Do Dogs Belong at the Dinner Table?

Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
My mother recently invited my aunt, uncle and my family over for dinner. My aunt and uncle have a small dog that they think is their child. When dinner was ready, they let the dog sit on my aunt’s lap. I told them that dogs do not belong at the dinner table, and my aunt pretty much told me too bad, and let the dog sit there during the whole meal. It is not like the dog laid on her lap, and no one else could see him. He was sitting up and was panting or barking the whole time. I am a dog person, but having a dog at the dinner table is where I draw the line. Also, since it is my parent’s house (and my former residence), I feel like if I tell them that the dog has to go, then they need to listen. What are your feelings about this?

Dear Anonymous,
I agree with you that dogs do not belong at the table. I love my one and a half pound Yorkie as my fourth son, but we do not let him sit down to dinner with us. As for your aunt and uncle not respecting your wishes, I think that if anyone sitting down to eat with them objects to having their dog at the table, they need to respect that. If I did allow our dog to sit on my lap while eating, it would only be with my family. If extended family were over, I would ask how they felt about it. If it were someone outside my family, the dog would not be present at all. Ask your parents to make it clear next time that they prefer the dog not sit at the table with all of you. Perhaps that will help reinforce your request.