Dear Labby advises: houseguest is scared of my sweet dogs

Dear Labby,

I have two very gentle, elderly Greyhound rescues. A friend I haven’t seen in years, and who is very anxious around dogs, is coming to visit for a night. When I mentioned Elsie and Leroy, I could hear the panic in her voice. Must I kennel the dogs during her stay? Or did she sign up for this so she’ll have to find a way to deal?

Signed:

I’m Not Averse to Boarding, but Indeed Necessary to Do?

There’s a compromise to be found here, I.N. A. B.I.N.D. You’ve offered your home for the evening, you’ve set expectations about who else will be in attendance, and your guest has accepted the conditions. (Sorry… didn’t mean to reduce your joyous reunion to what sounds like a military surrender.)

During bedtime hours, keep the dogs crated or in a separate part of the house. No one wants a midnight heart attack brought on by a surprise lick of the toes. But as for the rest of the time, why not expose your friend to a couple of well-behaved and mild-mannered canine ambassadors? Could make for less tense get-togethers in the future.

You say the dogs are gentle and elderly? If that’s truly the case and these guys would no sooner jump into the lap of your friend than would your goldfish, it’s reasonable to expect she could handle the scene. If hyperventilating ensues, consider moving the visit to a less hostile venue. Like tea with Sarah Palin and Levi Johnston.