Read Request Week 2021 #6: Krissy and Dogs

Krissy and Charlie.
John Scalzi

Susanpeak asks:

What is it about Krissy that dogs like so much? You mentioned that Charlie has already attached strongly to her, and I remember Kodi did so as well (and I assume Daisy?). Why?

I should note it’s not just our dogs. I honestly have yet to meet a single dog that does not more or less instantly fall in love with Krissy and swear fealty to her and her entire line. Krissy tells me that when she goes out on house inspections (she’s an insurance claims adjuster) she often meets dogs, and they almost always come up to her and are friendly and want love. And then their owner will come out and say something like “That’s Chauncy, he hates everyone and tried to eat the neighbors’ children, I don’t understand why he likes you.”

Part of it is I think dogs are pretty good judges of who likes dogs and who doesn’t, and Krissy, as a rule, likes dogs. She’s not scared of them and doesn’t project an air of uncertainty when approaching them. If Krissy’s somewhere, she means to be somewhere. Krissy is not foolish around dogs, mind you — if one was acting aggressive and angry, I don’t think she’d be heedless of what the dog was doing — and she’s respectful of animals as a general rule. But she’s also not trepidatious. When she sees a dog, she’s generally happy to see that dog, whatever dog it is. And dogs, as a general rule, like when people like them.

Part of it is that Krissy gives off “pack leader” vibes at all times. I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that Krissy is the head of the Scalzi family, both nuclear and extended — she’s extremely capable and gets results, and is sensible and level-headed. We all pretty much look to her to get things done and to get us all doing what we need to do.

(I’m not running myself down here, I’ll note — I’m useful for long-term planning, creative solutions to difficult issues, and funding the whole operation. But I’m also the person who, when Krissy first moved in with me, was on third notice on all his bills because he couldn’t be bothered to get stamps, despite working literally next to the post office. Krissy is in charge of things, and I’m very happy that she is.)

Dogs are pack animals; one of the things they do is figure out who is really running the show. Any dog who is with us longer than a day figures out Krissy is the pack leader. Clearly they are going to give their allegiance to her. I don’t mind. It’s not like they don’t like or love me, or refuse to acknowledge that they should be listening to me when I tell them to come inside or to stop bothering the cats. It’s just clear they like and love and look to Krissy more. I get it! I think she’s pretty great, too.

Finally, and importantly, Krissy is super-demonstrative of her affection for her pups, which is also keeping in line with Krissy’s personality generally. Krissy is polite and self-contained with people she meets until she decides she likes them; after that point she’ll help you bury a body in the woods if it came to that, whether or not that body was still moving at the time. So when a dog becomes part of the family, they get all of that affection and loyalty.

Who can resist that? No one can resist that, that’s who. Certainly not a pup! Krissy is a dog’s best friend, basically. Again, I totally get it. Krissy is the best.

(There’s still time to get in a topic request for this year’s Reader Request Week — go here to learn how to do it and to leave a topic suggestion!)

— JS

19 Comments on “Read Request Week 2021 #6: Krissy and Dogs”

  1. I think that this may be the first time I remember you sharing the nature of Krissy’s job.

  2. One of the things I like best about you is how willing and able you are to articulate how awesome you think Krissy is. :-)

  3. Bob Seevers:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before, but the archives are vast.


    Well, I mean, you know. She’s great.

  4. Used to have a neighbor who had two pit bulls. Sweet dogs, strong enough to tow your car. He was NOT the pack leader, never really had control of them. His grown kid could. He got remarried and his new wife could control them. But when he was walking them, they were in charge, and he wasn’t.

  5. I met Krissy very briefly at the bar on a JoCo cruise and was overjoyed that she was 1) just as gorgeous as she appears in your photos (it ain’t all photo shop tricks folks, she truly is stunning) and 2) was unfailingly kind and generous to my socially awkward attempts to speak with her even though I wasn’t sure it was kosher to recognize her as she isn’t officially a performer and thus had no obligation to be nice or speak to me.

  6. Lol. It’s the same with me. I’m not even a dog person. It’s not that I don’t like them, but I prefer cats. They are also permanent toddlers. I travel for a living, and it’s hard enough to leave my cat.
    Dogs just come to me. I’ve had people freak out because the dog is not usually friendly. My usual comment is ‘I think a rabid dog would come and try to lick me’.
    Your new dog is totally adorable, BTW.

  7. I am reminded of one of my favorite sayings….

    Dogs have owners,

    Cats have staff.

  8. I have a friend like this, to the extreme, but I’ve only seen him around dogs owned by a mutual friend. It’s like “OMG he’s at the door/coming in? MUST GOT NUTS AND RUN AROUND AND JUMP!” To the point of being so hyper and jumpy, very minor little doggy accidents sometimes. Because OMG SO EXCITE over my friend’s existence.

    I suspect my friend gives off unusual pheromones the dogs react to. I’d love to do some clinical trials with other dogs; I don’t actually know how other dogs react to him, just the two I remember.

  9. Krissy is polite and self-contained with people she meets until she decides she likes them; after that point she’ll help you bury a body in the woods if it came to that, whether or not that body was still moving at the time.

    Stunningly gorgeous is great and all, but this is really what you should be looking for in a life partner. Now when I meet someone whom dogs always like I may begin to assume they’re potentially will-help-bury-a-body friend material. Not sure what this says about me because while I’m really not a dog person, dogs always love me and want to get up in my business. Although, yes, if you’re a friend I may grumble a bit but I’ll show up with a shovel if you ask.

  10. My favourite line from the weekly Doris Day show was when she spit out, “Anyone who doesn’t like dogs, doesn’t like people!”

    So I like how “polite self contained” Krissy likes people.

  11. Thank you for choosing my question! And an interesting answer, too. Dogs like me in that they will, eg, veer across the path to come and say hello, but it’s not the intensity of response that Krissy evidently evokes.

  12. Every time you post a new photo of Krissy, I think ‘oooh, this is the best picture of Krissy yet!’ But this time, I think you may have acme’d Mr. Scalzi. I look forward to seeing you best this one. Much admiration for the both of you. M

  13. I find that it is so true that people who understand dog’s body language are liked better by dogs.

    When you know what their ear, tail, and posture mean, you’re not scared and they sense that. (Pack leader ‘vibes’ seal the deal though…I can’t imagine you or Athena can’t also tell when a dog is hurt, scared, sick, frightened, happy, playful, curious, etc.)

  14. I sincerely hope this is a representative vision of 2021…all things getting better and happier with dogs. I have a tee shirt that says: Life goal, petting all the dogs.