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Can Dogs Be Valentines?
Celebrating love with other species
Marley and Karen hanging out


Late last week I was among those who received an e-mail from a friend of mine titled “Anybody wanna be Marley’s Valentine?” That was her way of selling the request for someone to walk her dog during the middle of the day today since she had to be away from the house for too long.
She went on to say that Marley is actually her Valentine, but that she has accepted that she is not the only love of his life. (It’s true—there are a lot of people who adore this dog and Marley seems quite fond of the lot of us. He is one of those dogs who tends to be particularly fond of guys, but it is my professional opinion that he loves me, too.)
I am the lucky one spending time with Marley today. Rather than just pop in for a walk, I brought him to my house, which is easier for me. It also gives me the chance to make my Valentine’s Day claim on him.
Marley and I just went for a run together. Once he has completely recovered and cooled down, he will enjoy a frozen Kong® filled with Kong® stuffing and some leftover roasted chicken. A massage is on the schedule for later on. Of course, this is exactly what we would be doing on any other day together, but I still think it’s a great way to celebrate a holiday about love.
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day in any way with your dogs?



Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer whose clinical work over the last 17 years has focused on the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in dogs, especially aggression. Karen has been writing the behavior column for The Bark since 2012 and wrote The Bark’s training column and various other articles for eight years before that. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, and teaches a tropical field biology course in Costa Rica. Karen writes an animal column, The London Zoo, which appear in The Arizona Daily Sun and is the author of five books on canine training and behavior. She is working on her next book, which she expects to be published in 2017.

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