I visited my family overseas for three weeks. It was our first Christmas together in 10 years. A close friend offered to take my dog while I was away. During the first week, my friend’s mother died. I offered to make other arrangements for my dog, but she said it wasn’t necessary. By the second week, she was struggling. She asked if she could return the dog to my house and visit twice a day. I asked another person to help her so my dog would get more visits and my friend could deal with her loss. Then, my neighbors complained that my dog was barking all night. I asked my close friend to spend one night at my house. She declined and insinuated that I was to blame for the situation. Her inability to commit has caused a rift with my neighbors. How can I remedy the problem with the neighbors? (I’m OK just moving on with my friend and not accepting offers of help from her again.)
I sympathize with the inconvenience of having to make new dogsitting arrangements and fielding complaints from neighbors while you were abroad. But I am surprised by your lack of perspective and passive-aggressive swipes at your close friend: The death of her mother is of a different order of magnitude than your workaday complaints, including her silly insinuation that you were to blame for the barking. (Grief can prompt us to say and do odd things.)
Now, I don’t belittle your feelings. Sometimes, it takes an outsider to help us see that our interpretation of events is too narrow. Let me be that outsider here: Your friend probably believed that she could handle the responsibility — and wanted to, for your sake — until grief overwhelmed her and she couldn’t. If she were simply a flake, you wouldn’t have left your dog in her care, right?
It doesn’t sound to me as if anyone did anything wrong here. It was a symphony of bad timing. Try to be compassionate to your friend. She is grieving. And apologize to your neighbors with a brief explanation of the circumstances. I’m sorry for the stress to you and to them, but I’m even sorrier for your friend’s loss over the holidays.
When the Baby Shower Is More of a Drizzle
My daughter had a baby recently. She doesn’t know many people where she lives, so I started an online baby shower for her on a private, family Facebook page with over 100 members. Only two people sent gifts! I can’t tell you how disappointed I am. All she wanted was some warm clothes and simple things for a newborn, which I said in my post. I have attended special occasions for many group members that required travel, gifts and great expense. I didn’t do it to be paid back, but how do I handle my feelings?