How do YOU deal with someone laying a guilt trip on you? How do you set a boundary, esp if you depend on …?

… them for something?

Long story long:

When my landlords are out of town, I watch their three (that’s three) dogs for them. They don’t pay me. They just don’t charge me rent.

For three years, this has worked out well, since I’ve been flexible enough to be here whenever they’re gone, and because up until recently, it was just two dogs. Recently they got a new German Shepherd puppy, though, which changes the dynamic. Plus, I have new commitments, and I can’t always be here when they’re gone.

Several times now they’ve left ME to find dogsitters for THEIR dogs when I can’t be here. They "are trying to avoid" having to pay anyone (their words), and they won’t kennel them, even for one night. And it has to be a woman, because the puppy doesn’t like men.

In other words, it’s an f’ing hassle, and they’re lucky I can do it most of the time.

So I’m getting ready to leave for the long weekend, and once again, I’m struggling to find someone to watch their dogs (with puppy), for free. Because who wants that? I’ve let the wife know I’ve been looking, but no one is able (no one wants to).

So I just got a message from the wife saying not to worry about it, because they’re cutting their trip short, "even though it’s prepaid," she says, with emphasis. Subtext: "You’re costing us money."

Now, I don’t feel guilty that they have to take care of their own dogs. But I do wonder what’s coming down the pike if I don’t start making it clear that it’s not a PRIVILEGE for me (or anyone) to take care of their dogs, and I’m not their scapegoat if they can’t get someone to watch them.

The hitch? I don’t want them to kick me out (which would be stupid, ’cause no one else is willing to take care of their dogs). Other than the recent development over the dogs, it really is a good living situation.

A little more background: They were gone for three months last summer, and I watched the dogs. They got the new puppy and left four days later, leaving me to deal with puppy sh!t—literally. They left for three weeks in April, two more weeks in May, and they’re gone again right now for a week and a half. The puppy is untrained (except for how I’ve trained her), and she bites people and dogs she doesn’t know, making it really difficult to take her out of the house. She also chews the carpet, so when I’m not home, she has to be in her tiny kennel (read: cage), which she also sleeps in at night. That means I basically have to avoid leaving the house as much as possible, or she lives in a cage—and I’m not willing to do that to her.

I know I have the option to leave, and I might. But before I do that, I’m looking for good suggestions on how to politely set a boundary and still remain friends—perhaps to help them see that they’re actually asking a lot of anyone to watch their dogs. I’m willing to give as much as I can, but I have a life, too.

Thanks for reading and for your suggestions. They’re really not bad people. They just don’t realize what a burden they place on people asking them to watch their dogs. And to try to lay the guilt trip on me on top of that, well, how does one respond?

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3 Responses to “How do YOU deal with someone laying a guilt trip on you? How do you set a boundary, esp if you depend on …?”

  1. L W says:

    that effin ridiculous you are not obligated to do a damn thing but pay the rent and you tell ’em that. longs as you pay they’ve got nuthin to say. And if they try, you shouldnt pu up with that start lookn for a new place.

  2. miss joyce says:

    Just tell them you can no longer watch their animals, if you are able to afford the rent without watching the dogs, then don’t. They CAN NOT put out for not watching their dogs. they are using you and as long as you be a doormat they will treat you like one.

  3. carlo_b098 says:

    screw them. if they cant take care of their own dogs then why did they even get one

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