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Ask Amy: I don’t want to tell my sister my dog is dying

4 min

Dear Amy: We just learned that our beloved elder pup has a brain tumor that will end her precious life in the next couple of months.

Sad preparations are being made to have her euthanized at home, and for someone to prepare a grave. I have notified people I know who will want to say goodbye (like my grandsons, whom my pet loves), and other family members.

I hesitate telling my sister. When my last pet passed away, she wanted to be there when we buried him.

When the time came, she was nowhere to be found, and when I called her, she said she was running an errand and she would be right there.

I waited for over an hour, and then decided to go ahead without her. When she finally showed up, she was beside herself that I did not wait, and sobbed like it had been her pet that died. She admonished me for not waiting and I told her to go home.

I don’t want to spend the last few weeks I have with my pet dealing with my sister’s drama. It’s not like she spends a lot of time at our home; I rarely see her unless she needs something.

It will be all I can do to keep myself together the day we have to do this awful deed, and I don’t feel like I should have to comfort her. My husband and I want privacy in our grief.

But there will be a no-win situation, because she will flip out if I tell her after the fact. How should I handle this?

— Broken-Hearted Pet Parent

Broken-Hearted: I’m very sorry you are going through this. But please keep in mind that euthanizing your pet at the end of a long illness should not be viewed as “an awful deed.”

It is a final act of loving your animal — all the way to the end. Compared to the importance of that tender mercy — your sister’s flip-out is small potatoes.

I say, do exactly what is best for your pet, your family, and you.

Dear Amy: I am a 60-year-old full-time musician. I have performed and taught for many years.

My much younger second cousin reached out by text and asked me to play for his upcoming wedding. I told him I was available. He has never mentioned an honorarium of any kind, and I haven’t, either.

I didn’t want to appear greedy. We have no regular interaction of any kind.

Should I just accept the invitation and not expect an honorarium because he is extended family? I feel a bit awkward asking about receiving payment for my services.

What do you think?

— Pondering Pianist

Pianist: If you don’t ask to be paid or discuss payment, you will most likely not be paid.

This payment should not be considered “an honorarium,” but an exchange of money for your hard work and professional service. An honorarium is offered for services for which no price is expected or set. You are a professional musician, and this is a gig.

You should be very specific and professional in your response to your second cousin. Doing so will eliminate stress and confusion later.

Here is sample wording (you would fill in your own details): “For weddings, I will play before and during the ceremony — if you want — and for two hours during the cocktail time and dinner.

“If you hire a DJ, they should take over after dinner and during the dancing. My normal fee is $XXX plus a meal and travel expenses. I’d be happy to give you the ‘family discount’ and charge $XXX for the evening. Let me know if this is acceptable and I’d be happy to discuss music choices with you. Congratulations — I’m honored to be asked to perform at your wedding.”

Dear Amy: Have you ever received letters from different people with different perspectives about the same event?

For example, one letter might read, “My niece rarely responds to text messages. I am forced to contact her again and again if I want a reply. The worst was when we were planning my mother’s 90th birthday party …”

Another writer might say, “I am a busy young professional. I can’t drop everything to reply to every text that comes my way, but my uncle does not seem to understand. The worst was when my grandmother was turning 90 …”

— Wondering

Wondering: I’m not aware of this ever happening, but your example illustrates how important perspective is.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency