Looking for Advice (10/03/07)

Dear Zelda,

I'm worried! After losing a big chunk of my retirement account in the
market during the dotcom bust and now with the shaky real estate market, I don't know where to invest my money.

I'm afraid of taking too much risk with what little I have left. What do I do?


Dear Worried,

I'm glad you asked. I happen to know a thing or two about bull markets and bear markets. My favorite, for obvious reasons, is the bull market. Wouldn't it be lovely if they renamed it the bulldog market?

You've probably heard that the three most important factors for buying real estate are “location, location and location.” Well, the three most important things for successful investing are “diversify, diversify, diversify.” To put it another way: bones, biscuits and kibble.

Okay, to you “stocks, bonds and certificates of deposit” might make more sense. But what it all boils down to is, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Spread your investment dollars over a variety of stocks and bonds and maybe a bit of real estate and a CD or two. That way, it's almost certain that some things will be up when others are down. Your prudent diversification will protect you from the kind of loss your finances suffered earlier.

I may be smart but I'm not a professional financial advisor. Ask for recommendations from friends to get yourself a good one. A professional will help you set up a portfolio that makes cents – and oodles of dollars!

Dear Zelda,
I, too, am an English Bulldog who is very photogenic and quite a ham.  How did you go about marketing yourself?  Our breed now seems to be everywhere I look. Any tips for an aspiring canine model?

P.S. Do you ever get dry skin?  If so, how does your owner help you with it?


Dear Princess,

My credo was three-fold: “Waddle and Wrinkles Work,” “Savvy and Slobber Sell,” but “Perseverance, Patience, and Pudge Prevail.”  My owner’s was two-fold:  “Why Bee Normal?” and “Think big, but watch every penny”.  While I consulted with Cheryl Tiegs, my owner scoured the town for my fashions and accessories, found a photographer and a printer, and then approached local ad agencies to see if they needed a seductive bulldog with bow-WOW.  Once the cards were produced a friend and partner helped my owner land some PR slots on local TV and facilitated some newspaper and magazine exposure.  By this time, the cards were getting rave reviews and selling like hotcakes.  With the success of this test market, my owner decided to rent a booth at the annual New York Stationery Show.  Using her experience in marketing and design, she ‘bet the farm’ and took out a full-page ad in the show catalog.  That did the trick, and got everyone’s tail over to her booth.  Meanwhile, I was home honing my Häagen Dazs-fueled modeling ethic.  From there, we appeared on such TV shows as Good Morning America and The Oprah Show.  While my owner chatted with Charlie Gibson and Oprah, I listened and looked sexy.  Book publications, signings and speaking engagements kept coming.  As she looks back, my owner feels she had all the pieces that fit the puzzle: me, a unique idea, a “they-don’t-come-any-better” photographer, a partner with experience and expertise in PR, a marketing and design background, supportive friends, a risk-taking gene and plenty of self-confidence and credibility.  She firmly believes that if you leap, a net will appear.

As far as dry skin goes, neither Zoe,  ZeeZee, nor I have ever had it.  However, “The skin is the first place where dietary problems show up,” says Dan Carey, D.V.M.  You might not be getting enough fatty acids, B-vitamins, or minerals such as zinc.  Natural Health for Dogs & Cats by Richard H. Pitcairn, D.V.M, Ph.D., could be of help to your owner.  Sounds like you’re itching to go to market.  If a door won’t open, scratch at it.


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