DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Confused in Richmond." I disagree with your reply. There should be no question as to which is more important, your family or your pets.
My wife and I retired from the Northwest to Nevada several years ago. We have children and grandkids still in the Northwest. We visit them at least once a year, and yes, we have a dog. We think the world of our dog, and she's our constant companion, but there is no way we would even consider taking her with us when we go to visit the kids. There is also no way we would ever allow anyone to share with us the cost of a motel just because we feel we should have our pet with us.
When we visit the kids, we hire a house sitter to watch the house as well as our dog. Perhaps the reason the dog in question is having "accidents" is because it is stressed from being away from familiar surroundings. It's possible that "Confused in Richmond's" parents don't realize they are doing more harm than good to their pets.
"Confused" should talk to her parents and tell them she loves to have them visit, but the pets are just too much of a problem. If her parents are like a lot of us grandparents, she'll find out that those visits with the kids and grandkids are far more important than our pets. If her parents continue to insist that the pets are more important, I feel sorry for them, and they are the losers. -- HAPPY IN NEVADA
DEAR HAPPY: If "Confused's" parents were as considerate and reasonable as you, she wouldn't have needed to write to me. I suggested a motel that caters to pets as a possible solution because I was unsure whether her parents would consent to be apart from their pets. However, your comment that the animals might be having "accidents" because they were in unfamiliar surroundings is worth considering -- and your suggestion of a pet sitter is a good one. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: "Confused in Richmond" wrote that her parents insist on bringing their cat and dog when they come to visit because they don't want to put their "babies" in a kennel.
I am a 78-year-old senior citizen and I supplement my income by pet sitting. I stay in the pet owners' home while they are gone. The demand is so great I often have to refer jobs to other senior citizens who also do this kind of work. It's a great job. The pets are happy to be in their own home. The owners are happy, the people they visit are happy and I am happy.
Those parents should check with their church, senior center and/or other pet owners to find a reliable sitter. -- LOVES DOGS AND CATS
DEAR LOVES DOGS AND CATS: If you are happy, the owners are happy and the pets are happy -- then I am happy for ALL of you, and I won't pick a bone with you.
However, some people are uneasy at the thought of a "stranger" staying in their house. For pet owners who suffer from separation anxiety, a motel that caters to pets is the ideal situation.