Dear Labby’s advice for dinner party guest

Dear Labby,

I’m a dog lover. I have two of my own, both rescues. A friend of mine has a Miniature Schnauzer. Bessie is a sweet pup but an unrelenting beggar. If there’s no food around, I love having her near. But the other day when I was at the friend’s house for a dinner party, Bessie kept putting her paws in my lap during the meal and just generally prohibited me from enjoying my burger. Finally, I gave her a firm “uh uh!” and stood up from the table for a moment so that the dog’s legs would be forced to return to the ground. My friend looked at me as if I’d raised a hand to the animal and it was tense the rest of the evening. Was I wrong?


Barely Admonished Dog But Ended up Enraging Friend

Dear Barely Admonished Dog But Ended up Enraging Friend,

At my last dinner party I learned I don’t like green bean casserole. At yours, you learned you should’ve spoken up sooner. Valuable lessons, both.

So were you wrong? Wrong is a strong word, B.A.D. B.E.E.F. Here’s how I’d have suggested being more right: After one or two impolite solicitations from the Schnauzer, your best move would have been to lightheartedly alert your friend to the behavior: “Uh oh–Bessie’s making a play for my plate!”

That said, your response was certainly not outlandish, assuming you didn’t squeal, screech, or yell obscenities at the dog. The resulting tension may have simply been due to your host’s embarrassment by her dog’s lack of manners.

Hackles still raised? A quick remark to your friend should do the trick: “I can’t believe I jumped from the table the other night. The meal was so good, I just flipped at the thought of losing a single morsel.” Likely you’ll receive an apology in kind.

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