DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: A good friend of mine’s wife had a baby right before my friend deployed. They have a young dog that they had just about housetrained when he left, so I volunteered to help with the dog walking while she recovered from having the baby (C-section).
That was four months ago, and now my friend’s wife has returned to work, and since I only currently work parttime, she expects that I will drop everything and stop by EVERY DAY to walk the dog while she is at work. Her apartment is about 10 minutes from mine (20 with not unusual traffic), which means I have a 20-40-minute block of time added to the half hour walk I give the dog. To make sure I don’t forget, she texts me to “remind” me when it’s time to drop everything and walk the dog, at the time she thinks is the best for the puppy.
I have hinted that this can’t go on. I expect to be back to work fulltime myself soon, so what am I supposed to do? Give over all my lunch hours to walk someone else’s dog?
Her husband is one of my closest friends, and we have done a lot for each other over the years, but I can’t believe he would want me to go the distance on this one, especially since his tour has just been extended. What do I do to get out from under this situation? --- NOT A PROFESSIONAL DOG WALKER
DEAR NOT A PROFESSIONAL DOG WALKER: It seems you’ve already gone above and beyond in helping your buddy’s wife, and the longer you let the situation continue, the more convinced she may become that you’re okay with it.
While it might soften her disappointment to let her know you’re still around to lend a hand if she needs help from time-to-time until her husband returns, I think you need to level with her. Tell her your schedule will soon no longer permit your daily visits, so she’ll need to make other arrangements. You might suggest she hire a neighborhood kid to take over where you’re leaving off. It won’t be free, but it’ll get you off the hook and give your friend’s wife a connection within her more immediate community. With a growing family, having a potential evening and weekend babysitter — in addition to a reliable dog walker — in her contact list could be an added bonus.