Ask Amy

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 11:45pm

DEAR AMY: We recently remodeled our house, and we decided to institute a no-pet policy. We've had issues in the past, particularly with visiting dogs, and we decided that this would be a good time to protect our house (and ourselves) from hyperactive animals.

Recently, my niece and her family expressed a desire to visit us this summer. This is an awesome family, but they got themselves a lovable puppy a couple of months ago.

I've met "Sammy," and he really is a nice dog. But he is also a puppy.

My niece wrote that Sammy would be accompanying them on their trip. I had to write back that they were welcome to visit, as always, but that, unfortunately, Sammy would not be welcome.

They have not yet responded, and I hope they are not too upset. My question to you is, are my wife and I being unreasonable?

— Mike in Seattle

DEAR MIKE: It's your house. Those are your carpets.

This is also your family, however.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to prohibit dogs from being longer-term houseguests.

Instead of telling you that "Sammy" would be coming with them, your niece should have asked you if Sammy would be welcome to stay in your home.

Given your prohibition, it would have been nice for you to recommend a local kennel where Sammy could stay while your niece and her family stays with you. Family members could visit him and take him on outings if they choose, but your house would be spared.


DEAR AMY: My husband and I got a divorce but we've been back together and seeing each other for about a year. I've been worried that he has been doing things behind my back.

I found out he has been making calls to a phone number. I saw it on his phone bill.

I blocked my phone number and called the number he's been calling so the person wouldn't see my phone number. A girl answered, saying his name. They must have some kind of code between them where he blocks his number and she knows who it is because the number is blocked.

He is saying he never made any calls to that number, even though I saw it on the bill. He is denying it when there is the proof. I can't find out who this phone number belongs to, though, and it's driving me crazy.

How do I find out who owns this mysterious number and how do I get him to admit that he's calling this woman? He's asking me to marry him again, but I've had this terrible feeling about him and now I know I'm right.

What should I do now?

— Worried

DEAR WORRIED: Your efforts at this point should be directed not toward solving this mystery but in trying to determine whether to stay in this relationship.

You are combing through phone records, blocking and unblocking phone numbers and behaving like Lindsay Lohan off her meds.

Stop. You've already married and divorced this guy once. The burden is on both of you to have a more solid and trusting relationship this time around.

It is obvious that the trust isn't there. It doesn't even really matter if your worries are justified because in this instance the trust issue trumps the truth.

You two could work on this with the help of a professional counselor.


DEAR AMY: "Tired Teacher" was frustrated by parents who bullied her via e-mail.

My husband worked for more than 18 years as a youth pastor. After many years of getting "beat up," we found a reply to the unfair and often untrue complaints parents made to us because their teens were pitting their parents against us.

This is what we say: "If you promise not to believe everything your son/daughter says about me, I will promise not to believe everything they tell me about you."

— Carolyne

DEAR CAROLYNE: I'm happy this worked, but I think it puts the burden on the wrong person: the child. If parents behave badly, their behavior should be emphasized.

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