My husband disappears, and I’m left holding the dogs

Dear Amy: My husband and I have been very happily married for more than 30 years. Our three children are grown and gone, and we are enjoying our empty nest.

We have two well-behaved dogs that we adore, and we share responsibility for the dogs’ care, much as we shared our parenting duties.

However, my husband has taken up a new hobby (birdwatching), which means that he is gone on excursions with various groups on many weekends.

I have no problem at all with his being gone (leaving early Saturday, returning Sunday evening), but there is an assumption now that I will stay at home and take care of the dogs whenever he wants to leave – often at the last minute.

But guess what? Sometimes I want to fly away from home, too – and I’m stuck here with two furry goofballs.

We are both still working, and our weekends are valuable.

Can you give us some ideas for how to handle this?

 Caring for Canines

Dear Caring: With two dogs, spontaneous getaways are pretty much out of the question, but my strongest suggestion is that you and your husband find two sources of responsible and reliable dog care — perhaps a sitter and also a kennel — and that you and he switch off months where you are each responsible for arranging and paying for dog care if you are planning to be away.

For those times when your husband leaves you holding the doggy bag, he could compensate you for the cost he would pay an outside source for weekend dog care. This would recognize the responsibility you are assuming; you might choose to use the extra money to fund your own flyaway weekends.

Dear Amy: My 8-year-old niece is having trouble coping with and sorting out her feelings.

She is confused by her mother’s abandonment of the family home and by her mother’s very erratic behavior.

One moment, her mother makes scenes over her two children not loving her, and then the next moment she is sending them out of the house on their own in a strange town while she spends time with her boyfriend (four boyfriends so far since the marriage breakup a year ago).

Mom blames everybody (including her children) for not loving and respecting her.

In spite of this, my niece desperately wants her parents to come together again.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁

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