“My Friend’s Dog Harasses My Cats When They Come Visit”

I have a longtime friend who brings her dog every time they visit. I’m an animal lover, but my issue is I have cats and, while my friend seems to be mindful of her dog for the first half hour, after that I have to intervene to keep her dog from going after my cats, eating their food, or pooping in my house. My house is not very big and it’s not like I can expect for her dog to be leashed or penned up as she lives out of town and stays the night when they visit. My cats have a kitty door they use often when they go outside. They usually have the run of the house, and their food is always available to them. But when the dog comes over, they hide or go away for sometimes the whole night and I put their food and water up.

I don’t feel very respected as my friend seems to push the boundaries I try to set. For example, I’ve asked her not to let the dog on the couch and she will say, “What if I put a towel down?” Or I’ll ask if she can vape outside and she asks, “Can I just step into a different room?” I’ve known this family forever and we really enjoy our time together, but lately I feel that I’m the only one compromising. — Cats > Dogs

Are you really the only one compromising though if your friend is coming from out of town to spend time with you? Isn’t that time and expense and effort that she is making an investment in your friendship? I think you need to evaluate how important this friendship is to you, re-frame how you think about the compromise you’re both making, and think about alternatives to your friend visiting you with her dog. For example, can you go visit her instead? Can you ask whether leaving the dog with a sitter or at a kennel is an option (and maybe offer to split the cost)? Can you just… leave your cats in one room of the house with their food and water inside and access to their litter box with the door closed to keep the dog out? Can you ask your friend to bring a crate to keep her dog in at your house so that it doesn’t destroy your furniture? If none of these seem like reasonable options to explore, you might just be over this friendship because none of these compromises seem so over-the-top as to end a friendship unless it’s a friendship you feel you’ve outgrown anyway and this provides a nice excuse to seamlessly move on.

If, after you think about it, you want to commit to keeping this friendship, try a script like this with her: “I really enjoy your visits and I’m so grateful you take the time and make the effort to come see me. I think these visits could be even more enjoyable though if both our animals were a little more contained and separated – both to protect them and my furniture. I am willing to keep my cats in a room with the door closed. Do you think you could bring a crate for your dog to stay in while you’re here? I’d also be happy to help pay for a dogsitter if that would be more practical for you.

I understand this is asking you to compromise a bit and I hope you know that it would mean a lot to me and allow me to better relax during our visits and enjoy our time together even more.”

Your friend might be offended, but right now YOU are offended by her and on the fast-track to ending this friendship over it. Asking for what you need, even if it feels awkward and may not result in getting what you want, is the best way to save this friendship – if you decide it’s one worth hanging on to.

(As for the vaping, just keep reiterating that you don’t allow it in your home, period. If she continues giving you a hard time about it, you keep holding your ground. She may wear you down so much you decide you’re over it, but I’m not sure if you’re quite there yet.)

I dated this man for one and half years and initially we agreed to something casual, but I was never happy with this and so after a few months I ended it. He then said he wanted to be my boyfriend and although I found the timing rather “miraculous,” I gave him the benefit of the doubt and we became official. He then freaked out and mentioned how busy he would be and asked me how I would cope with possibly only seeing him once a week. I wasn’t happy about that, but I said let’s just see how it goes. Over time he let some of his walls down and we saw each other often. He even started to talk like he planned on spending the rest of his life with me, BUT he did not love me and confessed to never loving anyone romantically.

At the same time, my life was becoming very stressful with my ex-husband turning on me. My ex-husband and I had got on well enough for the sake of our child, but now he insisted everything be put in writing and then he initiated court proceedings in an attempt to gain primary custody. This battle is ongoing and I can’t afford it and am now at a point in which I need to sell my home to fund it. The little girl in me wanted my boyfriend to be my knight in shining armor and to come to my rescue even though I knew it was codependent of me. I just wished he loved me so much that he would try and move heaven and earth for me. I have had that kind of love and it’s hard to accept less although I fear I will never find it again. That great love died of cancer, or otherwise we would still be together. I still think of him regularly although he left this earth more than 20 years ago. I am at least very happy to have had that time with him…

But getting back to my now current ex-boyfriend: He has told me he did love me but that he is not in love with me. But then he’d talk about our future together. I started to resent him; he spends huge amounts of money on his kids but buys me cheap crappy gifts, he lends friends money yet it has never occurred to him to help me when I’m about to lose so much. Yet he’ll say stuff like: “You are the only person in my life that makes me feel happy.” I remember he apologized because he couldn’t find a Valentine’s card that didn’t say “I love you,” and that pretty much felt like I’d been punched in the guts. I ended it a few weeks ago and I’ve been a mess.

Tonight I told him that I wished I could buy this awesome hair-dryer that I’ve been waiting for months to launch in our country, and he so heartlessly suggested he might buy one for his daughter. This was after I shared how much I want it but I have had to stop myself from buying it and how I’m now getting my home valued for sale. It’s not that I expected him to buy it as we have broken up, but I feel almost hate towards him at this moment. It feels like such a cruel and heartless thing to say. But here I am a middle-aged woman and every cent I have has to go towards court or I can walk away and hand my daughter over to her dad so that his new partner can be an overnight mum. I don’t think so!

