DEAR AMY: Over the past dozen years, a friend of mine has volunteered to stop by the house to let my dogs out during the day while I am at work. This friend works from home and when out running errands, stops by to see the dogs. In return, I have provided the family with a purebred dog from my breeding program (I breed and show dogs as a hobby), keep two of their dogs groomed and order food for her dogs when I place my order. Recently I installed a security system at my place, and one of the features is tracking when the doors are opened and closed. I have discovered that the noon visits have mostly stopped, yet I get emails telling me stories of the dog’s exploits, even though there is no record of a visit. I have tested all of the monitors on the doors and they work perfectly, so basically I have discovered that my dogs have been in the house for 10-plus hours each day with no relief. I have noticed an increasing number of “accidents” in the house. This is an issue with our breed, a well-known health risk. While I can find another option to take care of the dogs’ noon visits, I am most concerned about the fact that this friend is consistently lying to me, and yet acts as if nothing has changed. Should I confront the friend and ask what is going on? This will certainly impact the friendship, which is a shame because we are involved in numerous activities together.

Dog Drama

DEAR DRAMA: Yes, you should confront your friend. You have these dogs that require a consistent level of expertise and care, and yet you are counting on a fairly casual arrangement with a friend for their daily care. I realize you have compensated this friend over the years, but it still seems like a large lift to expect someone to do this every day, basically as a favor.

Ask your friend if this has become too much for her. You should be honest about your new security system and what it has revealed, tell her that you understand if she sometimes can’t make it to your house at noon, and simply give her an out, if she wants. Thank her sincerely for the many years she has done this.

Your dogs’ care and their health is really your responsibility (not hers), and it might be time for you to hire a compensated professional.

DEAR AMY: My husband is furious that I did not tell him about a private episode in my sister’s life, which had nothing to do with him or me. He feels that since we are married, he had a right to know about it. I feel that it was hers to tell if she wanted to. Then it came out that another family member spoke about it, and he can’t get over that I didn’t tell him. This is apparently never going to be forgotten. He goes into a rage when he mentions it and says he can’t trust me. Is he justified?

Respectful of Privacy

DEAR RESPECTFUL: No, your husband’s anger is not justified.

Married couples should tell one another news that is relevant to their relationship; they should certainly not keep their own secrets from one another. But it is not a spouse’s duty to disclose the secrets or challenges of other family members, unless this issue has an important bearing on the spouse’s marriage.

You say your sister’s ”private episode” has nothing to do with either of you. If she wanted your husband to know about it, she would have told him. You are not withholding news, but respecting another person’s privacy.

You should reassure your husband that he can trust you to be discerning and discreet.

DEAR AMY: I’ve never been tempted to respond, but your terse response to “Unappreciated Stepmom” has my blood boiling. You say that children don’t have a duty to be grateful to their parents. I couldn’t disagree more. I am very grateful to my parents for all they did for me. You come off as more of a brat than the stepdaughter described in this letter.


DEAR UPSET: I maintain that children don’t have this duty to feel grateful to their parents while they are children — it is later in life, when children put things into perspective, that they should tap into their gratitude, express it and pay it forward to their own children.


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