Many of you own dogs, so I’m hoping you’ll have some advice on a little interpersonal problem I’ve got going on. My sister-in-law S lives about two hours away, and since Bun Bun’s birth, she’s wanted to come up aaaaall the damn time. I don’t blame her, Bun Bun is awesome! And I like S, though I’d rather not have visitors…really ever, but I understand that this is not reasonable. However, S has a dog, and I hate the dog. NOTE: I’m sure YOUR dog/s is/are wonderful and fabulous and well-behaved, so don’t interpret anything I might say as a slight against your personal dog. This dog is not like your dog. This dog has been around us for about three years, but still growls at us and tries to bite (okay, NIP, but a nip is just a small BITE) us every time we move.
I understand that expectations about dogs have shifted. When I was young, dogs were pets, and you didn’t assume that your dog was invited or welcome. And I also remind myself that S has kind of a premature spinster thing going on, and that this dog is her main source of companionship. So for these reasons, and because it’s my basic duty to be polite to my sister-in-law, I’ve sucked it up when the dog makes me feel afraid and tense in my own home, but then came Thanksgiving. The dog bit (OKAY, NIPPED!) a three year old, and Ss response was…not cool. She was upset and sorry, but she didn’t apologize to the parents and, when talking to me, she blamed the child for provoking the dog. The provocation consisted in moving quickly. A dog that can’t be around quick movement without biting can’t be around children.
In any case, now that Bun Bun is crawling, I’m increasingly unhappy about the dog. I think S would be happy to put the dog in the basement when she arrived and just get it out for walks, but it would all be so much NICER if she’d not bring the dog at ALL and if we could see her without those tense dog-related interactions. So I asked Mr. Bunny how he’d feel about broaching the subject with her. He’s said he’s pretty sure she’ll be offended and hurt, but that he’s up for it.
Soooo, any wisdom from those of you with dogs in the family? Am I being unreasonable in thinking she could not bring her pet? I understand she’d have to arrange and pay for care, and that’s a non-trivial pain in the ass. And, second. regardless of whether or not my desire not to be around her growling, biting dog is reasonable, can you imagine a way for Mr. Bunny to express this request that would not upset you too much if it were your dog? Or is it like that BAD, BITING TODDLER, where there’s just not a damn thing you can say to the parents that will get them to realize its behavior is over the line?