Q: My brother in law and his wife do not have any children, but they have three large dogs. They like to travel a lot, and they expect my husband and I to feed their dogs when they are away. My husband has no problem with doing this, but, my husband travels a lot and I have been made to take over. They are planning another trip soon and my husband is going with them, leaving me as the person to take care of their animals, again. My problem is this, I have many animals, horses, dogs etc., and I would not ask them to watch them and have always made arrangements for a farm sitter or I don’t travel. I told my husband I thought they should board the dogs or hire a pet sitter. These are large dogs and they like to jump. I feel that as much as they like to travel, they should not rely on us every time. I feel put out having to drive over every day when I have things to do as well. My husband says thats what family is for and I’m being mean. This is getting ugly! Am I wrong?
A: It all depends on the give and take of your relationship with your brother-in-law and his wife. If they do other things for you and this is a way you can help, it is great. If you are doing all the giving and it is a burden, then you have to speak up, not in the ugly place, but in a real place that you just can’t take on the responsibility because you have your own big things to deal with, so you are willing to help but can’t do it all. Maybe by starting with a shared responsibility – you and a pet sitter, for example, you can “wean” them into a place where part of their travels include pet care that doesn’t involve you, especially when it is you by yourself and your husband isn’t helping.