Help me deal with my parents and their ass-eating dog.
December 16, 2009 11:41 AM   Subscribe

HomeForTheHolidaysFilter: Help me deal with my parents and their ass-eating dog.

About a year and a half ago, my parents' 12-year-old longhaired German Shepard (Skye) was given about two months to live. My dad was heartbroken and immediately started looking for a replacement. My mother, however, was looking forward to the independence offered by not having a large dog in the house. But my dad begged my mother for a new dog, and eventually she told him, “I don’t want a dog but I can’t stand in your way either if you're willing to care for the dog.” He got a 1-year old Shepard (Maya) from a rescue shelter.

Fast-forward to the present: Skye is still alive but can barely walk (he requires a lot of care), and Maya has become a serious problem. I'm visiting for the month (usually I'm away at school), and I am finding the situation unbearable for the following reasons:

-THE HAIR: Two German Shepards shed an incredible amount and hair covers almost every surface, but my parents don’t vacuum often. I find the hair upsets my breathing a bit. Part of the problem is that they cannot brush Skye because it causes him pain. They also do not brush Maya (for reasons unknown to me). My dad is responsible for vacuuming but he doesn’t do it. Anytime I bring up vacuuming, it provokes a fight. I have tried doing it myself but I get resentful especially because the Maya ate some of the vacuum attachments, making it hard to get the hair up (and my dad won't replace them because he claims he "fixed them.").

-TRAINING: Skye is very well trained (we adopted him after his past family sent him to obedience school) but Maya has no training. My dad refuses to send her to obedience school, contending that they can train her himself. So far, he has done some haphazard clicker training but doesn’t do it often enough. Usually Maya finds a way to get to the source of the treats and eats them all in one fell swoop anyway. She has also taught Skye some bad new habits, like drinking out of the toilet. Maya has an oral fixation and typically destroys anything in reach. We now cage her when we go out but she still gets into trouble when we’re home.

-WALKS/EXERCISE: Traditionally, we’ve taken our dogs out three times a day for longish walks. But now, because Skye can barely walk, we just walk Maya about ½ block and my parents refuse to take them on separate walks. I think Maya just has too much energy. She runs out back sometimes but there aren’t any kids at home to play with her.

-HYGIENE: The dogs have just made the house super dirty, and it's disgusting. For example: Skye will take a shit, Maya will spend 20 minutes licking his ass and eating his dried shitballs, and then run around sticking her nose in everything.

-THE FIGHTING: Despite his frustration with her, my dad has grown attached to Maya. Meanwhile, my mother has grown more and more resentful. My mother's resentfulness and my father's distaste for household chores has led to a great deal of tension. "The dogs" have become a "third rail issue" meaning that we really can't talk about them honestly. We cannot have a dialogue, for example, about whether to put Skye to sleep and we cannot discuss how best to train Maya. Any suggestions I put forth cause a fight. Meanwhile, my mother refuses to do more than the bare minimum for Maya because my dad adopted her on the promise that he would take on the primary care role. To be fair, I do contribute to the tension by losing my patience with Maya and making my opinions about her odor, her behavior, and the state of the house known. I'm ashamed to say that I don't always express my opinions in the most mature way (a la, "get away from me, you stupid ass eater ")

I know there are obvious solutions to these problems, but anything I suggest turns into a fight. If I say something to my father, my mom just starts yelling at my dad, saying she hates the dog too. My parents resent my coming home and telling them how to live their lives, and they seem unable to commit any more time to the dogs (they put a lot of time into caring for Skye already - and, as I said, my dad will not entertain the suggestion of putting Skye down). How can I cope with this situation, given my physical discomfort, my resentment, and my parents' unwillingness to address the giant hairy elephant(s) in the room?

(Posting for my gf, who will respond to questions by proxy)
posted by granted to Pets & Animals (29 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
1) Walk Maya yourself, every day, a couple of miles. She'll be better-behaved, and maybe that will convince one of your parents to do it once you're gone.

2) Vacuum. I've been to a house like you describe, where they owned a couple of dogs and couldn't smell the stink themselves, but it was overpowering to a visitor. It really does feel like you're choking on dander and hair, even if (like me) you're not at all allergic to dogs. Just vacuum a couple times a week, it'll take an hour or so, and it'll make a big difference.