Am I bad person for feeling such anger towards him? I feel like his actions, and more specifically lack of actions, show how little he has valued me and yet he had the audacity to lead me on talking about future plans. I feel like he used me for my body and he really didn’t give a damn about me. If he cared, he’d have felt compassion towards me and my situation, yet all through our relationship I watched him buy lavish gifts for his kids and put $20,000 towards his mum’s citizenship while never offering to help me. And in a few weeks, he’ll be off on an expensive trip. — Led On

He didn’t lead you on. He told you from the very beginning that he only wanted to be casual, and you agreed to that even though you wanted something more. Maybe you led him on acting like you wanted what he did? Maybe you both used each other a little bit. You wanted a knight in shining armor – someone to love you unconditionally and save you from all your financial and emotional problems. I don’t know what he wanted from you, but it’s clear that neither of you was getting what you wanted and so the relationship ended. Relationships end all the time and usually for exactly this reason – mismatched wants and needs.

What I don’t understand is why you’re still talking to this guy. After a year and a half, he couldn’t bring himself to give you a Valentine’s card that expressed love, and you’re still calling him up and telling him about an expensive hairdryer you want in hopes he might buy it for you? Come on, now. You broke up with him, which was the right choice; now move on.

I’m sorry your great love died 20 years ago. I can imagine how painful that must have been. But what you desire in life didn’t die with him. It’s in you if you would only look inward to find in. It’s in your child, too. It’s in your friendships and all the things, both big and small, that bring meaning to your life. Love and care come in so many forms. The knight in shining armor isn’t even a real form it comes in. It’s a fucking fairytale. And not even a good one because the moral depends on there being a damsel in distress who can’t help herself and needs a man to save her. The much, much better story you should aspire to is the one where the woman discovers how powerful she’s always been and how much she’s capable of on her own. The better story is the one where she finds love in all the ways that eluded her before because she was looking for it where it doesn’t exist. The better story is the one where the woman learns to love herself and discovers that that love is the great one, and it was available to her all along, no man necessary.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. LW1: as an owner of a cat and a dog, I can tell you that you can’t prevent a dog from eating the cat’s food. If you enjoy the visits, my suggestion is this: buy yourself a dog’s fence. You can find it for a small sum on internet, especially on second hand. And when the dog comes, you put it within this fence with its food, water, a toy and a blanket. Done.
    I don’t think that your friend will try to find a dog sitter to visit you. But you can go visit her as well.
    LW2: I think that you focus on this ex-boyfriend as a red herring, a distraction. He is a very low quality boyfriend, a sub-par partner. You were perfectly right to end it. So why asking for more pain and trouble in going back to him, begging for a hairdryer??? That doesn’t make any sense and this is an insult to your dignity. It was never going to work. Good riddance. Your real problem is your court battle with your child’s father. Can’t you ask your attorney to mediate and find a compromise? Share the custody? Has it to be all or nothing? I don’t know your situation but it seems to be all-consuming for you.

  2. LW: I have an out of town friend who refuses to go anywhere without her dog (out of preference not because she’s a service dog). The dog has a high prey drive and I have backyard poultry and indoor pets that are very easy for the dogs to kill. The compromise I offer: I pay for their stay in a dog-friendly hotel.

  3. LW1 – I think your friend sounds like a rude guest. I do think there are things that you could do to compromise, however, I’d prob not go that far out of my way for someone who protests every house rule.

    LW2 – You’re not a bad person if you feel angry, but is at least some of it misplaced anger? It’s not fair or healthy to expect a partner — even a good one! — to rescue you from the reality of your life. I agree it’s time to move on from this dud. Do you have any support network outside of this man? Friends? Family? Despite the narrative we’re fed about romantic love being the ultimate form of love and men being our saviors and protectors, throughout my life, it’s been the women in my life who have lifted me up when I’ve been down and offered me the most support and protection. Use the energy you’ve been putting into this man and pour it into yourself and your friendships.

  4. Anonymousse says:

    I guess I would ask why you don’t visit them? I also get similarly annoyed with badly behaved not really invited dogs. I would be more vocal about the stuff that is bothering you, especially if they’re really good friends, but that’s me.

    Also, if there are reasons you can’t visit, and they are doing a thing by coming to you, I’d not say a darn thing about the dog ( I mean except hello, it shouldn’t be crapping on your floor, etc.) put your cat and it’s stuff in a room or series of rooms you can block off/keep closed to the dog if that is at all possible. I know it’s not the best, but that and maybe feliway/cbd the cat. It’s only temporary.

  5. Anonymousse says:


    You said you ended it after Valentine’s Day. Did you? Then why’re you trying to get him to buy you a hairdryer? Why is it a betrayal if he mentions he should get it for his daughter?

    He treats you this way because this is the type of boyfriend he is always going to be.
    If you don’t like it, you should move on from him. He’s not going to change. I’m sorry.

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