Other_People_s_Pets by milkymo


Other People's Pets

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This article shows you how to define and enforce boundaries in dealing
with your friends and their pets in your home and in theirs.

boundaries, setting boundaries, boundary, how to set boundaries,
tolerations, tolerate, put up with, pets, pet lover, other people's pets,
other's pets, pet issues, animal lover, animal issues

Article Body:
Copyright 2006 Vivian Banta

Whether or not you are a pet lover, you have probably run across issues
with dealing with other people's pets. Either you are getting mauled by
someone's huge, slobbering dog at a backyard barbeque or they have
decided that it is appropriate to bring Mr. Tinky Woo to your house since
he's just an itty-bitty thing. The question is: how do you avoid such
situations in the future? Put simply, it's a matter of defining and
enforcing your boundaries.

When It's Your Place. The first thing you have to decide is what your
boundaries are in regards to pets in your home. Do you want to forbid
all pets belonging to other people from your home? Do you have pets of
your own to consider in making this decision? Is your choice impacted by
the type, size and disposition of the pet or by the type of event you are
hosting? Clearly define what the rules are for your home.

Next, you need to inform other people of the house rules regarding pets.
You don't have to send out a press release or anything. You might choose
to call a few of your friends with pets or perhaps include the
information in your next e-mail invitation to a party at your place. The
idea here is that it is difficult to enforce rules if nobody is aware of

Finally, when somebody shows up at your house and says something like, "I
know you said not to bring pets, but I'm sure you didn't mean my little
Mr. Tinky Woo", then you need to stand up for yourself and enforce the
boundary you set. Practice what you will say ahead of time. So many
times, clients will say to me, "But I was so clear! I couldn't believe
somebody would actually test my boundary and I didn't know what to say or
do, so the situation just happened all over again!" Don't put yourself
in this situation. Ensure your confident handling of the situation by
determining what you will say and do when faced with a boundary violator.
Perhaps in the situation described here you might say, "Yes, I did.
Would you like to run him home and come back or did you just want to get
together another time?"
When It's Their Place. Of course, you say, it's easier to set these
boundaries when it is your place, but how do you do this when it's not
your home? If the problem is a pet at your friend's place, there are two
steps you can take. First, you can ask your friend to control or confine
the pet in a way that doesn't overly stress the pet but will allow you to
enjoy your visit without discomfort or fear. If your friend is unwilling
to do this for you or should you feel uncomfortable asking for this
consideration or choose not to, then your next step is to suggest meeting
in a neutral place, like a restaurant.

If your friend is still unwilling to meet you halfway, it's time to
consider how important this relationship is to you. They have clearly
stated what their boundaries are so now you have to decide if their
continued acquaintance is worth putting up with their pet.

As a child, I was chased down by a large German shepherd and bitten, and
I still find large dogs somewhat intimidating. If we get invited to
someone's house and I know that they have big dogs, I check to see if
they are willing to control them. If they are not, I decline the
invitation and suggest something else. If they say they will but don't
actually do this when I'm there, I leave. These are my boundaries-what
are yours?

What if Your Pet is the Problem? Having said a lot about defining your
boundaries about other people's pets, it's probably a good idea to look
at your own pets, if you have them. Do you inadvertently subject your
friends to your pets? Perhaps you recognized that the big, slobbering
dog attacking your guests at the barbeque was your overly friendly golden
retriever. Keep in mind that the first rule of hosting is to ensure your
guest's comfort. You may view your dog with a benevolent eye but how are
your guests perceiving his attentions? To what extent are you willing to
control your pet or curtail your pet's behavior?

Likewise, you might view your new pocket pet as the ideal shopping and
traveling companion and enjoy taking her everywhere with you, but do you
find that your friends are starting to avoid you? Again, you have to
define what your boundaries are here.

As someone who actively despised cats for many years and is now the proud
co-owner of one, I can understand that not everyone wants to pet my
friendly kitty and go home covered in cat hair. While some people love
her, some may even be allergic to her or to my apartment because of her
presence. I make a point of informing potential visitors about her so
they can decide for themselves. Depending on my guests' tolerance level,
I may offer to confine her in a separate room for the time they are
visiting or we might choose to meet up somewhere else. Again, these are
my boundaries-what are yours?

Conclusion. It is completely possible to enjoy your friends, your pets
and their pets, provided you are clear about what your boundaries are and
you enforce them consistently. Ambivalence about the topic and avoidance
of the issue are the biggest reasons people continue to suffer these
situations. If you want to enjoy future social occasions, then quit
tolerating this and make some changes.

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