Re­ac­tion to ill-be­haved dogs miffs fam­ily

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Arts & Life - EL­LIE Ad­vice Colum­nist El­lie Tesher is an ad­vice colum­nist for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your ques­tions via email: el­[email protected]­

Q: My part­ner and I live/work 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: dogs on the sofa, on beds, beg­ging at the ta­ble, al­lowed in the cot­tage after rolling in sand right after be­ing in the lake … and more.

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.

Are we in the wrong here? Should we have done some­thing dif­fer­ently? Un­com­fort­able

A: 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.

Per­son­ally, I’ve had dogs and vis­ited oth­ers’ well-fur­nished homes, never feel­ing that my dogs’ rights were greater than those of the own­ers.

Mean­while, since you care for and want an on­go­ing re­la­tion­ship with your miffed fam­ily mem­bers, you need to say 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.

FEED­BACK Re­gard­ing the preg­nant woman who had cheated on her hus­band with some­one of a dif­fer­ent race:

Reader: “She was wor­ried that she’d de­liver a mixed-race baby and her hus­band would find out she’d cheated on him.

“I agree whole­heart­edly with you that she needs to tell him about what she did. But what about the bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther of this child? This man also has the right to know he has a child and whether he wants a role in be­ing a par­ent to it.

“This woman un­for­tu­nately got her­self into a big mess. Too bad she didn’t feel able to go to a ther­a­pist and talk to some­one about the loss and grief of her pre­vi­ous in­fer­til­ity with her hus­band.”

El­lie: The “mess” in­volves an in­no­cent child’s life, so yes, she needs to tell the bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther, once she’s sure who is the fa­ther as there were sev­eral pos­si­bil­i­ties.

But her first worry was the hus­band she wants to keep … if that’s pos­si­ble, de­pend­ing on his na­ture and re­ac­tion.

Even if the baby re­flects his and her race, she needs to con­fess her cheat­ing.

In many cases, a part­ner finds out any­ways, and it’s a much big­ger “mess” that way.

El­lie’s tip of the day

Whether it’s about vis­it­ing dogs or peo­ple, state your bound­aries on be­hav­iour up­front.

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