Ask Arden Anything


Arden, starring in her one-woman production of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Dear Arden,

I recently moved into a new townhome. I have neighbors above me and on either side of me, and I can often hear noise coming from other units, which I mostly just try to ignore. Yesterday I was installing some shelves in my apartment and my neighbor came over immediately to complain about the noise. Then, while sweeping, my broom hit the baseboard and my neighbor pounded on the wall. I was so angry! I feel like I’m trying to be a good neighbor by acknowledging that the situation is less than perfect, but my neighbors are unreasonable.

What should I do?

Love,
Too-Near Townhomes

Dear TNT,

Dogs are pack animals and we’re used to living in close quarters the way you describe, but I can understand your neighbor’s frustration. My owner bought a crate for me to stay in while he’s at work when I was just a puppy, and I feel now that the crate is my little “home” in my owner’s home. I don’t like it when people move it or go in it or anything; it’s mine. Sometimes when people (or, let’s say, visiting cats, for example) go near it, I snap and bark. It’s not nice, but I can’t help it.

Maybe your neighbors are just being a little territorial. Dogs always know whose territory is whose because we pee on everything, and our pee has little markers in it that we understand. You might try peeing around your townhome to see if your neighbor picks up on your scent and gives you a little more leeway in terms of noise.

You might also try a good snap now and then. When you think your neighbor is being unreasonable, a growl or bark can put them back in their place. This is generally how I choose to deal with annoying cat-types in my own life.

Townhome living offers a lot of convenience, TNT, but you’ve definitely stumbled upon one of the downsides. I hope all goes well for you.

Love,
Arden


Arden answers your questions every Friday here at Kinemapoetics. Submit your question by emailing chasjens ATyahooDOTcom with the subject line “Ask Arden Anything.”

Ask Arden Anything

Dear Arden,

Out of curiousity, a lot of dogs seem to appear to enjoy watching the television. I have three questions regarding this for you (especially regarding the movie/ t.v. watching human you reside with): What are your favorite movies or t.v. shows and why? Also, are there any shows/ movies your “owner” watches that you like/dislike? How does a dog’s general lack of allowed input on what is watched (due to their position in life) make you feel?

Thanks for your thoughts!
Sincerely,
Sittin’ with my dog watchin’ The Fountain

Dear Sittin’

My owner likes to tell me about his childhood dog Mary Kate. Mary Kate, a Westie, used to love watching television, and she used to bark at just about anything that appeared on it, especially other animals and dogs. But Mary Kate also used to bark at leaves that blew by the window, so she wasn’t all that bright, if you ask me.

I do like watching TV, but mostly at my grandma’s house (because there’s not much else to do!). My favorite show is Colorsplash on HGTV because, as my grandma says, the host reminds me of Charlie. When I’m at home with Charlie, I don’t watch as much TV because I don’t like what he likes. Except I liked Veronica Mars a lot because it had that cute pit bull Backup on it. But that’s a story for another time.

I’m not really into America’s Next Top Model because I think I’m prettier than all those girls put together, and I think Tyra is full of bad advice. Sometimes I like to watch Ugly Betty because it’s so colorful and weird. And I think Heroes is pretty boring. Mostly I’m into home decorating/renovation shows, I guess. I like a little destruction.

I don’t mind not weighing in on what gets watched at home. I have my bones and my squeaky toys and that’s fine. If humans had toys that squeaked, I bet none of you would waste time watching TV. Besides, wouldn’t you rather get off the couch and go for a walk?? Don’t you want to go outside? Outside? You wanna go outside…?

Love,
Arden


Arden answers your questions every Friday here at Kinemapoetics. Submit your question by emailing chasjens ATyahooDOTcom with the subject line “Ask Arden Anything.”

Ask Arden Anything

Dear Arden,

My boyfriend and I were thinking about getting another dog. What is
you view on living with other dogs? And are cats out of the question?
Keep in mind we live in an apartment with no yard.

Love,
Too Much Lovin’ for Just One Pet

Dear Lovin’,

I always say that people are a lot like dogs. We’re both very social and we like to make friends. But it doesn’t mean we’re going to get along with everyone.

My owner was kind enough to catsit for a friend a few times recently, and wow, I had never been that close to a cat before. It smelled like bacon and I wanted to put it in my mouth. But I knew that the occasion didn’t call for that, so instead, I took to chasing her around the house, much to my owner’s dismay. However, I will tell you, after a while, I felt like the cat was begging me to chase her around. She wanted it. Even though our friendship was what you might call “unconventional,” we made the situation work.

Now, you know that your dog and I get along great, Lovin’—remember that camping trip? I still get goosebumps…when I think about how cold it was! I think you are in the fortunate situation of having a likeable, friendly dog, so I say: do it, but get something small since your home is small. I think your pets will be good friends.

Love,
Arden


Arden answers your questions every Friday here at Kinemapoetics. Submit your question by emailing chasjens ATyahooDOTcom with the subject line “Ask Arden Anything.”

Ask Arden Anything

There was no edition of “Ask Arden Anything” last week while Arden enjoyed a spa vacation in Sun City West.

This week’s letter:

Dear Arden,

My partner and I have hosted dinner parties in recent weeks at which
invited guests have called at the last minute to ask whether they can
bring someone else along. I wouldn’t mind this for a house party, but
for an intimate dinner for which I have planned for days and carefully
considered the guest list, this is rude on many levels. I have
assented on all three occasions, and everything worked out fine, for
the most part. Still, it bothers me, especially when I value these
friends and wouldn’t anticipate such behavior from them. How do I
tactfully turn down further requests?

Assenting P. Tooniceity

Dear APT,

Sometimes my owner takes me to the dog park, where, as I’m sure you can guess, dogs pretty much roam free without their leashes on. It’s an important time for us to experience the luxury of freedom we think humans take for granted. While we don’t mind being led around and told what to do all the time, the dog park represents a kind of sloughing off of our major responsibilities and concerns.

I think people have dog parks, too, but the fences around yours are less succinct. Bad behavior that dogs might save for the park instead creeps into the more structured areas of your lives, where etiquette formerly reigned supreme. If dogs know anything, it’s etiquette. We have carefully observed rituals for greeting, for assessing each other’s value, and for dating. You refer to much of this as “sniffing butts,” but I’ll tell you it’s more than that: we want to understand each other.

Cleary, your problem stems from two things: a lack of respect for boundaries on the part of your guests and a lack of understanding of etiquette.

Since it sounds like different guests are committing the faux pas each time you host, your problem is wide-reaching. But what’s the harm in saying no? For example, whenever I want to eat a kitten, my owner shouts a stern “NO!” and I understand that this behavior is unacceptable—that I am stepping out of the boundaries of etiquette. Perhaps you should take this example to heart, APT, and give your guets a sternly shouted “NO!” when they call.

I wouldn’t stop there, though. You can help them understand the rationale for this rule by explaining that dinner parties involve limited resources, a hierarchy of the pack, and a series of rules that must be followed. When dogs live in the wild and kill a small animal, clearly that animal cannot feed any strange mutt who wanders up to the carcass. And dogs wouldn’t go around dragging strays over to their food dish, either. Why humans believe they can drag strays to your food dishes is beyond me. It really just spoils the meal (or the carcass if you are serving this meal in the wild).

Thanks for writing, APT, and please write again to let me know how this issue progresses.


Arden answers your questions every Friday here at Kinemapoetics. Submit your question by emailing chasjens ATyahooDOTcom with the subject line “Ask Arden Anything.”