Dear Labby’s advice for in-law with smelly dog

Dear Labby,

Friends and relatives know that when they are invited over, their dogs are welcome too. We travel too much to have our own pets and relish the chance to hear little paws prancing about our house. However, when my brother’s fiancée brings her Collie for the evening, the rest of us can barely breathe. I’ve asked my brother to talk to her about it but he claims he doesn’t smell anything. What’s the best way to tell your future sister-in-law her dog stinks?


Fido’s Odor Utterly Loathsome

Sounds, F.O.U.L., like your sister to be is the one who stinks. Her dog simply needs a bath. You’re right to recognize this as the human’s responsibility and not the canine’s issue, assuming the smell is a matter of general hygiene and not a symptom of a more serious health problem.

The way I see it, you have two options. The first is to be as (tactfully) honest as possible: “Hey there, Sistie. We absolutely adore it when you bring Fido for a visit, but we’ve noticed just the faintest whiff of an odor on him. Would you mind giving him a bath before we see you this Saturday?”

The other option (and it’s not recommended unless this woman is extremely sensitive and prone to violence) is to make up an outrageous lie to spare her feelings: “We’ve just adopted a new goldfish and our veterinarian said she has a rare health condition requiring any canine who visits the house to be bathed no more than twelve hours prior to arrival.”

And if neither of those work, a gift certificate to Groomers-R-Us makes a sweet wedding present.

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