Dear Joan: My boyfriend and I live with my friend, who has a dachshund named Rosco. Twice now he's come into our room, jumped on our bed, laid down and licked my boyfriend's blanket.
I don't know why he's doing it. None of my dogs that I've had in my life have ever done that. Our friend's sister-in-law, Rachael, said he could be hungry or thirsty.
He also comes in our room on his own and lays with us. However, our friend's mom thinks we're doing something to make Rosco come to our room, but we're not doing anything.
Rachael said he probably wants to get away from the chaos and the fighting that goes on here, which I don't blame Rosco because I do the same thing.
There's a possibility I could be pregnant. I'm thinking that he can sense that I am and comes to be beside me, but I guess these people think they can control what he does and where he goes. The only food I see is kitten food and on top of that, these people, I guess, don't want Rosco to socialize with who he wants to so they're trying to control him.
I don't know, but it's very irritating.
Dear Lisa: Wow, that's a lot going on. I'd like to first address the feeding issue. Rosco needs dog food, not kitten food. You should talk to your friend about the situation and make sure Rosco is getting a proper diet.
It sounds as if there is a lot of tension in the household and I imagine Rosco is picking up on it. You say you aren't doing anything to invite him into your room, but if you are providing a quiet, calm place where Rosco can retreat to, then you are doing something, but it's a good something and I encourage you to continue for the dog's sake.
The licking of the blanket is also likely more evidence that Rosco is stressed, as obsessive licking of objects is a sign the dog is upset and trying to soothe himself.
As for your possible pregnancy, many animals are sensitive to changes in our bodies and pets can react to pregnant women differently. They tend to be more protective, wanting to stay with them or be near them. The only way to know, however, is to take a pregnancy test.
None of what you're doing is bad for Rosco and you may be his best hope for a happy life at the moment. I hope you can explain to your friend and his/her mom that Rosco needs all the love he can get, from everyone in the household.
Dear Joan: I have a bird feeder and over the past few weeks, there has been a bird – I think it is some kind of a medium-sized sparrow or finch – that acts like a baby bird wanting to be fed by a junco.
It follows the junco around making noise, fluffing its wings and opening its mouth, and the junco will give it a seed. They sit on the feeder doing the same behavior. The junco is clearly not this other bird's mother, or is it?
Dear Barbara: I think we can say the junco is the bird's adoptive mother. The baby is most likely a young cowbird. Cowbirds lay their eggs in other birds' nests and leave the job of raising their offspring to them.
Most of the time the parents will oblige, even though it can be unsettling to see a baby bird that is bigger than it's parent.