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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Grizabella Offline
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Name: Jessica
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My dog, my sister, and her children - October 7th 2009, 05:51 PM

For several months my sister was living with her fiance and two children (8 months and 3 years) in London, Ontario, with the fiance's mother. Recently they seem to have gotten into some kind of disagreement with my sister's mother-in-law, and so moved back to our hometown, basically inviting themselves to live in my mother's house until they can find their own apartment. My mom is glad to help them for a short period of time, but although she'd never say it to them, she does not want this to be a permanent arrangement; she's never said anything to my sister, but she does not like the fiance at all, and is uncomfortable with having the four of them staying there for a long time. And they seem to be making themselves quite comfortable. My sister has applied for work as a nurse, and her fiance is looking for part-time work while he goes to school, but as of yet they haven't found anything, so are basically putting the cost of all four of them on my mother. So far my other sister and I have been keeping silent, not wanting to get into the middle of it.

But lately, my sister is having problems with our cocker spaniel. It's mine and my other sister's dog, but we haven't found anywhere to live here that lets us have pets, so for the time being the dog lives with our mother (we give her money to feed it, bring it to the vet etc). The dog is trained, and it has a pretty mild temperment, but it's not used to being around children. The three year old pulls its tail, yanks its ears, and my sister does nothing to stop her. My dog's never aggressive in a normal situation, but of course if something's yanking on its ears, it's going to snap a bit. This is getting to be a problem, so my mom has asked my sister to a) try to teach her child not to be rough with the dog and b) not leave her unsupervised with the dog. My sister is doing neither. She's never really liked the dog, even before she had children. Last night, the toddler yanked the dog's tail, and the dog snapped at her. She didn't hurt her bad, didn't even draw blood from what I understand, but it scared my niece. My sister is now freaking out that our dog is 'uncontrollable', and is trying to demand that my mother get rid of it, because it's dangerous to her children. I could understand if she had tried to watch her child around my dog, or tried to teach her how to behave around it - but she won't do anything. I'm already angry because my sister is living there free, on her own invitation, expecting my mother to support her, her fiance, and their children. Now she wants to kick our pets out of the house? I don't think my mother would get rid of the dog, but if it keeps being a problem, I don't know. I want to say something to my sister, but she doesn't take lightly to criticisms of her parenting. How can I politely bring up that she needs to actually start watching her children around the dog, and needs to respect that she and her fiance are guests in my mother's home?


Not around so much now that school's started

"Live a good life.
If there are gods and they are just,
then they will not care how devout you have been,
but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.
If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.
If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life
that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."
Marcus Aurelius
   
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Re: My dog, my sister, and her children - October 7th 2009, 09:19 PM

Hi Jessica,

I know that you are worried about getting in the middle of this, and since it is your mom's house it is probably best to talk to your mom first. Since you are not living there with your mom it isn't really right for you to tell your sister that her and her fiance are just guests. That is something your mom should make clear, whether or not she is comfortable doing it.

Try to bring this up to your mom and let her know that you are worried about the situation. I don't think your mom would outright refuse your sister and her fiance in her house, because they are family and they are in a situation where they need to stay somewhere. But at the same time you should ask your mom to keep talking to them and asking them about when they can get jobs and where they have been looking lately.

It seems that your sister is not really respecting your dog and isn't bothering to be a good parent to her children by letting them know that harming the dog is dangerous. In this case, I think it should be up to your mom to tell the kids what is good to do to the dog (like petting the dog) and what isn't. It is your mom who is taking care of the dog and who is primarily responsible for it right now.

If talking to the kids and telling them not to harm the dog doesn't work, then you may need to ask your mom to confine the dog to certain areas of the house or in the backyard. It is not fair to the dog, I know, but if your dog is not around the children, then nothing bad will happen. Also, if the dog does end up biting one of the children through self defense and your sister complains to an authority about it, then there is a chance that your dog could be taken away and put down.

I think that a lot of this is your mom's responsibility, but make sure you talk to her and that she knows that she needs to be clear to your sister about what is and is not appropriate in her house.

Take care.
Nat.


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Re: My dog, my sister, and her children - October 7th 2009, 09:31 PM

The situations with the dog are mostly happening when my mother is at work - when my mother is home with them, she always stops my niece from bothering the dog. My house is in a fairly bad area - the dog absolutely cannot be left outside alone, because the children in the neighbourhood constantly harrass it by throwing sticks and rocks at it. For that we've informed the police, so that if she does bite one of the neighbourhood kids, there's a record of them provoking her, but we're not sure what to do about my sister's daughter.


Not around so much now that school's started

"Live a good life.
If there are gods and they are just,
then they will not care how devout you have been,
but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.
If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.
If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life
that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."
Marcus Aurelius
   
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Strider Offline
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Re: My dog, my sister, and her children - October 7th 2009, 09:38 PM

In that case, do you have a friend who would be able to look after the dog instead of your mom? I know it isn't your mom's fault that she isn't there the whole time to look after the dog, but it may be better for your dog to stay somewhere else until your sister gets on her feet.


http://img401.imageshack.us/img401/40/signaturep.png
The great artists of our time are the ones who created something timeless. But it was never them defining it that way.
Everyone has a story. What's yours?
   
  (#5 (permalink)) Old
Grizabella Offline
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Re: My dog, my sister, and her children - October 7th 2009, 09:42 PM

My mother has a fiance who lives in the States, and is visiting right now - he'll be leaving to the States in about 4 days. When he goes, if there are still problems he'll take our dog with him, my older sister and I are just worried about between now and then.


Not around so much now that school's started

"Live a good life.
If there are gods and they are just,
then they will not care how devout you have been,
but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.
If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.
If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life
that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."
Marcus Aurelius
   
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