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Old 12-20-2012, 11:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Angry Family fun for the holidays (not)

So, my S.O. called his parents last night to inform them that we would definitely be at their place for the Christmas festivities this year for at least a few hours, and he ended up getting harangued by his father because of our dogs. He (my S.O.) was told in no uncertain terms that if we so much as mention our dogs as a reason why we are leaving "early" (we can only stay for 4 hours this year due to the fact that the drive is 2 hours one way, and I won't leave my dogs crated for more than 8 hours) that we should expect a lot of anger from the other people in attendance.

His mom, in particular, views our dogs as an impediment to her seeing her son more, but she is unwilling to compromise. Previous years we've asked if we could bring them with us and crate them on the porch or in their garage (both areas are clean and dry, and easily warmed with a space heater), and her response has always been "absolutely not!". She doesn't want the animals anywhere on her property.

How do you even work with people like this? They become seriously offended if you don't make time for them, yet are unwilling to adjust their own wants and expectations to facilitate you being there. In this case, his parents want the sacrifice to be all on our end. To put a finer point on it: My S.O. and I have been living at our current address for almost 8 years, and in all that time his parents have only visited once. ONCE! Honestly, if you want to see your kids more, get off your ass and put forth a little effort yourself.

Another thing of note: His father is the sort of person who grew up with dogs, but considers them pets only, not members of the family. He, in all seriousness, told us we should just leave the dogs in our basement with food and water and a giant litter box and let them fend for themselves for a day or two.

Anyway, sorry for the minor rant. I am incredibly annoyed. At this point, I'd really rather stay home than deal with his family's B.S.
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Roman Groom: Yeah, and he's not too fond of you. What's wrong with robots?
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Roman Groom: Yeah. Friend of mine, she made her domestic robot look like a dog.
The Doctor: Ah, well, dogs. That's different.

- Doctor Who, The Waters of Mars

Last edited by Desy; 12-20-2012 at 11:39 AM.. Reason: ETA: Clarification.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Honestly, at that point I'd have said "On second thought, we have other plans for the holidays, with our dogs, and won't be able to make it."

Then I'd hang up, let them slip into a tizzy and actually enjoy the holidays.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Adobe4two View Post
Honestly, at that point I'd have said "On second thought, we have other plans for the holidays, with our dogs, and won't be able to make it."

Then I'd hang up, let them slip into a tizzy and actually enjoy the holidays.
get out of my head with the same idea, there. this is precisely what i would do. if they still want to see you, they can make the effort to come to you.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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So remind me again why you are going over to theirs for Christmas?

Honestly, if someone told me, I had to stay at someones house for x amount of hours or be prepared for a ticking off even if they are your SO's parents I would be telling them I will be spending the holidays at my place and they can either make the 2 hour drive to come see me as I won't be doing it or they can spend their Christmas with folk who obviously appreciate their boorish ways.

As for leaving the dogs in the basement, jesus in a handbasket, they really are not nice people are they.

Sorry but I have long since learnt you cannot please such people and so do not even try to anymore.

Last edited by Toby'shuman; 12-20-2012 at 11:41 AM..
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I wouldn't go, of course I'm old and don't care anymore if I affend someone. Especially, when it comes to my dog(s). Remember, just because your related to someone, doesn't mean you have to like them.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I no longer go with hubby to see his parents. We couldn't resolve our issues and now we both enjoy the holidays without each other. I have no issue sending hubby We all have a better time.

How did your SO respond? I'd say those are the kind of people who won't change how they act or how they treat people. You two get to decide how to move forward. Personally at my age now, I'm ok with people being angry at me if I have to leave It doesn't effect me. 20 years ago it would have.

It's really sad when a simple compromise would make things go smoother.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Ivan has "interfered" with my ability to visit with relatives. Oh darn. . .
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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So remind me again why you are going over to theirs for Christmas?

Honestly, if someone told me, I had to stay at someones house for x amount of hours or be prepared for a ticking off even if they are your SO's parents I would be telling them I will be spending the holidays at my place and they can either make the 2 hour drive to come see me as I won't be doing it or they can spend their Christmas with folk who obviously appreciate their boorish ways.

As for leaving the dogs in the basement, jesus in a handbasket, they really are not nice people are they.

Sorry but I have long since learnt you cannot please such people and so do not even try to anymore.
His mom puts lot of effort into preparing for the holidays and ensuring everything is perfect. She fusses over food and the cleanliness of the house, and wants everything in its place.

This in and of itself is not a bad thing, but she *expects* the same level of effort from other people as well, and that's where issues arise. The only way she will come visit us is if we extend an invitation, decorate the house, provide/cook all the food, and just generally make everything a big event. She's not the sort of person to just stop by to hang out and shoot the proverbial **** for a day...She wants to feel like a guest.

