Ask Aviva: Neighbors hate my dog!


Dear Aviva,
Our family has owned Max, a lhasa apso, for many years now. He is a part of our family and we would never consider giving him away. The problem is that many of our neighbors and friends are admittedly not “dog-people.” This has never been a problem because we would just send him outside or put up our gate to keep him on one side of the house. Some of our friends have even grown to appreciate Max since he’s so tame and lovable.
 The problem is that my wife is reporting that our son’s friends will not come over. My wife would call another mother to set up a play date at our house and the mother would ultimately make some excuse why our son (age 5) should come to them instead.
 I don’t want my son to be deprived of entertaining guests on his home turf. How can I tell these parents to get over themselves?
 -Dogged Dad
Dear Dogged Dad,
Excuse me? A lhasa apso? English, please. Seriously, if you didn’t mention the word “dog” in your letter, I would have assumed that Max is a friendly alien that you and your family adopted out of the goodness of your risky hearts. (Alf, anyone? At least I could pronounce that!)
 What I’m getting at is that there is clearly a great divide between dog-people and non-dog-people.
 For example, let’s rewind to the beginning of the new millennium. Alf is but a distant shadow in our episodic memories. Texting was not yet unlimited, and liking something simply meant, you know, liking it.  
 I was but a young, innocent college lass, one of my best college buddies was a not-yet-famous out-of-towner art major named Talya. We called her “Talya” for short.
 She owned a big black lovable old dog name Kootzy. And she always invited me to come back to her house for Shabbos. While my heart really wanted to chill in Underpopulatedville, the invisible leash that spans the New York metro area tethered my body. So I never went, and I never met Kootzy. I had seen pictures and heard stories and would unabashedly laugh in her face that she is treating some creature like a little sibling. Weirdo.  

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