Dear Zelda Wisdom Fear Factor bulldog humor advice therapy dog advice column

Difficulties (8/2/06)

Dear Zelda,

I just found out that the love of my life was texting some woman he once knew before we got together, and she wrote him back with inappropriate contents in the text. He said it was never going anywhere, just stupidity and macho flirting. We just moved in with each other three months ago, and now I wonder if he will do it again. I know everyone makes mistakes, but I don't want to be stupid. He swears and promises that it was a major mistake, and that it will never happen again. Am I just being another one of those girls who can't see the writing on the wall? Up until this point we got along very well, and I could see myself spending the rest of my life with him. What do you think? Should I move on, or give him a chance?

Texted Out

Dear Texted Out,

I wouldn't worry about not seeing the writing on the wall; it's the texting on the phone that would keep me up at night! Now some people might say that texting, emailing, or writing letters doesn't constitute cheating in the 'no contact, no foul' school of thought. But let me guarantee you that NONE of those people have ever found their significant other writing suggestive letters or text messages to another person behind their back. If they had, I'm sure they would quickly change their tune, and the foul whistles would be a-blowin'! To me, saying that suggestive, secretive texting isn't a form of cheating just sounds a little... 'phone-y.'

That said, you have one thing to be glad about: it doesn't sound like your boyfriend was the one writing the suggestive comments. While he really shouldn't have been texting this woman in the first place, and certainly not in a way that would encourage her to write back so suggestively, it sounds like she was the one who took it to a really inappropriate level. I'm not saying he's off the hook and he definitely deserves some time in the dog house for flirting behind your back, but I wouldn't end the relationship on the basis of that incident alone. The text messaging by itself isn't unforgivable. You just need to decide if you feel you can trust him in the future.

Now would also be a good time to talk with him about your relationship and where it's headed. It may be that his little episode of textual experimentation was a result of his nervousness over moving in together with you so recently, or it may reflect something deeper. Have an open and honest conversation with him. Let him know your own doubts and fears about the process of moving in together, and get him to share some of his. In the long run, it'll make your relationship stronger to open up these channels of communication, so hopefully you won't spend the rest of your life with him wondering about the contents of his next text.


Dear Zelda,

I've been living in Los Angeles for the last fifteen years trying desperately to break into the movie business. I graduated from college with a major in theatre and have appeared in numerous small productions, and I've also had about a dozen bit parts in some movies. Right now I'm working part-time and have a small role in a new film.
Last weekend a college classmate of mine was in LA on business. He is happily married with three children and earning a big salary working in the Midwest. Seeing him and hearing about his life depressed me. We have similar backgrounds and listening to him made me feel as if I am not going anywhere and that maybe I should give up my dream of making it as an actor and look for a more reliable career. Acting is my passion, but I'm tired of trying. Is it too late to start a new life?


Dear Hollywood,

Getting together with your college classmate may not have been a casting call, but it may be a wake-up call. You've spent the last fifteen years looking at the stars and trying to reach them. Perhaps you need to quit star-gazing and take a closer look at your life here on planet earth. This doesn't mean that you need to quit acting tomorrow, just that you might take advantage of an intermission to take stock of where you are, what you value, and where you'd like to see yourself in ten years.

Does your work as an actor make you happy? You said that "acting is my passion," then added "but I'm tired of trying." However, would you be willing to trade places with your classmate and move to the Midwest in order to work in a corporate job and raise a family? The grass is truly always greener on the other side of the fence, so before you go buying yourself a set of power ties and dusting off your resume, think about whether you'd really be willing to live that daily grind in order to have more job security and personal stability. If acting is your dream, only you have the power to make it come true.

On the other hand, it's never too late to start over. My owner started Zelda Wisdom Inc. at age 52. Even if you choose a new career path, it doesn't mean you have to leave acting altogether. Didn't Shakespeare say "all the world's a stage?" Should you choose to make a change and even move away from Los Angeles, most communities have theatres, and for better or worse, in business you can certainly call upon your acting skills. Acting even helped Ronald Reagan get elected President!  What's important is that you sit down, take the time to prioritize what you value in your life, and make concrete plans to try and achieve your goals. Remember the only opinion that counts is YOURS!  You write the script on this one.


Dear Zelda,
We have been having a heat wave here. My two dogs really don't like the heat at all. It's a good thing that we have air conditioning at our house, but I would like to let them stay outside. I think they get tired of staying inside all the time. What is your advice to keep dogs cool in the "dog days" of summer without moving to the beach?
Panting in Portland

Dear Panting in Portland,

Dog gone it's hot, and in the summer the living isn't always easy for us canines. Actually, the summer heat can be extremely dangerous, especially for those of us with a little extra insulation (I'm not pointing any paws.). So here are a few of my tips for chillin' out on those hot, humid dog days of summer.

My first, and probably most important piece of advice is that when we're outside we should always have cool, clean, refreshing drinking water available.  I think a spill-proof bowl is de rigueur if your owner isn't going to be out there with you at all times. The second absolute necessity is shade. Never, never, never leave us without a place that provides all-day shade. It can be a large beach umbrella or an overhang, but it needs to remain shaded even when the sun shifts. And when it's extremely hot, or in the heat of the day, we need to move indoors.

Another trick my owner keeps up her sleeve is that she fills a big plastic bowl, or even an empty 1/2 gallon milk carton, with flavored water.  She varies the flavors with a few squeezes of lemon juice or a dash of chicken bouillon. You can be creative here... pomegranate pickle juice or liquor-free margarita mix? Now we're talkin.' She pops the container in the freezer, and when the liquid turns slushy, inserts a sturdy stick in the middle.  Think of it as a giant pup-cicle. When Zoe, ZeeZee and I are outside she removes the frozen giant pup-cicle from its container, flips it over and sticks it in the ground. In no time our treat has taken a licking... by us. And since we dogs control our temperature mainly through our tongues, it's a great way for us to beat the heat. Cool, huh?

There are also a variety of products you can find in pet stores, like Fill-n-Freeze bones and Cool-It bandanas.  There is even a product called an Outward Hound Hydration System that lets us carry around our own water supply for long walks (! And for the really cool canine, there are also Miracool Mats, which you soak in cold water. When we stretch out on them, we're cool and comfy for a long time.

I hope these suggestions are helpful, and that you'll manage to keep your dogs from getting too hot under the collar this summer. When in doubt, be conservative and bring them inside; it's amazing how fast we overheat, particularly when it's scorching outside. But here at Team Zelda we're definitely staying cool, and now you can be too!