Dear Labby: I don’t love a friend’s Facebook photo

Dear Labby,

An acquaintance of mine posted a picture on his Facebook page that I found a bit offensive. It showed his child riding the family dog like a horse, which I don’t think is fair to the medium-sized Lab (who didn’t look thrilled). I really want to post a comment, but I don’t know this Facebook friend that well and I don’t want to come across as some sort of alarmist. What should I do, if anything?

Signed:

Bothered About Ride Executed By Active Child

Dear Bothered About Ride Executed By Active Child,

Sort of makes you long for the good ol’ days, before social media, when one could just make anonymous posts all over the Internet, bitterly and without fear of un-friendship. Good times…

In this case, the risk is alienating a dear, dear Facebook acquaintance versus not speaking up about an animal in potential discomfort or pain. Maybe the best way to voice your concern without sending your pal into a defensive tizzy (after all, who likes to be told, semi-publicly, that they’re doing something wrong?) is to pretend you’ve had experience with similar fiascos:

“Ooh, be careful! My cousin’s dog suffered a spinal injury that way.”

Or:

“Ooh, be careful! My cousin’s daughter broke her arm getting bucked from an irritated Pyrenees.”

Or even:

“Ooh, be careful! My cousin’s daughter got bit in the face trying to ride an English Sheepdog.”

Frankly, B.A.R.E. B.A.C., if your acquaintance wasn’t thinking about the dog’s welfare or the child’s safety in the first place, your post probably isn’t going to flip his mental awareness switch. But it’s worth a try.

The worst that could happen is he un-friends you. And that could be awkward at the next online chili-off.