I think, in general, you have to think of it as only right that you would take on a couple of chores while you're there -- not just visiting, eating Mom and Dad's food, and feeling like a kid again. I mean, we all love those aspects of going "home," but it's also right to help out, as long as you're there.
posted by palliser at 11:49 AM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

How can I cope with this situation, given my physical discomfort, my resentment, and my parents' unwillingness to address the giant hairy elephant(s) in the room?

Get out the vacuum, walk the dog three times a day, clean the house, and cheerfully tell anyone who wants to fight with you about it that you're doing what's best for the dogs.

Seriously, you're what, 20 years old? You're an adult. This is your family home. It doesn't come with maid service and a dog walker. Pick up some slack here.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:49 AM on December 16, 2009 [3 favorites]

Oh, and 3) DON'T TALK ABOUT EITHER OF THESE THINGS; just do them. Don't mention that walking the dog is what they should be doing, don't whine to your Dad about the vacuum cleaner attachments. Just do it.
posted by palliser at 11:50 AM on December 16, 2009

Response by poster: Granted here: OK, I don't think this was clear from the post: she is 26 years old, in law school, and definitely doesn't come home, kick up her heels, and mooch off her parents for break. In fact, while she's home, she already probably helps more around the house than both her parents combined. This is not an issue of laziness and irresponsibility on her part. It is a truly overwhelming problem that cannot be solved by one person pitching in a little bit more during a three-week visit.
posted by granted at 11:54 AM on December 16, 2009

It is a truly overwhelming problem that cannot be solved by one person pitching in a little bit more during a three-week visit.

Your girlfriend can't repair her parents' marriage. But by doing these things during her 3-week visit, she can mitigate her own discomfort while she's home.

If she doesn't want to do that, then I suggest she get a hotel room for three weeks, because she's essentially a guest in their house and she can't really force long-term changes upon a bunch of adults who don't want to change.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:58 AM on December 16, 2009 [6 favorites]

Then don't visit.

Seriously -- you're saying, on the one hand there are terrible problems that are driving you mad. And then you also add that this problem can't be solved by you during your visit. So don't visit.

Or, accept it. Your parents are living the way they want to live. Period.

Or, visit but stay at a hotel or a friend's house.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:59 AM on December 16, 2009 [5 favorites]

Then it cannot be solved, because the other two people involved in this situation have clearly demonstrated that they are unwilling to participate in any solutions.

That means she tolerates it without comment, as she is 26 and this is not her home, or she departs the day after Christmas, or both.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:59 AM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

cheerfully tell anyone who wants to fight with you about it that you're doing what's best for the dogs.

I might make it even more innocuous by saying, "Oh, I enjoy the exercise!" when walking the dog, or "Oh, I'm sensitive to dog hair!" when vacuuming. Then you really take all the judgment out of it; it's just about you doing your thing.

Just based on your description, I think you may find, as you get farther away from the family home, that you grew up with a blaming-and-arguing family. That can be a hard habit to break -- when something goes wrong or is unsatisfactory, the instinct is to look around for who to pin it on, rather than just digging in and fixing it (and sure, maybe later dropping a straightforward word about it to someone, but not feeling the need to always find someone to lay into). So it might be good practice for you to see how much easier it is to just get to work than to have the same old fight for the hundredth time.
posted by palliser at 12:00 PM on December 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

It sounds like Maya is a bit of a bully, through no fault of her own. She's just behaving like a dog that hasn't been taught the rules.
So take care of the things that are in your power. Vacuum the bedroom and bathroom you'll be using and keep the doors shut. Give her a little more exercise, either by walking/jogging with her (bonus: less holiday weight gain!), take her in the back yard and throw a toy while you chat on the phone, etc.

Also, it will almost certainly help to change the way you act around and with Maya. When I was pet-sitting/dog-walking for a living, I had several clients with dogs like Maya. I couldn't change the way their dog acted around them or the way they behaved when nobody was home, but I could sure as shit change the way they acted around *me*, so much so that I had more than a few notice and ask what the hell I'd been doing.

You may see if your local library has a copy of Jean Donaldson's The Culture Clash - or buy a copy and leave it somewhere at your parents house when you're finished with it. She has a lot of simple ways of interacting with dogs that can make a huge difference.

