Dear Annie: After 30 years of living with my wife and her dogs, we divorced 10 years ago. We never assumed that our pets were welcome where ever we were. When we went to visit, we left our dogs at home. Or if we were going for an overnight visit, we boarded them at our veterinary's facility. I have chosen not to have animals in my home now, and I keep it very clean.
I have an issue with some of my friends and family who show up with their dogs when they come to visit. I don't dislike dogs, but these visitors act as if it's no big deal if their dog sheds everywhere, or goes around marking his territory on my carpet and furniture. The last straw was when good friends showed up with their dog who immediately began sniffing out his new "territory." He soon did his business on my new bedroom carpet. When I insisted they leave the dog outside, they acted insulted. Their dog riled up my neighbor's dog, and then scratched up my newly painted front door trying to get back in.
I've heard others say they've had the same issue with friends and family who show up with their pets. I've given up on trying to hint around, and have started saying in no uncertain terms, "You are welcome in my home, but your dog is not." The response is usually one of indignation, as if I'm being rude. Am I? — No-Animal House
Dear No-Animal House: You're not being rude. You're simply being honest, which is better than being passive-aggressive. It's common courtesy to ask permission before bringing a pet along when you're going to be staying in someone else's home. And if that pet makes messes, it's on the owner to clean up and cover any costs. While some people love having dogs around (I am one of them), not everyone does, and that's OK. A man's home is his castle, and he gets to decide whether or not it's pet-friendly.
Dear Annie: I am a frequent reader of your column and generally find your advice brilliant. However, in the recent column with the letter from "Washing Well," I think you missed the best answer for which method of washing dishes causes the least harm to the environment.
If your home has a dishwasher that is less than 15 years old, if you scrape plates into the trash (no rinsing) and if you wait until the dishwasher is full before you run it, you will use less than 5 gallons of water for the entire load. Very few people can wash a full load of dishes by hand with less water, no matter how frugal. Also, remember it is not only the use of water but also the use of energy to heat the water that takes a toll on our environment.
I am an environmental science professor and textbook author and these are exactly the difficult issues we deal with in my field every day. But they are not as tough as the issues you deal with. — Andy F.
Dear Andy F.: I did not realize just how environmentally friendly dishwashers were, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Thank you, professor, for the lesson.
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