Dear Abby: My daughter "Jenny," her husband, "Bob," and their three dogs live with my husband and me in our home. We live on a fairly busy road. The dogs used to always be leashed when they were taken out. They have now made a habit of letting the dogs out without leashes.
This frightens me. Not only am I concerned about one of the dogs getting hit by a car, but also any legal ramifications if they cause damage to others. I have spoken to my daughter about it, but nothing has changed.
Abby, what can we do to make Jenny and Bob responsible for any damages incurred by their actions? One last note -- one of their dogs WAS hit by a car and had a long, painful recovery with a very expensive vet bill. – Out of Ideas in Connecticut
Dear Out of Ideas: You have a right to be concerned. Contact your attorney and your insurance broker to find out what the fallout could be for you as homeowners because of your daughter and son-in-law's laziness and carelessness.
Responsible dog owners keep their pets leashed so they won't be hurt by running into traffic or biting a child or an adult they don't recognize as a friend. If your daughter and S.I.L. can't abide by your wishes and behave responsibly, they shouldn't be living under your roof.
P.S. This isn't just about the dogs and liability; it's also about respect for you.
Dear Abby: A couple of years ago, my extended family found a fun, all-inclusive solution to the grumbling (and expense) of preparing the holiday meal.
Each family is assigned a portion of the meal they are going to prepare. For fun, it has to be a recipe that has never been tried before so no one can fret that it isn't made like Grandma used to make it. The person holding the party coordinates kitchen time, but to be honest, everybody enjoys helping each other out, and the cooks spend most of their time chatting.
We have tried wonderful variations to the traditional turkey, enjoyed an awesome pie straight from the Renaissance, and learned that we will never again try oyster stuffing. Because the recipes are untried, no one feels bad if the dish isn't perfect, and we have tried things we were surprised we liked.
Most important, we do it together and spend the day laughing, talking and catching up, and no one has to be a slave to the day. Hope this will give other people ideas. – Scott in Baltimore
Dear Scott: So do I, because your family has captured the true spirit of the holiday season, which is too often lost because of the pressure people put on themselves to achieve perfection.
Dear Abby: My husband and his sister had a falling out after their parents died and haven't spoken for a few years. My husband is very stubborn and holds grudges.
He is very ill now. I have asked him if he wants to tell his sister about his illness, and he says no. I'm not sure how much longer he has left.
I am thinking about going against his wishes and calling her in the hopes that they can make peace. Your thoughts? – Not Much Time Left
Dear Not Much Time Left: Depending upon how deep the rift between them is, I do think you should make a confidential phone call and tell her it might be a good idea to call her brother. If she does, the conversation could be healing for both of them.
However, if she chooses to ignore the situation, the choice will have been hers, and no harm will have been done.
Dear Readers: Today, Veterans Day, I would like to thank not only all of you who have honorably served our country, but also those men and women who are on active duty for your service as well. I salute each and every one of you. – Abby
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.