It sounds like it's a very shitty situation (no pun intended), but if I were in your shoes, I'd try to keep from making it worse and helping the party involved that's most likely to change - Maya.
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:06 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Not a great situation.

It is possible that a three week stay where she swoops in and exercises Maya and gives her some proper training situations can quickly improve certain aspects of the dog's behavior while she is around and actively engaged. Perhaps she needs to slack off in other areas and make this a project for this trip.

A demonstration of this sort might be what her Dad needs to kick him into gear. She can also speak with him privately, without her Mom to chime in. She needs to tell him that his new dog needs him to provide consistent exercise and structure in order to be happy. Her Dad is currently doing a terrible disservice to the dog.

But it also sounds like other factors may be at play given the overall conflict. There is not enough detail to say anything really, but these sorts of signs can be caused by depression or maybe even dementia.
posted by rocketpup at 12:08 PM on December 16, 2009

Kneel, fold your hands and say, "God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change...

posted by jon1270 at 12:16 PM on December 16, 2009

You're an adult. If you don't like the situation in someone else's home (in this case, your parents home) find somewhere else to stay. You're not the one paying the mortgage or the taxes on the house, right? It's not yours.

Your options are: cope or find somewhere else to stay.
posted by 2oh1 at 12:23 PM on December 16, 2009

P.S. Believe me, I know your situation. When I was in college, my family had two huge hairy dogs, plus they were chain smokers! ...the parents, not the dogs :)

Still... it was their house.
posted by 2oh1 at 12:25 PM on December 16, 2009

Separate the things you can change from the things you can't.

You can:
- choose to stay in a hotel
- choose to stay in the house without unrealistic expectations (i.e., know what you're signing up for)
- walk Maya
- brush Maya
- train Maya somewhat in terms of how she acts around you
- vacuum

You can't:
- force your mother to do anything about the situation
- force your father to do anything about the situation
- discuss the situation calmly and successfully with your parents at this time (not necessarily your fault, and not necessarily forever, but for now it seems you're stuck on this one)
- make Maya well-behaved

I don't think it's unreasonable to want your parents to make good, healthy, sensible decisions, or to want to stay in a clean house, or to prefer well-behaved dogs to poorly-behaved ones. But however reasonable those preferences are, you can't force the situation to conform to them. Do what you can to maximize your enjoyment of your visit, but don't expect that any of the choices you make or changes you implement with the dog will have any effect on your parents' thoughts or behavior.
posted by Meg_Murry at 12:51 PM on December 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

Another vote for Get Out Of There. It might just have an impact on the parents if she doesn't go home. When they ask why she won't visit, she should be honest and say that she can't tolerate the dogs.

I don't think that she's going to change her parents much. But, she can be honest both to them and to herself.
posted by Citrus at 12:54 PM on December 16, 2009

Response by poster: "Your options are: cope or find somewhere else to stay."

Listen, I don't want to sound unappreciative of everyone's responses. We both appreciate them very very much. But I want to reiterate that the question was "How can I cope with this situation?" The answer "Cope with it" is not extraordinarily helpful.

I am also assuming that the suggestions to find a hotel room for the remainder of December cannot be serious, and are said for rhetorical effect. Let's be realistic and assume that she does not have the option to spend $2000+ on last-minute accommodations in New York City. She can of course buy a plane ticket home and stay with me until school starts. However, addressing the dramaworks with her parents that would ensue if she did that would be a whole other Ask Metafilter question. Her parents are the ones who begged her to come home for this long and the guilt trip for leaving early would be massive.

I'm afraid that the direction taken by this thread is mostly due to lack of clarity in my editing of the question - I urged her to post here, and as a AskMefi vet I should have been more mindful of how it would come across, and what wouldn't come across. For instance, she's terrified that she appears to be a spoiled brat. She is not - absolutely the opposite, in fact. She is very much a self-blamer and is wracked with guilt over feeling unappreciative, and feeling that she's "fucking with [her parents'] marriage."

Assuming that she stays at her parents' house for the remainder of her scheduled visit, what are some concrete, practical suggestions for coping, both physically and psychologically? Those of you who believe that she is unjustified in expressing her discomfort: can you suggest ways to white-knuckle her way through? (I realize that many people have offered concrete suggestions - thank you, they have been very helpful.)

