Chicago Sun-Times

Who’s that dog in my bed?

How to tell girlfriend Lab isn’t welcome

- BY MONICA COLLINS

ASK DOG LADY

Dear Dog Lady: I recently started dating a wonderful girl who lives about an hour from me. Her dog, Macy, a chocolate Labrador retriever, has been her furry companion through the last eight years and obviously means the world to her. I’ve only known her for a month, but she continuall­y insists Macy must sleep on the bed. When Macy is closed out of the room, she whines and scratches the door until she is let in.

I slept over for the first time the other night and didn’t request any changes in their pattern because I’m new to scene. But I’m weary of dogs in the bedroom. My ex had two that were restless and would chew, lick, clean and snore throughout the night. I don’t own a dog but firmly believe a dog’s place is in its own bed and out of my main sleeping quarters.

I like this woman and don’t think the dog situation is the deal-breaker but would like to express that I can’t sleep with the dog in the same room. She will be coming to my house in a few weeks for a night or two and wants to bring Macy. Having the dog sleep on my bed is not going to fly in my house. How do I address my concerns without scaring her off?

Chris, Naperville

Dear Chris: You think about your budding relationsh­ip in a very sane, practical way, although, in Dog Lady’s humbly chaste opinion, you jumped into the sheets too soon. You should have discussed all this before leaping. Now is the time to speak up before you journey too far down the road to romance.

You must trust your wonderful girl to listen to your honest feelings about Macy in the bedroom. Your rea- sons are all perfectly understand­able. The trick will be to express these thoughts in a candid, honest way that won’t be received as angry or confrontat­ional. This tough conversati­on, straight from the heart, can cause the two of you to bond instead of break up — if the relationsh­ip is meant to be.

In her own home, your lady certainly has the right to allow Macy in the bed, and you must deal with it. In your home, you draw a different line. For her and Macy’s visit, invest in a real dog bed to put in another room. Your thoughtful­ness might move her to understand you’re thinking in a sensitive — and deliberate — direction.

Dear Dog Lady: I recently visited the West Coast, where I saw a dog grooming parlor and boutique called “High Maintenanc­e - - - - - (rhymes with ‘witch’).” I was dishearten­ed because the title of this store conveyed such needlessly in-your-face coarse language. I would hate to think the b-word is getting wide acceptance in female dog disguise. I’m the most liberal, freethinke­r in the world, but this offends me. And you?

Jessica, Chicago

Dear Jessica: Goodness, you better not go to a profession­al dog show where all one hears is the b-word and crass phrases in the eugenics parlance such as “breeding partners.” Even Dog Lady was a mite surprised to hear a Westminste­r Kennel Club commentato­r (a mumbly terrier expert) wax on about “fine bitches” on national TV.

The proprietor of the place you mentioned tries to capitalize on a snooty image that has nothing to do with dogs and everything to do with image and marketing.

The store’s name will, undoubtedl­y, turn off many potential patrons because the rude derogative panders to people who think it’s cool to paint claws red and pierce furry ears. These un-doglike excesses offend Dog Lady more than anything else.

Dog dilemmas? People/ dog indelicaci­es? Write doglady@askdoglady.com.

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