Annie Lane: Going to the dogs

Published 6:30 am Saturday, May 15, 2021

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Dear Annie: My father-in-law died unexpectedly a few years ago. Since then my brother-in-law’s family has put my meek mother-in-law in an uncomfortable predicament. These nieces and nephews who all live out of town seem to think it’s OK to bring their dogs every time they visit. Some have more than one. When they are all there at once, it’s really a dog zoo. For the past year, my husband and I have had the excuse of COVID-19 to avoid these gatherings. Frankly, we can’t stand all the dogs. More importantly than our feelings, though, my mother-in-law does not want them bringing their dogs. She is too sweet to say anything, for fear they won’t visit. My nieces and nephews are grown adults at this point; they all make very good money and could afford to kennel these pets. Should we tell them how much this upsets her? She is constantly having to steam clean her rugs because of this and other unnecessary chores.

— Do We Tell in Wisconsin

Dear Do We Tell: You can try speaking up for your mother-in-law — but if she’s that squeamish about confrontation, she’ll probably insist that the dogs are fine with her. Then you’ll have awkwardly inserted yourself into the situation for no reason. Encourage her instead to stand up for herself. It sounds like she’s afraid of being lonely, so remind her how much you and your spouse love and support her. And pay her some visits when your nieces, nephews and the rest of the pack aren’t around.

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Dear Annie: All of us have been dealing with the pandemic in different ways. What I find mind-boggling is the judgment, hysteria and smugness so many have displayed. Do your thing, and accept that others will do it theirs differently. As I told one hypercritical friend, “If you don’t want to contract the virus, stay home!” Respect, common sense and consideration go a long long way. And oh, by the way, leave double standards out of it as well.

— Tired of the Nonsense

Dear Tired: I hear you loud and clear. Lately, I’ve been trying my best not to judge others for anything — not even for being judgmental. It’s a challenge that I’ve mostly failed. But I’m going to keep trying.

I hope, over the next few months, we can leave some of these hard feelings behind along with the pandemic.

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Dear Annie: I’d like to address this to “Crying Myself to Sleep” and other women who are in love with men who they suspect don’t love them back: I encourage you to think about a man’s actions versus his words. It is deeply painful when you love a charming man with your whole heart then come to realize that he’s deceived you again and again. You think maybe, if you just wait and show him even more love, he will come around — and that’s exactly what he wants you to keep doing. Love yourself enough to drop a man who has caused you to cry so often. Please know from a woman who has gone through this, it is freeing. Once I started looking for an honest man, I, eventually, found one. We’re not perfect together, but it’s 100 times better than the bread crumbs I had from my deceiver. I wish you the self-love to drop your deceiver, and the joy that you can experience either on your own or with an honest man.

— Love Yourself, Too

Dear Love: It’s always helpful for people in the thick of heartache to hear from others who have made it through. Printing your letter to offer “Crying” and others some much-needed hope.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to