I'm sorry if this response seems emotional - I feel that the situation has been mischaracterized, and I take responsibility for that. Thank you all again for your advice.
posted by granted at 1:06 PM on December 16, 2009

Suggest "ways to white-knuckle her way through"? I don't know what you want us to tell you here. You did a great job of explaining why the situation was intolerable, and the way most of people deal with intolerable situations is by avoiding them, actively correcting them, or passively enduring them. Or a combination of the three. Practical examples of these tactics have been offered, but it's a specific enough problem that there's not much else she can do.

If she starts missing visits home because of this, maybe they will start wondering what they can do to make their home actually hospitable. That's the whole point of hosting someone, after all, even if it's a family member.
posted by hermitosis at 1:21 PM on December 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

I think that what's really happening is that she's blaming herself incorrectly. It kind of sounds like the start (or, the continuation) of a co-dependency cycle.

I really do think that she needs to stand up to her parents. They're not being very good to her by forcing her to have to cope with this situation. It's my genuine opinion that, however this plays out, she should not go back there again. If her parents are going to guilt-trip her about it, then she shouldn't talk to them. It sounds harsh, but her choices are limited. She can either submit to what sounds to me (based on your description) like a sort of torture, or she can deal with feeling bad about having to impose distance from her parents. I do not envy her position.

And, if she thinks she's "F-ing up her parents' marriage", then she needs to step back and realize that the marriage is what it is because of how her parents live it, and she doesn't have nearly as much effect on it as she thinks she does.

Now, to answer your revised question. If she can create a sort of "bubble" within the house that serves as a dog-free zone, that can give her somewhere to escape to. Unfortunately, I have no idea what the layout of the place is like. Hopefully she can seal off a room in the house, and perhaps back that up with a jury-rigged half-wall that the dogs can't get past. Once within this limited "safe" space, she can keep that area as clean and comfortable as is practical.
posted by Citrus at 1:23 PM on December 16, 2009

But those are her options. This sounds like a boundary-setting issue to me. If she's unable to cope with the environment, mitigating it sufficiently is beyond her ability, enrolling either parent's help is not possible or desirable, and she has ruled out the option of leaving, then how is can anything change for her? None is possible without dropping or changing one of those constraints, and the only one she has full control over is the one she made for herself - choosing to stay in a bad situation.
She can take care of herself, but she'll probably need to stop choosing to feel guilty about it. That will mean letting her folks know the situation as it is untenable for her and that as much as she'd like to, she can't stay in their house as it is and what can they do to help make it possible for her to stay there (this stated as objectively and non-judgmentally as possible)? If the answer is nothing, then she'll need to leave or spend time away or take care of herself in whatever way she needs to.
posted by TruncatedTiller at 1:33 PM on December 16, 2009

I was actually serious about the hotel, if not for a whole month. My point was that, as an adult, she has the option of staying with her parents or elsewhere when she visits. And she also has the option of visiting when and for however long she chooses. There is no reason for her to stay for an entire month if it's going to be miserable for her. Maybe it's too late now if Christmas is a family holiday for them, but in the future the obvious coping solution is to stay for a shorter period of time (either short enough to make a hotel affordable or short enough to make the house tolerable).

I didn't make my earlier suggestions because I thought she was being bratty by expecting her parents to do the housekeeping in their own house or take care of their own dog. I made them because there is only so much she can control in the situation: where she goes (i.e., visiting her parents or not, going to a hotel or to the house) and what she does (i.e., vacuum, walk the dog).

I might also add possibly talking privately to each parent if the past fights have started when both of them are present. Her dad may not do his chores, but would he be willing to hire a cleaning service? Additionally, have either of them considered hiring a dog-walker to come and exercise Maya daily? I don't know if the cleaning service or dog-walker conversation would go over better with one or the other ("Dad, here's a way for you to keep up with the chores without actually doing them" vs. "Mom, here's a way for you to have a clean house even if Dad never remembers to vacuum").
posted by Meg_Murry at 1:38 PM on December 16, 2009

If she wants practical advice on how to cope, then since she is not willing to change the parts she can control (dog walking, cleanliness) and she cannot change the parts she can't control, the only thing left to do is to change her perspective.

It is, according to you, 21 days. Anyone can endure anything for 21 days; as my mother is fond of pointing out, "People lived through the Holocaust. You'll survive this." I'm not saying it isn't difficult; I'm saying that grounding herself in the knowledge that it will end is helpful.