That's why we do not invite them to our place for the holidays. We're the sort of people who either go out to dinner on special occasions, or prepare a small meal and try to relax and enjoy ourselves. She wants the event; we just want to enjoy peoples' company without a tremendous amount of overhead.

So yes, we could just stay home, but we'd effectively be burning our bridges with these people if we did. We'd never hear the end of it. And as much as my S.O. and I dislike his family, these are still his parents, and I don't think he wants to estrange himself.
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Roman Groom: Yeah. Friend of mine, she made her domestic robot look like a dog.
The Doctor: Ah, well, dogs. That's different.

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Old 12-20-2012, 11:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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My response would be I'm sorry you feel this way about .... however we are going to do ..... You can accept this or not that is up to you. You let people treat you the way you want to be treated. I learned this a long time ago especially when it comes to my family.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Wow. That's weird... I can't really imagine that. My in-laws are not nearly the animal people we are (they think I'm a little addled on that front and have turned my husband strange too), but they have their own little dog and would never suggest we neglect ours to see them.

I probably wouldn't go... If they were nice about it but didn't want you to bring the dogs (reasonable), I'd probably just try to find a pet sitter for the day.


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Old 12-20-2012, 11:58 AM   #11 (permalink)
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It's one thing if it were friends but family is just so hard to deal with, sometimes.
I'd want to just walk away and not think twice but I can understand how difficult taht would be.

Sorry you're finding yourself in such an... annoying (?) situation.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:59 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I no longer go with hubby to see his parents. We couldn't resolve our issues and now we both enjoy the holidays without each other. I have no issue sending hubby We all have a better time.

How did your SO respond? I'd say those are the kind of people who won't change how they act or how they treat people. You two get to decide how to move forward. Personally at my age now, I'm ok with people being angry at me if I have to leave It doesn't effect me. 20 years ago it would have.

It's really sad when a simple compromise would make things go smoother.
I wasn't privy to the whole conversation, but my S.O's response to his father's comment about how people would jump down our throats if we mentioned the dogs was something along the lines of, "Dad, I have been walking on eggshells around this family for years. I *expect* people to behave poorly." In other words, telling us that his family would be angry if we left early due to the dogs is not much of a threat. Anger in that household, in some form or another, is *expected*.

Now, I still have the option of staying home if I so choose, but the thought of sending my S.O. into that cave of trolls without backup is disturbing to me. So I will more than likely go.
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Roman Groom: Yeah, and he's not too fond of you. What's wrong with robots?
The Doctor: It's not the robots, it's the people. Dressing them up and giving them silly voices. You're reducing them.
Roman Groom: Yeah. Friend of mine, she made her domestic robot look like a dog.
The Doctor: Ah, well, dogs. That's different.

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Old 12-20-2012, 12:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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ouch. that has to be a tough family to be around.

you could always play the sick card...
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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As much as I hate visiting my parents (we get along better over the phone), I'm very grateful that my mom actually LOVES animals, Dobes especially. I never saw her as upset as when our first Dobe had to be put to sleep because of heart issues (none of us knew much about the breed, other than our rescue boy showed us they were awesome ) She's SO excited to meet Jaina, and really wishes that her heath permitted her to have a dog (she's always had dogs, up til 2008 when we lost 4 dogs all within the same year to old age With her hip replacement, she just can't meet the needs of a dog anymore. It makes me sad for her)

But we've had our tussels. Marty and I don't visit often because she tends to be a bit condescending (perhaps without meaning to). So we don't visit terribly often, and when we do, we make them short visits. When I first moved out here, we had been estranged for almost a year (my mom didn't like me moving out for college), but she eventually realized I'm my own adult and to BACK OFF. So now we get along better.

Your SO's mom sounds a bit... well... You know when they label humans as female dogs, and it's a bit derogatory? Yah. I'm at work otherwise.. yah. I hate people who feel they need to be catered to. Granted, we've lived in Sacramento for around 3, almost 4 years now, and my parents have visited once themselves. So I also know that feeling.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:06 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Oy, I would lose it. You're in a really tricky situation, and I really get both sides of the argument. You don't want to burn bridges, and she doesn't understand that dogs are family not pets. A lot of people are like that, actually.

But...

If she really wants to see her son, accomodations need to be made on both parts. You are the one driving two hours, not them. She can plead that she put so much effort into Christmas, but did anyone ask her to? Would everyone be content to just be together? I'm fairly certain that was her choice, not anyone else's.

Relationships are all give and take! No healthy relationship is one side and you both need to acknowledge that. "Yes, I will drive the distance to see you, rather than have you drive the distance to come eat at a restaurant with us, buuuut my dogs are coming with me."

If either my family or the SO's said, "sorry, no dogs" I'd say "sorry, we're a package deal". It is what it is. Mom's are mom's are mom's are mom's. They will forgive.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:09 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Wow. That's weird... I can't really imagine that. My in-laws are not nearly the animal people we are (they think I'm a little addled on that front and have turned my husband strange too), but they have their own little dog and would never suggest we neglect ours to see them.

