A question to the New York Times’ “The Ethicist” raised multiple issues, perhaps the least interesting of which was the subject of the letter:
My brother-in-law and his wife adopted a dog a year ago. Since then, every time they have come over to our home, they have brought the dog too. My husband and children aren’t incredibly fond of pets. This creates some uncomfortable situations for us. I don’t think we truly enjoy their company, because they are always running around after the dog while they are with us. I have tried to indirectly hint that getting a dog sitter may be an option, but that’s hit or miss.
Nowadays we don’t feel that comfortable inviting them over as often. I feel sad, because it’s creating a distance between us. Shouldn’t they just accept the fact that not everyone is comfortable with a pet and find ways to leave it at home (for a few hours) instead of taking it with them everywhere they go? I hate bringing this up with my husband, because I know he is torn as well. How can we delicately and politely let them know without hurting their feelings?
“The Ethicist,”, issued the obvious answer: it is ethics blindness for visitors not to seek permission to bring their dogs to another home (even if the dog isn’t a Caucasian Shepherd like the one above), but also irresponsible for a family being inflicted with an unwanted canine guest to keep its resentment secret so it can fester. The brother-in-law should be told that his family dog isn’t welcome.
I was bothered by other things in the letter: Continue reading