Relationships and Scaredy Dogs

By Dawn Bright


Dear Dawn,

My girlfriend and I have been together for about a year. We like hanging out together and have had some fun. The problem is we only do things she likes. She won’t go to the movies or concerts, for example, and seems to only like going to the beach. I’m redheaded and fair-skinned so have never been a beach person. What should I do? 

– Shawn O. from Destin



This is an easy one, Shaun. You both continue doing things you like to do, alone or with other friends, but you also find activities to do together that you both like. You’ve been together long enough where you probably have some insights into each other’s likes and dislikes. And if you don’t, shame on you!


A relationship is not just about hanging out and having fun. It’s about getting to know each other and making life decisions based on what you find out. If you continue down this path of only doing what she likes to do, you’ll begin to resent her for keeping you from the things you enjoy. So have some fun together, have some fun doing your own thing, and enjoy the benefits of a strong, fun-loving relationship.

Dear Dawn,

I just got home from a concert that I was super excited about going to. My girlfriend hadn’t heard of this band before, so I was anxious to have her hear them too. But guess what? She didn’t like them at all! Is this a deal-breaker?   

Bryan S. from Miramar Beach



Wow, Bryan. A deal-breaker because you don’t like the same music? Sounds to me like you’re looking for a reason to break up with her. And if that’s the case, then just do it. There’s absolutely no reason to waste any more time with someone that you’re simply waiting to break up with.


I know from experience there is no perfect person, and that everyone comes with their own set of “problem areas.” The key is finding someone you get along with the majority of the time, share some common interests with, and who keeps you interested and excited to be with. It sounds to me like you aren’t with that person, so move on and give yourselves a chance to find that “right” person.

Dear Dawn,

I just moved here recently from a place where we never had thunderstorms. I knew both of my dogs were afraid of fireworks, but had no idea how terrified they would become over a thunderstorm. I feel really bad for them. Any advice on how to help them through this issue?

– Becky L. from Ocean City



Becky, if I had the absolute definitive answer for this one I’d be a zillionaire! Everyone I know has stories about how terrified their dogs are during storms. I have four dogs, two little Chihuahuas and two large labs. The Chihuahuas could care less about the storms, but the labs? Scared out of their minds. They tremble so bad I can feel the floor shake. I’ve tried the thunder jacket (didn’t work for mine, but it does work for some), playing loud music (didn’t help, they could still hear/feel the storm, plus we have different tastes in music), giving them a “safe” location (the only location they’re interested in is my lap, and at around 100 pounds each, that’s a sight to see), behaving normally myself (this is supposed to show them nothing is wrong, but they don’t believe me), and changing their location (another memorable sight, me trying to drag two giant dogs into a car during a storm).


None of that stuff works. The only thing that works in my house is to be home with them, let them sit with/on me, and pet and talk soothingly to them while the storm progresses. Astraphobia (the fear of thunder and lightning) is a real thing, especially with dogs! These wild thunderstorms are pretty common in Northwest Florida, so if you and your furbabies plan to stay, keep trying different techniques until you find one that works for you. And to everyone out there with pets who are afraid of fireworks, be sure they are safe this July 4th. Check that your gates are locked if they can get outside, and that there’s no chance they can run away during the festivities.


Happy Independence Day, everyone!


Dawn Bright is an eternal optimist. And that’s pretty much all you need to know about her. Email your questions to


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