I probably wouldn't go... If they were nice about it but didn't want you to bring the dogs (reasonable), I'd probably just try to find a pet sitter for the day.


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We usually have a friend of our's petsit for us on Christmas, but his catahoula bulldog has been exhibiting some behavioral problems. A couple months ago she attacked one of his other dogs and both animals -- as well as my friend, who got bitten trying to separate them -- ended up having to go to the emergency room.

I won't board my dogs, either. I've had nothing but negative experiences leaving my pets at boarding facilities. We tried that last year with our beagle mix and he acted twitchy and generally neurotic for a month afterwards.

As for an in-home petsitter...I'm just not comfortable with a stranger coming and going at my house when I am not home.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:19 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I am spending my Christmas with my father who is driving 2 hours to see us for the holiday and going to my sister's house where they have two pits and my boy is welcome. Otherwise I would be elsewhere and my boy would have to be crated- like Thanksgiving...my poor Rou had to be crated for 7 hours while I was out eating. Oh how I missed him. People have some nerve telling me I have to lock up my son >
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:20 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I appreciate all the feedback I am getting. It's nice having people sympathize with my perspective for a change.

With the exception of one of my S.O's aunts (who also happens to be a dog lover), everyone sides with his parents. None of them are pet people. I don't think any of them have so much as a goldfish, so they all find it difficult to fathom why leaving the dogs home alone (in the basement) or in a boarding kennel is such a big deal.

These people are alien to me in so many ways.
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Roman Groom: Yeah. Friend of mine, she made her domestic robot look like a dog.
The Doctor: Ah, well, dogs. That's different.

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Old 12-20-2012, 01:00 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Wow... I am so grateful for my family! We have our issues, but the one thing we all agree on is that pets ARE family. It has led to some juggling of feeding areas & schedules- heck at one family holiday we had 9 dogs in attendance along with all the people, but not including them is not ever an option.

DH's family, on the other hand... His father is not a pet lover, but tolerates mine politely when he visits us. He learned, over the past 15 years that if he wanted me to visit him- the dogs came. PERIOD. No dogs=no visits. If he wants to visit us- he needs to accept that the pets live here too. My BIL hates cats, to an extent that is truly unhealthy- he just doesn't come inside my home. All visits are outside. When I visit him, we leave after 2 hours or so to get home to the pets.

In your situation, I would simply tell them that you ARE making the effort to come and visit, for the length of time that you can leave your furkids. If that effort isn't enough to please them, well, that is THEIR fault and not something you can or will change. It worked for me
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:04 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I wouldn't go, but then again, I'm a bitch and I'll be offensive at te worst of times.
Good lck and happy holidays!
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:14 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Well we don't get to choose our family just our friends.

My inlaws pets are all outdoors. The last time I visited I helped DH cut the metal choke chain off the obese rottweiler. The last time they came to see me one of their cats died, 4 days AFTER getting into human medicine, have seizures, throwing up and not eating...never did go to the vet. I found it odd that she sobbed when she hard the kitty passed away. I don't get that mentality. IF you have them, take care of them.

I am very LUCKY they live 2 states away
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:36 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Well we don't get to choose our family just our friends.
alternate school of thought (as an adopted person whose family chose her): family isn't just blood. you *can* choose your family.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:20 PM   #23 (permalink)
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It is your MIL's choice to go to such lengths regards the holiday preparations, you yourself have said you prefer a more low key affair and fact is, what you are actually in effect doing is putting your own holidays on hold so she can have hers.

If you choose to go and leave your dogs for longer than 8 hours you will be miserable without doubt.
If you leave earlier than your SO's family expect then they will make you feel uncomfortable.

If you cannot find someone to look after your dogs and you don't want to leave your dogs for more than 8 hours and your SO's family won't allow you to take them with you, then it seems clear there is going to be a slight smell of burning in the air.

As I have said, I no longer live for other people, yes family are nice, but only if they try to understand what makes you tick, it seems you have SO's family worked out, how hard can it be for them to understand that you are responsible dog owners who aren't going to neglect their dogs.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:36 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I take it SO = not married.. if so, you don't have to put up with it. Stay home. It's his problem and food for thought for you if you are contemplating marriage. If y'all are married - still - stay home.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:46 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Ask his mother whether she understands the word "compromise"? I am pretty sure thats what should be happening here.

Nobody needs to take that sort of crap from family. If that was me and they didn't understand why you aren't happy leaving your dogs in their crates for that amount of time then I wouldn't even bother to explain it to them. Go down, spend your few hours with them and leave. If they say anything just tell them that if you wanted their opinion on how you live your life then you would ask them for it. I find that statement soon shuts people up!!

Live your life how you want to not how others expect you to!
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