Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: My 26-year-old daughter’s boyfriend just relocated to another city. Our daughter asked if he could travel the several hours to our home and stay with us over the holidays. We welcome him. They have been dating for the past two years and this separation has been hard on her (she is still attending a local college and lives at home). She plans to join him in his city next semester. The rub came when she announced his plans to bring his mid-size dog with him. I told her that since we just moved into our new house (which has hardwood floors and Persian rugs in all the rooms) it wouldn’t be a good idea, and the potential for unnecessary damage is great. Any repairs could be awkward and costly. Even pawing at a closed door would damage the finish. My daughter says the dog is very well-behaved and they will watch it closely when they are here; however, they plan on leaving the house to visit friends and during those periods we would have to be in charge. We had a small dog for the past 17 years. She passed away prior to our moving into this new home. In all those years we never visited friends and imposed our pet on them as a condition of our visit. My wife is inclined to let them bring the dog. Am I overly concerned, since this will be a precedent-setter?

What to Do?

DEAR WTD: I agree with you that whatever choice you make will be a precedent-setter. After your daughter moves to his city to be with her boyfriend, this dog may, in fact, become “their” dog.

I am a dog lover, and I have had long-term visitors bring their dogs without incident.

And then there was the episode with the mini-dachshunds. Those two little critters (but mainly their owner) more or less tainted the concept, along with the rugs.

My point is that dogs are as varied as people are. But you don’t know this dog. And at least one member of your family (you) would be quite unhappy having the dog in your home.

Don’t make this your problem to solve. It is theirs. You should be friendly and firm: “I vote no on having the dog with us. If he needs to cancel his trip, I understand. However, there are kennels in the area and if he brings the dog and kennels him, you can both visit him however often you want to. You can take him to the park and on outings as you scoot around the city.”

If your wife and daughter overrule you, then they will be on the hook. The couple should not expect you and your wife to dog-sit, but should take the dog with them when they visit friends.

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DEAR AMY: My husband and I have two adult children, and between them they have four young children. They live in other states and are happy and doing well career-wise. Sometimes when they are visiting us in our home state we host a large family gathering for everyone. My husband and I are hurt that no one from our families, our siblings or his parent, ever ask about them at other times of the year. We always care enough to ask them about their children and grandchildren: How are they doing? What’s new with them? We hear many stories about their grandchildren, the newest cute thing little Sally has said or done, etc. When we do interject with news of our children or our grandchildren, there is total disinterest. I don’t feel we are actually bragging. It seems that since they live far away from us that they simply don’t matter as much as those who live nearby. It just seems rude and thoughtless. Are they just poor conversationalists? Any suggestions on how we could handle this?

Loving Parents and Grandparents

DEAR LOVING: Yes, this disinterest is rude and thoughtless. These family members are poor conversationalists.

You could make this observation: “Do you realize that you never ask about our kids and grandkids?” But don’t let this rudeness change you. Your kindness is the right way to behave.

DEAR AMY: I agree with your response to “Miserable,” who had become obsessed with an old flame. I had the same problem with a crush on a co-worker. The more I tried to ignore the feeling, the worse it got. Finally, I confided in another co-worker who is a close friend of mine. She made a joke about it and him, and then my crush just disappeared. Lesson learned.

Been There

DEAR BEEN THERE: Most obsessions don’t simply go “poof,” but I agree that it is completely possible to recover, if you keep your eye on your core values.