Q: Whenever my sister-in-law visits for the weekend, she always brings her dog along. He’s cute, but a major inconvenience. How can I get her to leave the pooch at home without being rude?
A: Hosts aren’t obliged to include their houseguests’ pets in an invitation (unless, of course, it’s a service dog for a disabled person). So next time you invite your sister-in-law, be clear right up front: “Rebecca, I would love to have you come visit this summer. But it will need to be without Pumpkin. I hope you can find a dog sitter for him.” If you wish, explain your reasons: “Sam is allergic to dog hair” or “With three kids in the house, having a dog just makes things a little too crazy. I hope you understand.”