Wise answers to perplexing questions
The Answer Lady invites inquiries from gentle readers on all manners of relationship quandaries, matters of the heart, and ethics. If you’d like to send a query, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Answer Lady
My best friend and I are taking our kids trick-or-treating together. She has a small dog, and she treats him like a child. She just told me that she will be dressing the dog to join us. I don’t have anything against dogs, but dressing him in a costume is a bit much, don’t you think? – Trixie Treat
Oh, dear – I hope she isn’t dressing him as Lady Gaga. While the Answer Lady agrees with you, she also thinks that whatever we think is immaterial to the decision-making process of a person who dresses up a dog. The Answer Lady is wild about dogs, and her dogs are most definitely treated as family members. She does not, however, know what size clothing they wear. If it’s simply a matter of being vaguely mortified by walking around with your friend’s costumed canine, Cape May is certainly compact enough that you can divide your trick-or-treating route in half and agree to meet in the middle somewhere. If, however, you’re feeling morally outraged, then you need to examine your feelings and perhaps lighten up a little. It sounds as if your friend does love and take care of her little pet, so keep that in mind. In the grand scheme of things, it’s just a dog in an outfit. At least she’s not pushing him around in a stroller, which is just creepy. (She’s not, is she?)
Dear Answer Lady
I was jogging on the promenade the other day and almost collided with a lady walking a large dog. I hate to sound like a curmudgeon, but the signs clearly say “No dogs or skateboards.” I said something to her, politely, but she got really defensive and responded that the rule is only in effect in the summer. This, of course, is not indicated anywhere. I wanted to pursue the conversation, but decided against it. Should I have done so? – Dog-Gone
It is difficult when you know that you are right and the other person is wrong. On the other hand, saying one’s piece politely and then disengaging, as you did, is usually the way to go, particularly when one’s adversary is accompanied by a large dog. Saying “I don’t know if you’re aware, but dogs aren’t allowed on the promenade – I’d hate to see you get a citation,” should be sufficient. Any escalation beyond that is unnecessary, and karma usually will take it from there.