Annie Lane: Dog drama

Published 7:06 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2022

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Dear Annie: I have a dog who loves people. Whenever my sister-in-law, “Helen,” visits, she does not touch him at all. She has a dog herself and seems to like dogs. This makes my wife feel bad, but Helen doesn’t seem to care.

My wife has never acted even remotely this way with her sister’s dog.

For background, when we first got our dog, Helen made comments to my wife that indicated she was jealous whenever our dog got attention from people, as hers was no longer the only dog in our extended family.

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We have a husky mix who a lot of people seem to like, while Helen’s is a pit-boxer mix (looks like a pit), which are liked by a lot of people but also misunderstood by many.

Another caveat to this is their father, who says he is allergic and stopped coming over to the house to see my wife after we got the dog. I also have issues with that. Why can’t he stand in the driveway for a few minutes to talk if he really liked seeing her? But that is a topic for another day. Helen seems to mimic his thoughts on a great many things in her life, so maybe that has something to do with it, too.

I would appreciate if you could shed some light on why she is acting this way and what, if anything, my wife might be able to do.

— Concerned Husband

Dear Concerned Husband: It sounds like the dog issue is being used for something deeper going on. So long as Helen isn’t mean to your dog, then let her be and ignore her lack of interest in your dog. Perhaps your dog is not her cup of tea, and that is OK because he is your dog, not hers. Your wife sounds lovely given how sweet she is to her sister’s dog. As for your father-in-law, as you say, that is a topic for another day.

• • •

Dear Annie: I recall the words of the song from my Girl Scout days, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

I have always told my children that peace begins in the family and radiates to the world from there. As families, we are a microcosm of groups of people of the larger world. We can’t expect harmony if we ourselves, in our little world, are not harmonious.

We have commandments that guide us whenever we have a question about our behavior. Carl Jung talked about the “collective unconscious.” I practice meditation and prayer, right now centered on disturbances in my family and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I have no control over either issue.

There are many prayers for world peace. Joan D. Chittister has lovely ones. And then there is “The 100th Monkey Effect,” which you can learn about here: We have all these things within our power.

— Just One Person

Dear Just One Person: You are one person with a big heart and no doubt a huge impact with your kindness and intention. You are truly right in that if you don’t feel peace within your own heart and your own family’s heart, it remains difficult to bring peace and joy to the hearts of others. So pray for peace within yourself so that you may bring that peace and harmony to others.

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