Well, this is a pretty rubbish strip for new readers to come in on. I bet it completely confuses the usual readers too (who, I assume, were a dash confused by the belly rub comic too).
Either you'll know right now who Vera is, or you don't. Either way, I'm not going to explain it at this time. I will just say she will be appearing occasionally in the future and all will become clearer in time. (Cue evil laughter: Bwhahahahaha!)
And don't worry, that's just a stunt idea. I think...
Don't worry, we have a nice fluffy arc coming up next week.
And remember, any random questions or comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org (I need to update the About page this weekend...)