Wedding Woes

Put your foot down with your H and your SD, and keep it there.

Dear Prudence, 

My adult stepdaughter wants to move back home to save money. The problem is her multiple animals: three cats, a dog, and a bunch of rodents. Both I and our young son are very allergic. Even with medicine, any kind of animal dander will have us sneezing and tearing up. Our house has an open floor plan. My stepdaughter says she will clean and vacuum every day but I know that will not be enough.

I am fine with her moving back in, but not with the menagerie. My husband has always had a soft touch for his only daughter, but there is no way to compromise with our health. My stepdaughter refuses to consider any other options like looking into temporary fostering or finding like-minded roommates. She also insulted me and called me an animal hater. Her mother has moved out of state. I have always not pushed on anything with her since she was a teenager when I met her father, but why do I have to be the bad guy here?


—No Pets

Re: Put your foot down with your H and your SD, and keep it there.

  • No is not a four letter word. 

    Judgy Banana: If you do not have a stable living situation do not get pets.  You are committing yourself to the animal as they are to you and that also includes financing their health.  If you aren't financially stable to be on your own then you should not own four normal animals with their own financial costs plus rodents as well. 

    Tell the daughter that she's welcome and the animals are not because the sheer amount of them is more than daily maintenance can handle and you'll happily help look for fostering situations to look after them while she's getting back on her feet so she can get back to living with them as soon as possible. 
  • ei34 said:
    I'm sensing a touch of a husband-problem here.  LW shouldn't be left hanging like the bad's awesome that H has a soft spot for his daughter but LW being called an animal hater isn't cool.  I'm not allergic and would welcome one of my adult kids back but not with a bunch of pets in tow.
    Also all of that.  Four larger animals plus rodents??  That's A LOT.  And I don't want it in my house even though I'm not the one with the allergies.  I still have a working nose.
  • When people do someone a favor, they get to make the rules.  It's just that simple.

    It also sounds like the SD isn't even in a crisis, ie about to be evicted.  She wants to save money.  Which is a great plan, but only if she isn't an imposition to other people.  And moving 4+ pets into a home where two people are highly allergic to animal dander is a major imposition.

    Another thought is building a shed with temperature controls in the backyard for the animals.  But it would need to be the right backyard situation.  Like fully fenced in and large enough.  And would also only be feasible cost-wise, if the SD is looking for a long-time stay.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Yeah, i'm admittedly not an animal lover at all (there will be no pets in my house literally ever) but this is ridiculous. Tell your H the animals can't move in.  If it becomes a fight then it's pretty clear where his priorities lie and I wouldn't blame LW from moving with from that relationship. 
  • So I’m more on the animal lover side (one dog, one cat H was is allergic to) and this is a lot to ask of anyone, even animal lovers! 

    You made a generous offer and if your husband wants to temporarily, financially help his daughter find a pet friendly space that’s also a generous offer. But this ask is  simply too much and you’re not terrible for saying so. 
  • I adore animals, but I get to pick which ones live with me. And I agree that this is a marriage problem. Husband needs to put his wife above his daughter. Period. This doesn't mean he can't help her out and let her move in, but it does mean he has to put his wife's health (and interests) above those of his daughter. I swear, half the letters to advice columns are from people whose spouses don't put them ahead of other relationships; the other half are "I got drunk and slept with this wrong person, oops."
  • I am an animal lover. At one time we had three dogs for several years. Four dogs plus rodents is a hard no. Rodents are highly allergenic (more so than dogs). That is just too much to ask of anyone especially someone with allergies. Yes, LW needs to talk to H and he must back her up with this. That, or there is a much bigger problem with the marriage.
  • The husband should absolutely be the one to shut his daughter down knowing his wife and other child are severely allergic.  
  • You shouldn't have to be the bad guy, LW. Your husband should be doing it. 
  • I just *love* the people who say "I can vacuum every day" after their pets not realizing that translates into "I can make the dander airborne daily so what was already triggering your allergies is going to be 10x worse than what it would otherwise be!"   It's the same as the people who say they'll pick the shrimp out of the soup so the person with the shellfish allergy can have some!  It's the "Allergies don't work that way SD!" and I'm guessing the husband doesn't get it at all either.  

    Zero to Four dogs and rodents - hard no even in the most ideal situation for those who do not have pets nor the "pet lifestyle"!!!  
  • The husband should absolutely be the one to shut his daughter down knowing his wife and other child are severely allergic.  
    I do not understand the mentality that feelings come before health.   It's also a great point that it's not simple enough to "just vacuum" because there's way more that's airborne. 
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