She can:

- Take the dog for walks just to get out of the house
- Develop a sudden, avid love for photography and spend time outdoors or at museums, in town, etc taking photos.
- Clean at least the living room and watch a lot of movies
- Repeat the Serenity Prayer often
- Take up running or a new form of cooking
- Spend a lot of time studying in the library
- Bake for all the neighbours

But mostly, she can stop voicing her frustration at a situation that nobody is going to be changing any time soon. It's futile and as much as that sucks, that's the truth. Once she lets that go, she may find there's more room to find common ground to enjoy at least moments of her trip home.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:51 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry I assumed she wasn't helping out in other ways, as I'm sure she does. (This could be because I have a tendency to melt into a lump when I'm visiting my parents, and have to really force myself to help out.) I do think that walking the dog a couple of miles a day will take about 45 minutes, and vacuuming the house twice a week will take about an hour each time. I guess I'm still confused how those things would be hard to manage. Could she drop some other chores? If, say, she cooks dinner every night, could she do something super-simple, breaded chicken and frozen peas or whatever, to make a little time elsewhere? I think you're right that I'm not really understanding something about the situation (like that she has a lot of schoolwork she needs to get done between semesters, or a small child to care for, or some similarly consuming time commitment), because the parts that make the visit physically unpleasant (the eau de doghair and the under-exercised, badly behaving dog) seem relatively low-impact to fix.

But yeah, the other aspects -- mostly the sniping parents, I guess -- just can't be fixed by her.
posted by palliser at 1:53 PM on December 16, 2009

Well, OK, let's try this on for size. If you have your own room, stay in that as much as you can, and don't let the dogs in once you've cleaned. Read, listen to the radio, do whatever you need to in order to occupy your time. If your parents complain, tell them about the breathing problems. If they still complain, suggest that you really can't stay in their house with things the way that they are, and if they still complain, then follow through on your threat and leave.

If you insist on feeling guilty for doing any of the above, well, there's nothing in the short term that you can do about it, aside for going for long walks (without the dogs). Let's just bottom line it here: your parents begged you to come home for three weeks, but couldn't even be bothered to clean the fucking place. The fact that they seem to be engaged in some sort of power struggle that involves the dogs and (now) you isn't your fault. Dysfunctional families/couples will often enlist people to come into their lives, in order to reassure themselves that they're really OK; often this is after they've lost friends who are tired of putting up with their drama, and are trying to use you to prove that they're not as intolerable as has been implied or sometimes directly expressed. (I once pulled up stakes and moved hundreds of miles away at the urging of some people that I knew who, as it turns out, were involved in an alcoholic/codependent relationship, and boy oh boy what a colossal slo-mo trainwreck that turned out to be.)

Dealing with your family drama on your end isn't the quick fix that you're asking for, but slapping bandaids over deep-tissue wounds really won't work. Stand your ground, fall back and be with your sweetie if you can't take it any more, and talk to a counselor if you need someone else to verify that this is some fucked-up shit that is being pulled here.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:02 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Get the following:

A lint roller (they make extra large ones for pet hair)
Small bottle of hand sanitizer (for accidental contact with shit eating dog)
Bring your own sheets, pillowcases, and towels.
A Kong "treat dispenser" toy--this can be found at any PETCO or PetSmart
A portable air purifier

In the room you'll be staying: Vacuum it and clean it from top to bottom. Set up the air purifier on a nearby table or nightstand, to help with your breathing. Put your own hair-free sheets on the bed. Use the lint roller to clean off your clothes and blankets. Barricade the door with a safety gate (or at least keep it closed at all times--just tell your parents "I don't want the dogs chewing on my things.") Spray air freshener when needed.

In the rest of the house: Use the lint roller on couches or chairs you will be sitting on, it will remove most of the hair. Put hand sanitizer on your hands if accidental contact with Maya's nose occurs.

