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August 30, 2007

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Comments

Kelly Mahoney

I've never lived in a home that could accomodate guests, but these are important things to keep in mind.

Jaelene Mannerfeldt

Do you have suggestions for house guests who show up with an animal that you were not expecting, when you are pet free within your home? Once a guest arrived from out of the country with a small dog which was not expected and there had been no suggestion of a dog arriving with the guests. The dog was allowed free reign of the house, even though we tried to keep the dog confined to certain areas of the house.

Kim G

Wow, Jaelene, that is a tough one. A bind to be in and a horrible visit as well! But, I love noodling over this kind of sticky situation.

You might have felt broad-sided by this situation... that's what makes it hard to react quickly, efficiently and without many conflicting emotions.

When you host people as overnight guests, it is a brave form of hospitality!

In the future, here are a few ideas:

I don't think on my feet very well- so I rely on written lists for big, complex activities. Many people have a packing list for filling their suitcase or a list of interview questions when they are going on job interviews. If you know that you are having many overnight guests- how about creating a standard list of questions and particular comments about your abode, written up ahead of time, that you can refer to when you are chatting with all the people you will be hosting? It is a way to make sure you are covering the bases. Customize each conversation, of course, leave out irrelevant questions. Refine your list of questions and comments as you go. Just try to refer to your list in a conversational way when talking with people, so it does not sound scripted.

In conversations before the visit, and particularly with this person, try to be detailed and direct about who is coming, hoping to pick up on this kind of information.

If you already know that they have a beloved pet, ask: 'What arrangements have you made for little Fido during your travels?' This can come across as a caring question that gives you some indication of what may transpire.

If they reveal that they are bringing Fido, let them know that Fido coming to your home will not work for your family at this time, but you would love to help them with a list of the many pet-friendly hotels, doggy day care and pet boarding locations and fees in your area.

If they disregard your conditions and still arrive with dog-in-tow, OR you did not catch this fact ahead of time:

This is your home, so you really are not expected to permit animals inside, just as you would not be expected to permit smoking inside. Know that their lack of understanding about other people's preferences DOES NOT commit you to days of suffering painfully with their faux pax.

It is probably best to handle this all early in the visit - hard when it is just dawning on you about what is going to transpire.

The best thing I can say is that for you and those reading, having thought about it ahead of time will put you in a better position for dealing with it with boundries, grace and diplomacy.

We live in erathquake country and they talk about earthquake preparedness - each seismic moment will be different, but basically- if you are prepared you will handle it far better than if you are not.

Know that it is within your perogative to graciously offer to help them figure out a more comfortable place for Fido.

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