Blake’s Advice Column
My 8-year-old daughter is seriously allergic to most animals, including cats and dogs. Even a little fur sets her off. She was recently sent home from school sick after she had borrowed a sweater from a friend who has a cat. We are working with an allergist, but this isn’t something that’s going to go away with simple treatment. My sister lives in NYC and has invited my family to spend the holidays at her home this year. However, she recently started fostering stray animals for a local shelter and has between five and 10 of them in her house at a time, in addition to their two cats and a dog. I have told my sister we can’t visit her with the animals there. Although she insists that she’ll vacuum and it will be OK, there is no way this is safe for my kid. Even if we slept at a hotel, spending the day in a “furry” house will be uncomfortable if not dangerous for my daughter. She thinks I’m being difficult and overprotective, and she’s angry at me. How do I get her to see that this isn’t about her, and I’m just protecting my child?
From Little Rock, Arkansas
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As the parent, your daughter’s health has to take precedent over you sister’s “feelings”. But if your sister insists on having her way, challenge her to put her money where her mouth is, and hopefully she’ll choke. Here are some suggestions. Tell your sister you’ll bring your daughter, if she promises to pay any medical bills prompted by the zoo she’s overseeing. And if she agrees and doesn’t fork over the cash after your little girl gets sick, sue her into submission. Or, inform your sister that if your offspring’s allergy flares up over her place, you want her to book a room in the penthouse suite in the hotel of your choice, with nothing under $3500 per night, not including the gourmet meals. Remind your sister how expensive dental work is, and if she asks your to risk you daughter’s health again, threaten to knock her front teeth out. However, this is family and sometimes we have to make sacrifices to keep the peace. So the next time your sister asks you to visit, I think you should go. Your sister is a pet lover with her numerous cats and dogs, so I think you ought to bring a pet… a full grown python. And tell your sister to not be afraid because it is very affectionate, and it will love “hugging” her stray animals. I hope this helps.