Dogs need rules, too
Q My partner and I live in the city and have a cottage up north for which we bought new furniture. We love to entertain family and friends and try to accommodate our guests’ needs.
We both love dogs, grew up with dogs, and, as adults, have had our own in the past. What we cannot accept is poorly behaved dogs and their lenient owners.
We end up policing the dogs while the owners ignore it all. This causes us great discomfort and stress.
Close family members requested to visit our cottage just after Christmas. We wanted to enjoy the holidays with them.
We insisted (after a previous disastrous 24-hour visit when they brought three dogs and we were left cleaning for hours) that this time the visit not include their dogs. Their immediate response was upsetting: “If we can’t bring the dogs then we can’t come to your cottage.”
We said we’d visit them at their cabin instead. However, they later messaged that they now don’t feel welcome at our cottage and their feelings were hurt.
Should we have done something differently? Uncomfortable
Your cottage, your rules. You should’ve posted your boundaries from the start, as in, “Dear Guests: We’ve created a special home away from home with new furnishings and a wish for the same respect for our surroundings as in the city. Dogs are welcome IF their owners keep them well behaved, prevent avoidable dirt brought inside, disallow table-begging and clean up any messes that do occur.”
That way, everyone’s forewarned that it’ll otherwise be a shortened, and sole visit.
Meanwhile, since you care for and want an ongoing relationship with your miffed family members, you need to tell them so. Simply state that everyone’s entitled to different pet- and cottage-lifestyles, but you regret not stating your ways sooner.
Agree to get together in the city, out for a dinner as your guests (meaning that you pay) to get past the “misunderstanding.”
Next year, arrange early to visit their cabin.