coworker wants me to lock up my dogs so he can come to parties at my house, explaining a medical accommodation, and more

It’s four answers to four questions. Here we go…

1. My coworker wants me to lock up my dogs so he can come to parties at my house

I’m a university professor, and I have a problem with a member of my department, Paul.

I realized that a lot of my friends with young children or elder-care responsibilities are struggling to socialize and I wasn’t getting to see them as often as I liked. So last year, I started a tradition where every month, my partner and I host a Sunday night dinner that is an open-house affair. I make a lot of food and invite all my friends. Kids are welcome, live-in relatives are welcome, houseguests are welcome; we just make room. A lot of my friends are fellow professors (some from my department, others not) and about a quarter to a third of the department comes to the event regularly.

The only stipulation is I have two large, sweet, well-trained dogs and I’ve made it known that I won’t shut them away for the event, even if someone has allergies or phobias. They are part of my family. They are very social and hate to be away from me and my partner if we are home. (Others are welcome to bring their dogs with them and usually one or two do.)

Paul and I are friendly, but we are not close. Some time ago I invited Paul to dinner and gave him a heads-up that we had large dogs. Paul indicated that was fine, but when he showed up at our house he was clearly terrified of the dogs and was rude about them when they approached him to sniff and greet him. We put them in another room and they made their great unhappiness about this known. If Paul had just said that he wasn’t a dog fan, I would have made a dinner reservation somewhere else. The whole incident soured me on Paul a little. I am polite and friendly with Paul and often find myself agreeing with him about department issues, pedagogy, and so forth, but haven’t made much of an effort to be his outside-work friend since then.

Anyway, Paul is pretty socially awkward, he is recently divorced, and I think he’s trying to make an effort to get out of the house more and make more friends. He approached me to ask if he could come to the next open house. I said of course he was welcome, but warned him that the dogs will be roaming, and probably not just my two. He texted me later to ask me to please consider shutting them away for the night and asking others not to bring theirs.

I really don’t want to do this, and technically this isn’t a work event. Part of me thinks Paul should start his own no-dogs-allowed open house if that’s the event he wants. But I feel a little bad for Paul and I don’t want to seem unwelcoming to a person I have to work with all the time. How should I respond?

Since these are casual, non-work-sponsored events, you don’t need to lock your dogs away if you don’t want to. If you were, say, the head of the department, you’d need to reconsider these events (not that you’d necessarily need to lock your dogs up if you didn’t want to, but then you should at least hold more events outside your house, since if you’re the boss, the dynamics are different). But that’s not the case here. It would be a kindness to consider doing it some of the time, but you don’t have to.

If you want to tell Paul no, you could say, “The dogs don’t do well when they’re locked up, unfortunately. But if you want to plan something that’s dog-free, I’d love to attend!”

If you’re up for it, it would also be kind to offer to do something away from your dog-inhabited house with Paul, like dinner out or similar. You don’t have to do that, but it would be a thoughtful gesture toward someone who seems to want to socialize (and including that offer in your reply about the dogs would be a way to soften it).

Also, don’t hold Paul’s previous fear of the dogs against him! Who knows why he thought he’d be fine but then wasn’t — maybe something about your dogs in particular made him uncomfortable (like size or a specific behavior) or maybe he was just overly optimistic about how comfortable he’d be, but I’m sure he didn’t set out to deliberately deceive you when he agreed to come over.

2. My employer wants me to donate the proceeds of my book to them

I work for a library that is structured as a nonprofit. I am co-writing a book on an aspect of youth librarianship. I don’t have a ton of experience in this area, so my contribution to the book will be mainly research, composing, and editing based. However, there are some facets of my job that I will discuss in the book. I brought up this side-writing with the library’s legal team. After some positive and supportive back and forth, I just received an email about the conflict of interest policy and not working on the book on library time. That all makes sense.

However, the email ended with, “In the interest of avoiding the appearance of a conflict based on financial gain, we ask that any author compensation arising out of your work on the book be donated to the library. To that end, please keep Legal apprised of any compensation you receive, if and when that occurs.” This doesn’t sit well with me. Is this normal? I couldn’t find anything online. I remember your posts about employee giving drives at universities and donating Vegas winnings, but this seems different?

