Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Ask Amy: Friends Never Compensate Us for Regularly Watching Their Dog

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Dear Amy: Friends regularly ask us to look after their dog, but never offer us compensation. We do not ask for cash, but a gift card would be welcome. They ask us to do this every year for a week in the summer, and then at other times throughout the year, usually for a few days, and sometimes several days at Christmas. We live very close.

As former dog owners, we understand the work and time it takes to manage dogs for a week. We also understand the costs associated with dog sitting, house sitting, etc. For pet owners, we know these costs can add up. Reciprocity has been minimal at best (a 12-pack of beer, for example). (This neighbor is a minimalist who also borrows a lot of stuff from us.) While we don’t mind dog-watching, it really does bother us that they don’t realize that our time is valuable and that a simple thank you isn’t enough not.

We are friends with four families on this adjacent street and regularly attend a gathering on Fridays. We have other neighbors in the same group who gave us a $100 gift certificate to the restaurant to do this. We feel like they “get it.” We are looking for the best way to approach the conversation, as we have been friends for a long time and don’t want to affect the relationship. Ideas?

Tired dog: What you call “minimalist,” I call “cheap.”

The way to handle this and preserve the relationship is to be enthusiastic about your willingness to do this for them and very straightforward about your terms. Since you also babysit for other friends (you’re obviously competent, trustworthy and responsible), why don’t you go into business for yourself? You can sign up as a pet sitter/walker on a site like Rover.com, set your rate, and get paid consistently. As you know from owning a pet, reliable guardians are worth their weight in kibble. Having a friend and neighbor to provide this service is an added value.

Before the next time they come to you to plan that “favor”, let your Friday group of friends know that you’ve signed up for a pet care site to continue doing that thing you love – and make extra income. Offer to send them a link to your page on the site. You can offer them a “Friend and Fido” discount if you want. If they refuse to book you, no problem!

Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for three years. We plan to have a child in the next few years. My problem is that it seems like every time we have a serious argument he threatens to leave me. Sometimes he leaves the house for a few hours, and when he comes back he is calm and apologizes for leaving.

We actually don’t fight that often, but this is how he always seems to end the argument – either by threatening to leave or by walking away. Sometimes, when he’s upset, he says, “Why don’t we get a divorce?” » and I find this very upsetting. Sometimes I lie awake in bed worrying about our relationship.

I really love him, and when things are good, they’re great. I just don’t know how to answer this. Your opinion ?

Worried: My first piece of advice is to not have children until you and your husband find ways to resolve your differences without the threat of divorce. This is the nuclear option, and this threat will have a cumulative and very negative effect on your marriage. Resolving arguments peacefully and learning to “fight fair” is a vital skill in marriage.

Your husband may be using tactics or techniques that he witnessed in his own childhood. When he fights like this, he really reveals how scared and hurt he is. You would both benefit from professional advice. Committing to work together on this would be a huge and positive step for him.

Dear Amy: Frustrated mom» was upset because her child’s friend came over and the two girls trashed the playroom. (Mom blamed her child’s friend.) I agree with your advice to the mother to ask her daughter to clean the room. I had a rule for my kids: You either ask your friends to help you clean up, or you have to clean up yourself. It also helps them understand who a real friend is!

Experimented: This is a great rule.

© 2024 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

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