Ask Amy: Dog-Centered Marriage Could Go To Dogs



Dear Readers: Each year during this period, I step away from my column to work on other creative projects. Hope you enjoy these “Best Of” Q&A from 10 years ago. Today’s topic is: “Dog Gone”.

I also invite readers to subscribe to my weekly “Asking Amy” newsletter, at, where I post tips, as well as comments on what I read, watch and listen to.

I’ll be back with more Q&A next week.

Dear Amy: My brother is getting married outside and invited his friends to bring their dogs to his wedding.

Her own dog, a coyote-pitbull mix, will be part of the ceremony.

My 4 year old, who is also a part of the ceremony, is afraid of dogs (I’m sure it’s partly my fault).

I’m scared of big dogs, and his dog really scares me.

I don’t want my kids to be afraid of dogs, but I’m afraid of them and I’m sure dogs can smell it. How do I handle this?

– Scared

Dear Scared People: I shared your letter with Julie Klam, author of “Love at the First Bark: How Saving a Dog Can Sometimes Help You Save” (2011, Riverhead Books). She reports that as a child she was bitten by a dog, but she overcame her fears and now has three dogs in her house – and an 8-year-old.

Klam says, “Find a friend or relative with a small, inconspicuous dog (not a puppy, they are too hypersensitive) and make arrangements to visit them several times. Go very slowly. I have had children who are afraid to come and meet my dogs and they are very anxious at first, but then when the dogs are calm and not nervous they feel a little more courageous and can even pet them sometimes. When children do well, they are so proud of themselves that they often want to go further.

I agree with this advice to familiarize yourself in advance with the dogs you know are good with children. The more successful dog encounters you have, the easier it will be, but you should also teach your children to NEVER touch a dog without the owner’s permission.

If the child is not able to manage it at this stage, he should be excused from the wedding feast; realistically, you have no way of knowing how all of those canine guests will interact at this event.

Amy Dickinson, author of the “Ask Amy” column.TNS

(November 2011)

Dear Amy: My son lives two houses away from us. He has two large dogs that are in our yard all the time.

We have small dogs that stay at home. When my son’s dogs are in our yard, our dogs will bark and jump out of the windows. I hate telling my son to keep his dogs inside or deliver him. There is a leash law here, but they don’t enforce it. What should I do not to get angry? This bark is driving me crazy. Jumping to windows is destructive for my windows, the curtains and for me. Worried mom

Dear Mom: Your son is breaking the local leash law, the unspoken law of neighborly respect, and – hello – the most important law of all, which is to be kind to your mother. You should tell your son that this is driving you and your dogs crazy. Ask him to respect the neighborhood and keep his dogs contained or on a leash. If his dogs run around the neighborhood, they could also damage neighborhood property, injure people or other pets, or get hit by a car. But you have nothing to report. You just need to ask him to kindly keep the dogs confined to his property.

(November 2011)

Dear Amy: I enjoyed the letters in your column on the loss of pets. I inherited two cats from my niece when she had her first baby. I took care of them because my niece had her second and then her third child. Years later, after the cats died, my sister asked me if I would have another one. I told him no – I didn’t want to feel the pain when the cat died. My sister said not to worry – I would be dead long before the cat died. It reminded me to update my will.

– The great-uncle

Dear Uncle: An uncle who welcomes and loves two cats is the very definition of a “great” uncle.

(December 2011)

(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

© 2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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