Sense & Sensitivity

Brother Neglects Responsibilities of Dog Ownership

DEAR HARRIETTE: My brother and I live together in a two-apartment house. I like our arrangement. Even though we are both adults, we are young, and it feels safer having him around. He has a dog -- a puppy, really -- that he got about a year ago. Because my brother is still in school and working, he is not often home when it’s time to walk the dog, so I have become the default walker. I walk the dog when I get home from work. He often sleeps in my apartment because my brother gets home late. In those instances, I walk him before bed, too.

I love the dog, so I don’t really mind. But recently I learned that there have been some robberies in the neighborhood. I’m worried about walking the dog at night. What can I do? My brother has left the responsibility up to me. -- Walking the Dog

DEAR WALKING THE DOG: You need to talk to your brother and explain the situation. Remind him that this is his dog, after all, but now that there is a safety concern, you feel uncomfortable walking the dog at night. Tell him you need him to step up and figure out how he can be a more active participant in caring for his dog.

For the nights when he isn’t at home and the dog needs to relieve itself, use a long leash that allows the dog to walk around just outside your door without the need for you to go on an actual walk. This isn’t ideal, but is should keep you safer.

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