Sage Advice: My Dogsitter Friend Is Lying to Me

January 10th, 2018


Dogsitter Image

Dear Amy: Over the past dozen years, a friend of mine has volunteered to stop by the house to let my dogs out during the day while I am at work.

This friend works from home and when out running errands, stops by to see the dogs. In return, I have provided the family with a purebred dog from my breeding program (I breed and show dogs as a hobby), keep two of their dogs groomed and order food for her dogs when I place my order.

Recently I installed a security system at my place, and one of the features is tracking when the doors are opened and closed.

I have discovered that the noon visits have mostly stopped, but yet I get emails telling me stories of the dog’s exploits, even though there is no record of a visit.

I have tested all of the monitors on the doors and they work perfectly fine, so basically I have discovered that my dogs have been in the house for 10-plus hours each day with no relief. I have noticed an increasing number of “accidents” in the house. This is an issue with our breed, a well-known health risk.

While I can find another option to take care of the dogs’ noon visits, I am most concerned about the fact that this friend is consistently lying to me, and yet acts as if nothing has changed.

Should I confront the friend and ask what is going on? This will certainly impact the friendship, which is a shame because we are involved in numerous activities together.

– Dog Drama

Dear Drama: Yes, you should confront your friend. You have these dogs that require a consistent level of expertise and care, and yet you are counting on a fairly casual arrangement with a friend for their daily care. I realize that you have compensated this friend over the years, but it still seems like a large lift to expect someone to do this every day, basically as a favor.

Ask your friend if this has become too much for her. You should be honest about your new security system and what it has revealed, tell her that you understand if she sometimes can’t make it to your house at noon, and simply give her an out, if she wants. Thank her sincerely for the many years she has done this.

Your dogs’ care and their health is really your responsibility (not hers), and it might be time for you to hire a compensated professional.


In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers.

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