Oh, Give Me a Home Where Happy Dogs Roam

Oh, Give Me a Home Where Happy Dogs Roam


DOG BLOG:  C is for Cosmo and Craigslist          

A tired dog is a good dog. Call that “upward feedback” if you are a human into corporate management-consulting techniques.

Yup, I’m a Giant Schnauzer and I need at least 2 hours of exercise a day at least a day (preferably a heady mix of aerobics and swimming), discipline when I get pushy — and affection for reassurance. If humans would have just followed this simple set of rules, they wouldn’t have needed to watch so many episodes of the Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan. And don’t believe everything Cesar says – exercise, discipline and then affection leaves out something else: Treats.  As many as you can spare.

Cosmo on ferry

If my humans had just followed this simple set of rules, growing up would have been much easier for me.  Because I was not a happy puppy. When I was 5 months old, my first human family drove me to the King County Animal Shelter in Kent and abandoned me. I was given a new identity – and name—Bear, the Labradoodle. After a week in Kent, I was moved to PAWS in Lynnwood where I was micro-chipped, neutered and given a less intimidating name – Georgie.

Fortunately, I was adopted after a week by a busy family in Snohomish who named me Stewie. Although I was in a new home, it didn’t feel like home since no one was paying attention to me. To cope with the boredom, I amused myself by chewing chair legs.  Well, after a month and some undeserved discipline, my second family put an ad in Craigslist to “re-home” me. There we go again with human lingo, for “a forced change of personal circumstances,” the euphemism of forcibly changing a good pet’s life.

My third family was in Duvall where life was more interesting, since I got to play with two young children. But when playtime was over, I was locked in a crate for what seemed like an eternity, which really made me stir-crazy. They called me Stanley, but I didn’t care. That situation lasted 2 months until I was “re-homed” again, this time with a Craigslist ad to my fourth (and what I hoped would be final) family.

So I was off to Kirkland with Paul and Neil and yet another name – Cosmo. If nothing else, I was relieved when they figured out I wasn’t a Labradoodle and stopped expecting me to have any interest in fetching balls. They found out I was really a Giant Schnauzer, proud and strong!

Well, I don’t know about you, but all this moving around made me insecure and anxious. Why does no one want to keep me? Can humans be trusted? What should I do?

Exercise, discipline, and then affection, leaves out something else: Treats, according to Cosmo [center].

Exercise, discipline, and then affection, okay. But what about treats?

It was time to develop an action plan. Step 1: Don’t let your family get out of sight. Step 2: Be the boss. Step 3: Try to behave most of the time.

The good news is that after 6 months on Finn Hill’s Holmes Point in Kirkland with my new  morning ‘breakfast club’ of walking pals—golden retrievers Zara and Zeus, husky Maya, black lab April, collie Toby, and yellow lab Ginger–the plan seemed to be working. At least I thought so until I was diagnosed with “acute separation anxiety” and was prescribed Prozac to help me relax.

Thanks Dr. Sung – that drug changed my life! By taking Prozac (with peanut butter of course), I could spend time alone without having a panic attack. Maybe humans aren’t so bad after all. Now I’m down to one pill a day from three.

But what seems to be working best isn’t the drugs but finally having a real home instead of another re-home. Forget upward feedback: I say, Atta Boys!


Cosmo is a giant schnauzer who lives on Finn Hill with his master Neil Ostroff, to whom he told this story.


Cosmo at birthday party

“Can humans be trusted?” asks Cosmo, with friends in his wolf pack– and discovers a cure for Acute Separation Anxiety.




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