I’m expecting the amount of money to be a couple thousand over maybe two years. I’d honestly rather give to another nonprofit, if it’s untoward/unethical/not worth the trouble for me to keep the money myself.

No, this isn’t normal or reasonable. It’s also nonsensical — if you can’t work on the book on work time (which makes perfect sense), on what grounds do they think they’re entitled to what you earn for it? I assume they’d try to argue that your job with them is what led to you being in a position to co-author the book — but that’s true of many, many things that lead to people writing books, and it doesn’t automatically entitle their employers to those proceeds.

I would reply, “Since I will be doing it on my own time and not as a representative of the library, I wouldn’t agree to a requirement to donate what I’m paid for outside work (just as I assume we don’t ask that of people doing other types of freelance projects) but the rest of this agreement looks good to me.”

3. How can I explain to coworkers that I’m working from home as a medical accommodation?

I’m having some trouble with coworkers who keep asking me when I’m coming into the office. I have a permanent work-from-home arrangement as a medical accommodation, and I really appreciate it. It works well for me and allows me to be productive and healthy.

For example, I need to lie down frequently, even sometimes during meetings. I need natural light, not overhead lights. The open office plan puts me in a constant state of tension and alertness that is not at all conducive to work. I’m also at high risk for COVID complications, and so I wear a mask still in public places which is tiring, too. It isn’t one specific thing but rather the combination that is the problem.

Do you have a simple script I can use to deflect questions from my coworkers about when I’m coming into the office? I know they are just being friendly, but I find it difficult to explain my medical conditions to them and feel awkwardly evasive when I don’t. My commute is trivial so that’s not a good deflection, and I don’t want to be known as fragile. I would like to be able to politely explain my situation without going into too much detail.

“I’m permanently remote.” That’s it! You don’t need to explain why. If someone expresses surprise (which they definitely might, especially if they have been told no one can work remotely), you can say, “It’s a medical accommodation.” You don’t need to explain more than that. It’s unlikely anyone will ask for medical specifics but if they do, that’s a real overstep and you can simply say, “Oh, nothing I want to get into at work, thanks for understanding.”

Read an update to this letter

4. Recruiter falsified employment dates before sending a resume to an employer

My husband was contacted by a recruiter about a job that seems like a good fit. The recruiter set him up with a first round interview with the employer, and then texted my husband to say, “By the way, I changed the end date of your last employment to current, otherwise the employer probably would have passed.” He has not been working for almost a year, and apparently the recruiter was worried that this would look bad.

Now my husband has an interview set up but only belatedly found out that the employer has a copy of his resume that incorrectly states his experience. What should he do? Send a corrected version? Just leave it and explain if they ask? Complicating matters, he was fired from his last job due to a mismatch in skills and poorly communicated expectations on the part of his old manager— he has an answer ready to explain this but would prefer not to draw attention to it. What is the right move here?

That recruiter was wildly out of line … and his misguided attempt to get your husband hired could end up torpedoing his chances. What does he think will happen if/when the employer does a background check and uncovers the lie?

In fact, that would be a good question for your husband to pose to the recruiter — “How do you suggest I handle it if we get to the background check stage?”

He might also ask if the recruiter expects him to lie in the interview. Does he want him to talk about his job in the present tense and make up some BS about why he’s thinking about leaving the “current” job? That’s not something he should do.

Beyond that, his safest course of action is not to proactively mention it to the interviewers, but also not to lie about the dates or imply that he’s still at the old job when he’s not. If he’s asked about why the resume says he is, he can explain he’s not sure what the recruiter sent but in fact he left that job last year. And he shouldn’t work with this recruiter again; someone who’s willing to be shady to his clients (the people who are paying him!) will be willing to be shady in his dealings with your husband too.

{ 1,127 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    In light of the comments on the dog letter so far: Please do not comment with the same point over and over because that’s going to get tedious really fast. Instead, make your point and move on! If you find yourself making, I don’t know, 6+ comments on the same letter on this post, I ask that you pull back so your voice doesn’t drown out others.

    Also, please stick to the facts in the letter, per the commenting rules. Comments presenting speculation as fact will be removed.

