Pat Muir is on vacation this week, but don’t let that stick in your craw. Here’s some classic complaining from 2016.

Dear Crabby,

I’ve had dogs all my life, but they were always outside dogs. A couple of years after my wife passed away, I managed to convince a woman from New England to marry me. She came with a very large chocolate Lab that was accustomed to being in the house. I was eager to get married, so Mac came and lived with us. Then my stepson sent Gracie, a small yellow Lab, to live with us. (Gracie also lived inside.) Mac and Gracie were both old when they came and now they rest quietly in the rose garden/pet cemetery.

Shortly after the loss of Mac and Gracie, Stella, a mixed breed, was re-homed to our house. Miss Doodle came with three beds and a half-consumed sack of duck-flavored dog food.

I’m still real keen to please my New England bride, but Stella has issues. If my wife is also in the house when I get home from work, I’m met at the door by Stella barking loudly. If my wife does not happen to be at home, Stella can’t be bothered to get off the couch.

She now has four dog beds but prefers to be on my bed. My question to you is: Where will it end?

Sincerely,

In the Doghouse

 Dear Doghouse,

Before I get into this, I should probably tell you how I sleep every night: under a pile of dogs.

Usually it’s just two — about 170 pounds of Douglas-fur and Barkley — but sometimes we watch our friends’ two little dogs and all four of them end up using me as a pillow. So I’m not sure I’m the best-qualified to advise someone on drawing dog boundaries. I fully ceded control of my house to dogs years ago.

My situation is different than yours, though, because I love those dogs and they love me. If we didn’t like each other I’d be a lot less happy about their place in the domestic pecking order. (For the record, the official and oft-stated position of the Dear Crabby Desk is that all dogs are good dogs. But I get where you’re coming from and can recognize that not all dogs are good for all people.) That said, I still don’t think you can really do anything about it.

I mean, you can’t get rid of the dog; your wife loves it. And you can’t change the dog’s behavior; there’s a well-established saying about just that (old dogs, new tricks). So you basically just have to wait it out and hope the next dog is more agreeable. Because there WILL be a next dog. Your wife is clearly a dog person, and an indoor, share-the-house-share-the-bed dog person at that.

Given that reality, the only helpful suggestion I can think of is to be proactive and take part in selecting the next dog, maybe even before this current one ends up in the rose garden. That way you can find a dog you both like instead of being saddled with a dog your wife likes but that you merely tolerate.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have to spend the next year and a half trying to get all of the dog hair off of my sweater.

Hope that helps.

Sincerely, Crabby