by.

Knowing when not to talk to a person. It’s not so much a “not before I’ve had my coffee” situation, as it is that many people (even if they are indeed “morning people”) do not enjoy engaging in conversation for the first hour of the day- especially if it involves hearing petty stories involving pet problems or car trouble.  Also, if a person seems quiet like they may be upset or stressed, do not say “Well, what’s wrong with you?!”  Instead, politely ask them if they want to talk about it.  If they say no, then say, “I’m here if you need me” and don’t talk to them until they talk to you.

Knowing what not to say. Refrain from pointing out obvious cosmetic flaws: recent weight gain (this includes pregnancy), hair loss, acne, scars.  The person may not ever forget your comment if it involves any topic like those.  They may never refer to you as a “nice person” again after that- but instead, you’ll be forever engrained on their “rude” list.

Knowing how to have an opinion yet not preach.  Many people are into healthy lifestyles these days, being much more aware of organic eating.  When asked by someone about your own lifestyle choices, simply answer their questions.  Only continue the conversation from there if they sincerely show interest.  Do not debate with them or become their “food judge” by saying, “Wow, you’re actually gonna eat all those carbs?” as they walk by with a big bowl of spaghetti.

Knowing how to be positive. No one likes a whiner.  While the poor economy and the Gulf Oil Spill Crisis are common knowledge and therefore make easy topics, avoid initiating a conversation about them.  Look for ways to “make a person’s day” by what you say instead of simply adding to the noise.  You’ll stand out, in a good way.  Needless to say, for more reasons that one, please never get caught saying, “I got a case of the Mondays!”

Knowing how to actually compliment someone. Make sure a compliment is truly a compliment.  If there is a casual criticism thrown in there, it voids out the positive vibes.  Like this: “I really like that purple shirt you’re wearing, even if it makes your skin look a little pale.”  Not cool.

These starters are only the tip of the iceberg.  But they are real reasons why some people are “good with people” and others aren’t.  Either way, good communication is a learned skill- it’s just that some people are more observant than others.