    The LW added more details here.

    1. English Rose*

      And since the hiring company would find out about the husband’s background anyway if it gets to offer stage, I would let the company know explicitly what the recruiter has done at interview. As well as the husband, the hiring company should be warned off working with this recruiter.

      1. Snow Globe*

        I think I’d just bring a copy of the resume to the interviewer and hand it to the hiring manager. “Here’s the latest copy of my resume.” If the hiring manager notices the difference in dates, then he can explain that the recruiter must have changed that.

        1. Darren*

          Or he could just say the recruiter must have had an older version on file they sent incorrectly.

          That is going to be the recruiters story if this discrepancy is pointed out to them (they aren’t going to want to look dishonest, just a bit disorganised).

          1. HonorBox*

            I disagree. The recruiter MAY try to get out of it by stating that husband sent an old resume, but he didn’t. You don’t want the husband looking disorganized. I’d go in with a correct copy of the resume and if asked, indicate that what was sent to the recruiter was what was handed to the interviewer. Husband didn’t make the change. The recruiter did. It isn’t on the husband to cover the tracks of a shady recruiter or own the lie.

            1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

              I agree with HonorBox.
              without an explanation, it can be assumed that OP send the resume with the incorrect dates to the recruiter and the recruiter discovered the LIE and encouraged OP to set the record straight.
              And I agree with Darren that the recruiter will LIE to cover up his LIE or at least downplay it to the company like, he was working there when I got it, but I wasn’t sure blah blah blah.
              But there is no reason for OP to cover for him, back up his shady ass or LIE for the recruiter.

              1. Artemesia*

                This. I would not let it ride, I’d correct it and throw this recruitment agency under the bus. Don’t make a big fuss but indicate you were upset to see that the recruiter had made this material change. There is no win here as ultimately the LW will look dishonest if they don’t fix this preemptively.

            2. Lana Kane*

              ” I’d go in with a correct copy of the resume and if asked, indicate that what was sent to the recruiter was what was handed to the interviewer. ”

              This is the way.

        2. Momma Bear*

          This. I wouldn’t say that the recruiter has an old version as someone else suggested. It wasn’t “old”, it was changed. Don’t throw yourself under the bus.

          And fire that recruiter.

        3. Emikyu*

          Personally, I wouldn’t even wait for them to ask about the change in employment dates, because they might not notice until after the interview. There’s also a chance they would ask the recruiter first, giving them a chance to spin the narrative however they like.

          I think the way to go is to say, “Here’s a correct copy of my resume. I’ve been told the recruiter may have made some changes to the version you received, so I wanted to make sure you have an accurate version.” That way you’re getting out ahead of it.

      2. AngryOctopus*

        Yes, I would absolutely tell them “the recruiter just informed me that he changed employment dates on my resume” and hand them an accurate copy when I’m there for the interview. The company shouldn’t want to work with someone who will change a candidate’s resume!

        1. Michelle Smith*

          100% agree about being upfront about it. Yes, it might mean they pass on him. They might, however, see it as a green flag (sign of integrity) and give him a fair shot. Only one way to find out, and it has the bonus of being genuinely honest and ethical.

          1. BatManDan*

            It’s honest and ethical, and has the bonus of being the only way to find out. There is no other way adult humans should act, than honest and ethical.

        2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          Yes be explicit. Don’t soften with older copy of resume because it 1) how can a resume with a date of current employment be older and 2) looks like the person was willing to lie about employment dates then sought better of it.

          Be clear, it was the recruiter acting on their own.

          1. amoeba*

            I mean, it depends on how it’s stated on the resume – if it doesn’t have any dates elsewhere and the current position is just listed as “since 2020” or “2020 until present”, it could pass as an earlier version!
            But that would still make the applicant look disorganised instead of putting the blame where it belongs, so I’m also team straightforward. Might also make the company think twice about working with that recruiter again, which I’d argue is a good thing, even if they end up not getting the job…

          2. Beth*

            If the job had just ended a few weeks ago, it would be easy to say “The resume says ‘2020 – Present’ because I submitted it before leaving my prior job, here is an updated version.” But with it ending a year ago, that’s harder to believe!

