Dear Amy:

Recently, my son was bitten by one of his grandfather's dogs. The dog is a breed known for this (he had bitten four people before this).

When this happened, my husband, my father and I took my son to the emergency room.

As my son was being examined by the emergency room staff, Grandpa promised to our little boy that the dog would be gone soon. (Grandpa watches my son during the week.)

A week has passed, and now it seems that Grandpa has decided that the dog will not be put down.

I must say that I am very disappointed because a promise was made to a very young boy. I am also concerned for the safety of other young children (there is a 15-month-old grandson).

Knowing that the dog is still there, my husband and I no longer want our son to go to Grandpa's house.

The dog is now being kept in a locked basement whenever anyone comes over.

It is not that we do not trust my dad, but we do not trust the dog. This dog is known for escaping at the slightest opening of the door. What is the best way to tell Grandpa that his grandson will not be coming over until the dog is gone?


Not only is your father a neglectful caregiver, he is a neglectful dog owner. Any dog that has bitten five people is dangerously aggressive. Where I live, animal-control authorities will investigate incidents of dog bites, and if the dog is considered dangerous, it will be removed from the home. An aggressive dog can be extremely dangerous and will put family members -- and the larger community -- at risk.

If you are lucky enough to live in an area with a "no-kill" animal shelter, there is a chance that this dog could be moved to a shelter and not be euthanized. The dog might do better in a different environment and could possibly be adopted by someone who can handle him. Obviously, locking the dog in the basement is no answer and would likely make the dog's behavior worse.

You need to tell your father that your son is too afraid of going to his home until he is certain that the dog has been removed. Say that you and your husband agree that your son won't visit until the dog is gone. Assume that your father cares about both your son and his dog -- but he must reprioritize. This should be non-negotiable for you. The parents of the 15-month-old grandson must also be warned.

Dear Amy:

About a year and a half ago, I caught my wife in an affair with a co-worker. We went to counseling for about a year, and now we are trying it on our own. The problem is that my wife and this guy still work together, and she is very secretive.

I still feel that my wife keeps things from me and find it hard to trust her. I love my wife, and we have three beautiful children. I want to keep our family together. I just can't trust her.

I don't get the respect I deserve, and it seems that whatever I say doesn't matter to her. I don't know what to do or how to get her to wake up.


Sometimes, people leave counseling because it is working and starting to get in the way of their good time.

This might be the case with your wife. The two of you should head back to therapy. A skilled couples counselor will create an atmosphere in the office that makes it easier for the two of you to talk, including suggesting exercises that both of you can do at home to work on your communication skills.

Your wife needs to make a huge effort to regain your trust -- continuing to work with the guy she had an affair with will continue to undermine your trust in her. I certainly hope that she comes around and that your family heals from this serious breach. However, if she refuses to attend counseling again with you, continues to be secretive at home and won't look for a new job, it's time to see a lawyer.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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