Wedding Woes

Start offering to host?

Dear Prudence,

Let me start off by saying I love animals. I have two dogs at the moment, but have had dogs, cats, and horses in my life. While I love animals, I love my children more. I have three children: two older teens and a newborn. My sister has three as well:two grown and one in middle school.

Our mom is local and lives on a large property with a pond. Every holiday and get-together, my sister has taken to bringing her dog, who has plenty of other opportunities to run around at parks and lakes (and does!). My mom also has a dog, a shelter mix, who bit my eldest son once for being loud. Both of them treat their dogs like their children. Neither has been around a baby.

Over Thanksgiving, we brought our newborn to my mom’s place for the first time. My sister brought her dog, and my mom’s dog was there. Both dogs were eyeing my son in a way that made us nervous. When he cried, the dogs seemed agitated and at one point I felt my mom’s dog was acting aggressive (but I did not allow her near him). My mom said the dogs were not used to a baby and that his cry bothered them. As my eldest was bitten for making a loud noise, this is an obvious concern.

My sister agreed, just for Christmas, to leave her dog at home. My stepdad put their dog in his truck, as she would have “destroyed the house” if they tried to leave her in a bedroom. So, the situation was resolved for one event, but I am concerned as to what I should do going forward. My sister wants to bring her dog to future events, and my mom’s dog still lives there. As my son starts getting more mobile, I don’t know what to do. Am I being unreasonable to ask them to leave their dogs at home/put away during events? How do I approach this in a way that doesn’t make everyone mad at me, while keeping my son safe?

— Kids Before Canines

Re: Start offering to host?

  • Don't go or offer to host everyone without their dogs. People trump pets every time. 
  • Offer to host more events while the baby is moving and say that the invitation is extended to humans.

    As you start to get to go to other events at their homes can you possibly bring a baby gate with you for the little one?  They can be really useful so that your kiddo doesn't get into things and it keeps others out.  When it's naptime ask for a compromise that your kid sleeps in a dog free room.   
  • I wouldn't allow mom's dog around my kids anymore and if that meant I had to host everything and lay down rules, I would.

    LW is probably apprehensive, for good reason, after the bite.  Honestly, from the few details she's thrown out, these dog owners don't sound in control of their dogs.  I'd host or refuse to go if the dogs went.  It's not that hard, it SUCKS, but this isn't a hard decision.  I honestly feel like half of Prudie's letters would die off if people would just realize that.

    I always allowed my friends to bring over their dogs, b/c my dogs were friendly (with some caveats) and I didn't mind.  One friend lost that privilege b/c his dog was so ill trained and misbehaved b/c of it.
  • The dogs are showing every sign that they cannot be trusted around a baby.  The mom's dog already bit the older son because he was too loud!  Yet, despite that, it sounds like the parents aren't taking it more seriously.  On the one hand, it's not fair for the dog to always have to be put in someone's car.  Because it apparently can't be trusted to be in a room by itself either.  But then that just means the family needs to start meeting more often at the LW's place, without their dogs.  Or maybe getting together at other places, like a restaurant or park (without dogs).

    Not quite the same thing, but years ago we had a friend who took in a kitten that he found abandoned in the street.  I'm going to preface this story that the kitten was fine at all times and not in any danger.

    Our cat Nip (RIP) was nervous with other animals, so we asked our friend if we could bring the kitten to our house for the afternoon.  Hoping that Nip would recognize another cat, but one that was too small to be any threat.  Plus the bonus for us of watching adorable kitten antics for a little while.

    I know now, that was stupid and naive.  One of us stayed with Nip, while one of us stayed with the kitten.  Each in a separate room, but with the door open so they could see each other.  We hoped Nip would at least be curious and we could start moving them a bit closer together to try playing.

    OMG, no, lmao.  Our normally sweet and gentle cat saw the kitten and her expression immediately changed to the same way she would look at a mouse.  Slunk down.  Ears flattened against her head.  Eyes slitted.

    We waited a little longer to see if, after she calmed down, if Nip would seem at least a little friendlier.  The person with Nip would distract her and play with her.  The other person stayed right next to the kitten at all times for its safety.  But every time Nip noticed the kitten from across the room again, it was the same predatory look and stance.  All righty then.  Mission aborted!  We brought that cute, little guy back to our friend a couple hours early.  Nip's behavior showed she could not be trusted with kittens.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • The dog can't be trusted to be in a room alone?  That seems extremely problematic.  Maybe I'm lucky with my dog - the only thing she wrecks is my lawn.  

  • kerbohl said:
    The dog can't be trusted to be in a room alone?  That seems extremely problematic.  Maybe I'm lucky with my dog - the only thing she wrecks is my lawn.  
    This part I do understand. A lot of dogs do get destructive or have stomach issues when they're anxious, especially high energy and "velcro" breeds. From the dog's perspective, they're suddenly locked in a room while there are lots of sounds and activity in the rest of the house. That's going to create a lot of fear and anxiety. 

    It's piss poor dog parenting, though. You have to crate train dogs that get anxious and acclimate them to situations like this. I'll get off my soap box now. I just get so annoyed at people who get dogs and then don't understand why they act like dogs. 
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