        3. Beth*

          This is where I fall as well. When someone does something shady supposedly on your behalf, it’s easy to feel like you’ve been pulled in as an unwitting accomplice and now have to run with their lie even though you’re not on board with it–after all, it was nominally to your benefit, right?

          But in reality, nothing cuts through the tension and mess like direct communication. “[Recruiter] just informed me that he changed the dates of employment on my resume. I want to make sure you have accurate info for this hiring process, so I’m attaching the correct version of my resume below.” is a straightforward and honest message to send, and I can’t imagine it would reflect badly on a candidate that the hiring manager was already interested in.

      3. Hannah Lee*

        The company I’m at is recruiting for a new position. We’ve had 2 people that we’ve interviewed have their latest job listed on their resume as “current” who actually are no longer working there.

        Guy #1 we found out when we were checking references and the person doing reference checks also talked to a person working at the company* in a “hey, do you know this guy? what’s he like?” conversation. He made no mention of it in the interviews he did nothing to make clear he wasn’t still employed at his current position.

        Guy #2 we found out when he came into interview. As soon as he sat down in the conference room, he to the manager “I need to let you know, the resume I submitted isn’t fully up to date. I left that job this summer, and have been working some temp assignments and doing some work through my own business while looking.

        Guy #1 is not moving forward. Guy #2 is moving on to the next steps.

        Sure having an out of date resume isn’t ideal (whether accidentally or on purpose or because a recruiter is awful). But coming clean about it instead of hoping no one catches it is the much better approach.

        The thing is, we are not even using “not currently employed” as an knock out factor. So it was a pointless fabrication. If someone has the right experience, has a good work history in general, we just assume there’s some reason that can be addressed in an interview – care for a child or other family member, health issues, took time off to travel, was in an awful work situation and had to bail, was training for a biathalon, COVID related whatever – none of that is a stopper if someone is a solid candidate otherwise.

        This is one of those “it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup” things.

    2. Pet Jack*

      Also the husband could get hired and be working there and then they find out the truth and be fired and that…does not look good. Tarnishing his reputation, etc.

      This recruiter just wants the money for the placement and that stinks.

    3. L.H. Puttgrass*

      Maybe I’m honest to a fault, but I think I’d actually reach out to the employer before the interview. I’d say something like, “I just learned that the recruiter changed the employment dates of my most recent job on the resume that was submitted to you. I am not currently in that job; it ended on . A corrected resume is attached. I hope this does not change your interest in interviewing me, but if it does, I understand.”

      Maybe they’d balk, maybe they wouldn’t. But I’d much rather start the interview completely honestly. And who knows—maybe you’d start out with a reputation for being scrupulously honest, which isn’t usually a bad thing.

      1. L.H. Puttgrass*

        “it ended on .” was supposed to have date in “tag” markers, but it looks like that got translated into an invalid HTML code.

      2. HonorBox*

        I like this. Integrity means a lot. The recruiter is doing something shady and also (maybe correctly, maybe not) assuming that the employer will pass on the candidate who has a gap in employment. But that’s the employer’s decision to make. Sending the correct resume shows understanding that something incorrect about them was shared, and also places the blame squarely on the recruiter without calling it out specifically.

      3. MigraineMonth*

        I’d also go this route. Kill the lie now, and you won’t have it hanging over your head for the rest of the hiring process… and possibly even the new job. I’m anxious enough about interviews without worrying when the recruiter’s lie is going to come back to bite me.

    4. Quinalla*

      Agreed on firing the recruiter. If you aren’t sure if you can fire him before this one is done, understandable, but immediately after and tell them why.

      Also, I actually disagree with Alison on this one. I’d just hand them the correct resume (or send if it is a remote interview) and mention that the recruiter told you he updated the dates of employment on X to say current when the actual end date is as listed. I think you are fine if you don’t want to do that and just be honest if it comes up, but I wouldn’t wait myself.

    5. ILoveLlamas*

      I suggest going to the interview with a correct resume and discuss the situation in person as part of the conversation. I would just be matter of fact about the situation. “By the way, the recruiter may made some changes to my resume that I did not approve, so please use this copy as my resume of record.” or however you want to say it. I don’t believe the recruiter’s comment that an employer wouldn’t consider someone with employment gaps. With the labor issues today, I don’t think a strong employer would be that picky. The recruiter is lying to everyone on all sides….