With Maya: If she is driving you batty, put a treat in the Kong toy, chuck it out the back door, and let her work at it for a while trying to get the treat out. It will keep her occupied and mentally stimulated, which is what she really needs. Take her for longer walks yourself, if you are so inclined--it will really help her burn off steam. Avoid bringing up Maya's care with your parents, it obviously has not made a difference and it is their issue to deal with.
posted by castlebravo at 2:21 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Most of the question is really irrelevant. The issue is that her parents keep a gross house, and the solution is to put up with the gross house, or clean it up herself. It's really that simple. It doesn't feel that simple, because she knows the whole ugly map of her parents' shared failings and resentments and it's sad to think about that stuff, but there's nothing she can do about any of that and there's no way that askme can solve that problem.
posted by moxiedoll at 3:15 PM on December 16, 2009

In addition to some decent points above on making sure your space is clean, taking allergy meds and generally minimizing the time you're in the house:

-Have the dogs brought to a groomer's when you get there - will mitigate a lot of the allergy problems from touching the dogs and minimize shedding while you're visiting. Then if the house gets a vigorous cleanup it might stay that way for a good part of your visit.

-Get a laser-pointer, and get the dog to chase the spot - cheap, easy to do on your part, will keep her running everywhere without any real effort from you, but it will totally exhaust her. Leave the pointer with your dad. Worked amazingly well on my mom's border collie. Also serves as a good stress-reliever and source of entertainment, feels like exacting a bit of revenge because you're messing with the dog's head. She'll be forever searching for the red spot... but she'll like it. It's not actually evil, so long as you don't run her into things...
posted by lizbunny at 3:19 PM on December 16, 2009

Print out this question (minus the answers). Present it to them upon arrival, saying "my inclination was to just avoid this whole stressful situation, but you both really wanted me here, and we're all adults, so how are you going to resolve this problem? If you don't work with me to fix these issues, I'm not coming home next Christmas." Then, listen. Really listen to what they say, and try to work with them. If they refuse to solve the problem, remind them that they're the parents and are supposed to be the grown-ups/role models.

For background, everybody's first holidays when they actually call their parents' bluff and don't go home is somewhere around 27.
posted by anildash at 3:51 PM on December 16, 2009

I think she's way too involved in the why's of this situation. It doesn't matter how she got her. This is her parents' marriage, and as hard as it is to deal with, it has nothing to do with her (except for how it makes her feel awful). Taking sides--or even being aware of them--isn't her job, and she should try to avoid it as much as possible. There were a lot of "we's" in the discussion: we can't talk about Skye, we can't talk about training Maya. I think she needs to let go of these issues and let her parents sort them out for themselves.

Pretend that these aren't her parents, but strangers she's visiting. Avoid the interpersonal issues and focus on making things better.

I think instead of hating Maya, she should go in the opposite direction. She doesn't like Maya, that's obvious, but embracing her (not literally, though that'd be nice too) would mean walking her a few times a day and playing with her at a dog park. This would be a great way for her to get out of the house, which is another excellent coping mechanism. Does she jog? Maya sounds like a great running partner.

As for the vacuum: well, so it works sucky. Just use it the best you can. Or maybe see if you can rent a really good vacuum cleaner for the day and do one really big, good vacuum.

My guess is she doesn't have a lot of money, but she could splurge with a holiday gift of a one-time house cleaning by professionals, timed for early in her visit.

She's not ruining her parents' marriage. For her own sanity, she needs to stop thinking of it as her responsibility or obligation to fix this. This is an issue between two people who need to figure it out.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:24 PM on December 16, 2009

Why is this a Pets & Animals question instead of a Human Relations question?

All the questions related to the dogs are easy. Maya is destructive and chews on things? Maya is bored and needs a lot more exercise. Maya needs basic obedience training. She needs to be groomed regularly and brushed at home. These are simple, common sense, basic dog ownership issues.

(Skye should probably be euthanized. It sounds as though he's too ill to be able to clean himself, so Maya is trying to help him by grooming him. If he is so ill that he has feces stuck to his butt, he's probably miserable and should be put down - but if he's kept alive, the owners should be cleaning his ass every day.)

Poor Maya. Poor Skye.

This is 100% a People problem. If the Poster's girlfriend is not allowed to bring up these basic issues related to the dogs, she shouldn't feel bad about refusing to stay for three weeks. I'd cut it down to a week, and tell the parents that as long as any discussion addressing the dog problems is off the table then this can't be solved and longer visits won't be happening because the environment is just too miserable.

The parents really need to get help for their problems and stop using the dogs as pawns in their passive-aggressive shitty war.
posted by taz at 4:07 AM on December 17, 2009 [5 favorites]

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