Dear Blake,

My niece, will be 18 in a few days. She works part-time and has started college. Her mom, my sister, lost her husband last year. My niece did some research on finding herself the right pet because my sister has allergies. With her own money, she purchased a little garter snake. Unknown to us, Grandma had an incident with a snake as a child and has now threatened to never visit her! She said, if anyone gets sick, don’t call her. Now my niece feels she must choose between Grandma and her pet, and she’s heartbroken. My niece doesn’t drink, sleep around or use drugs. All she wanted was something to love after losing her father. We don’t think her grandmother should make her choose, feel guilty or threaten a fractured relationship. Please advise.

Signed, Alfred
From Kalispell, Montana

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Dear Alfred,

It is unfortunate that Grandma had an incident with a snake that she is now visiting on your niece. In this case, your niece should tell her grandmother other pet options she is considering, that’ll make that old bat beg for a simple garter snake. Here are some ideas. You live in northern Montana, so have your niece tell that moody fossil that she is getting a lynx. Even though out there they may weigh about 30 pounds, they can easily tear a human to a pieces, or an old woman trying to flee using a walker. Also in that part of the state there are plenty of grizzly bear cubs that your niece will say she will “attempt” to domesticate, and remind her grandmother that her’s will eventually give that spinster a cuddly hug, that’ll be tight enough to hear ribs crack. Or how about a pet tarantula that is allowed to roam free in your niece’s home. And inform Grandma that when she is frequently bitten during her visits, comfort her by explaining that the extremely painful bites are non-venomous. However, if Grandma can be reasoned with, you ought to sit her down and tell her having a pet that is cared for is a good thing. They will be fed daily, monitored regularly, and kept clean. And emphasize that is exactly what’s gonna happen to her, because if she doesn’t stop acting like an idiot, in the near future she may be taken care of sort as a pet… when you toss her into a substandard nursing home. I hope this helps.