  2. Samwise*

    I’m sorry, you are not being very nice here. You can’t keep your dogs away from the party for a couple of hours? And a guest who is afraid of dogs is rude because he reacts to your large dogs approaching and sniffing him? Maybe control your dogs

    Your house, your rules for sure. But I think your rules are unkind and thoughtless. (And I think your dogs will survive being kept in a separate room just fine. You could train them to be ok with it, if you wanted to)

    1. Chan*

      Paul is the only person afraid of dogs. No one else has a problem with it. It’s not just his house his rules, he’s the host so he set the tone. Being inclusive doesn’t mean everyone’s whim has to be satisfied. It’s Paul’s problem to have a dog phobia. The reasonable suggestion is for Paul to remove himself from where there are dogs, or to seek counseling on dealing with his phobia.

        1. Balto the Wonder Siberian*

          It’s OP’s OWN HOME. He’s not obligated to modify it to accommodate everyone with phobias. You want to come to my home, you deal with the fact I have dogs.

          1. Former Professor*

            As a former professor (female) who constantly fought the sense that the default gender of “professor” is male, I’d just like to point out that I personally understood OP to be female. And I agree: it’s her home, her non-work open house, lots of kids & other dogs present, that’s how she structured it. Paul is the one making unreasonable demands.

              1. Lana Kane*

                And this is why “they/them” is such a great addition to the English language. When sex/gender isn’t specified, trot those bad boys out (yes I see what I did there).

            1. Paul*

              I dont think there’s enough info to make an assumption about gender or sex. I hear that you don’t want to default to “male” professor but there are more than 2 sexes and more than 2 genders.

              1. DJ Abbott*

                It’s interesting how people assume such things based on their experience. We all do it. It shouldn’t be a big deal. :)

            2. Pet Jack*

              I’m a bit saddened that no one seems to care about Paul. He isn’t being picky. He has a legitimate fear of dogs. I love animals, but they are…animals. If I had to exclude just one person because they were allergic to my cats, I would make accommodations. I mean, you can always do what you want, but I would always try to be kind to others.

              1. Antilles*

                I love animals, but they are…animals.
                That’s your viewpoint and you’re free to think that way if you wish, BUT that’s definitely not the usual way of looking at it.
                For most people, their pets are considered full and legitimate members of the family – and if you start from that point, the choice becomes trying to choose between what’s best for the family member or a random co-worker and well…

                1. Eliot Waugh*

                  Yeah, I certainly don’t think of my cats as, like, my children, but they’re little family members. I won’t make them uncomfortable in their own home.

                2. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

                  I’m not sure you can say that most people feel their pets are at the same level as human family members. All of this is anecdata, obviously, but I actually don’t know that many pet owners who’d take that position.

                  We put up with a lot of grossness and loud meowing from our cat, because he’s ours and we love him. When guests come to the house, the cat is shut up in another room. He complains about it once in a while (“YOWWWWwwwlllll”) but tough luck, he has everything he needs and he’s perfectly comfortable.

                  I do that because I care about my guests’ comfort and enjoyment. The LW is allowed to feel differently, obviously.

                3. Totally Minnie*

                  I’ve never understood this line of thinking. When you’re hosting guests, even the human members of your family will sometimes be uncomfortable about it. That’s sort of the nature of having extra people in the house. It puts constraints on the things you would normally be doing or the parts of the house you would normally be in.

                  “I won’t make any of my family members uncomfortable when guests are over” just leads to either rudeness or not being able to have people over.

              2. alienor*

                Well, yes, but also visiting OP’s house is completely optional for Paul. If they were bringing the dogs into the office where Paul couldn’t avoid them, or if Paul were providing some sort of service in OP’s home and couldn’t do it with dogs running around, that would be another story. But these are non-work-related social events, so all Paul has to do is politely decline.

