(Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post)
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My mother-in-law gave my children a puppy for Christmas 2008. She did not check with me or my husband first; it was a surprise. The kids were thrilled, but the puppy had health problems and died.

Apparently, my 8-year-old begged Nana for a replacement puppy, and again without my permission, MIL showed up with not one but TWO pug puppies. I was annoyed the first time, but this time I am livid. Literally mad enough that my face feels hot whenever she calls the house.

Besides the fact that my husband is allergic to the dog fur, I am still chasing around after a toddler and don't have time to raise another "baby." I feel completely trapped because my two older kids are so in love with these dogs, but I DO NOT want to keep them.

Also, I haven't yet had a satisfactory confrontation with my MIL about this, and I'm afraid it's going to ruin our relationship if I don't plan it well first.


Why are you even considering having this confrontation with your MIL? Where is your husband, whose job it was, when the first puppy arrived, to say, "I realize you wanted to surprise the children, but it was unacceptable to spring this on us without warning"?

If he's not a full partner in holding the line -- with his parents, your kids, whatever else -- then such problems will outlast and outnumber the pugs.

If these are breeder puppies, return them, and if they're mill puppies, contact your local pug rescue group. All dogs deserve a home where they can get the attention they need.

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