                1. RunShaker*

                  I agree as well. The OP isn’t being rude and she has been very upfront about dogs and inviting others to bring their dogs. She is taking steps to warn new people when she invites them. It’s her own home on her own time, own money and appears she isn’t a department head. I commend Paul for trying and getting out to socialize but this party is dog friendly. Paul doesn’t have the standing and overstepping to tell others that are invited on what or what not to bring to OP’s home. I think it’s ok for Paul to ask OP if she could put her dogs in another room but OP isn’t rude for declining.

                2. Menace to Sobriety*

                  Exactly! This is an open house type event. If the OP EXPLICITLY invited Paul over and then refused to accomodate him, well that’s a different story. We have a huge Halloween open house every year. Anywhere from 17-30 people come and eat and are in and out. I have 2 bulldogs who LOVE people and kids. I am NOT locking them up because 1) they’re super social and 2) they’d not understand why and they’d cry all night and 3) I don’t KNOW for sure that anyone with a dog phobia will for sure show up (one never has but could some day I suppose). People KNOW I have dogs, and they factor that in when making their decision is how I look at it. I am allergic to cats. I DO NOT ask my daughter or friends to lock up their cats when I come over. I pop a Benadryl and stay away from the cats to the extent possible.

                3. Orv*

                  Optional workplace events are never really optional. If you avoid them for long enough you’re “not a team player” and the way you’re treated start’s changing. Just look at how the OP’s opinion of Paul dropped when it turned out Paul had a dog phobia.

                4. Orv*

                  @JB If a third of the department is attending, yes, they’re de facto work events. People who show up will be treated more favorably in the future than people who don’t. Professors have a lot of power inside their departments.

              3. Helewise*

                I agree with this as well. Our dog is well-loved, but our guests always come first. I’m actually a little surprised – and troubled – by how much support I’m seeing for excluding people so dogs can romp around.

                1. HonorBox*

                  Our guests come first, too. That said, shutting the dogs away in a different room to accommodate one of many is asking a lot. Especially if the dogs are stressed out and making noise. That can be far more disruptive to others who otherwise aren’t bothered by the dogs. If LW was asking what to do if they were just inviting Paul over, that would be a different story with a different answer perhaps. But the inclusive invite was to everyone including family/friends/dogs, not just Paul. It may sound inhospitable, but Paul’s request changes the dynamic of the party for everyone.

                2. Nicole Maria*

                  I think a different way to look at it is like this: I’ve been invited to plenty of game nights, but I’m not a fan of board games, so I don’t go. I wouldn’t imagine asking them to switch their activity, and I don’t consider it exclusion that they’re participating in an activity that I don’t want to be around. It’s just simply not for me. I hope Paul can come to the same realization.

              4. mf*

                Well, you would be wrong that no one cares about Paul. OP said: “But I feel a little bad for Paul and I don’t want to seem unwelcoming to a person I have to work with all the time.”

                OP can care about Paul but also not want to shut up his/her dogs at the same time. Just because you care about someone doesn’t mean it makes sense to accommodate them!

              5. Dust Bunny*

                This isn’t a work-mandated/work-encouraged event, though–these are private events. Paul is not missing anything by not going. Paul is welcome to find social outlets elsewhere.

                If these were supported (financially or culturally) but their employer, yes, it would be a problem, but they’re not.

              6. Typing All The Time*

                Same. Dog phobias are real. I’ve had loose barking big dogs run up to me and get very close, when all I did was walk along the street that they saw me on. Maybe introduce him to your dogs to see if he can feel comfortable or just put them in a place where Paul can avoid them for a while.

                1. MigraineMonth*

                  It sounds like Paul came over knowing the dogs were going to be there and only showed he was afraid when meeting them. OP made sure the dogs were in another room for that evening, but it sounds like that stressed the dogs. (My childhood dog showed stress by howling, destroying things and urinating on the carpet, so that isn’t always a minor thing.)

              7. anon this time*

                Thank you. I have both allergies and a phobia, due to having been mauled by a dog as a child. Neither of these conditions is something I can control. I try my best to be polite, but phobias can make that difficult, and pet owners with no compassion make it worse.

                Like Paul, I would be permanently excluded from the OP’s house, without recourse, and would also understand very clearly that I matter less to the OP than their pets do. This understanding would carry over to work.

                1. Jenna Webster*

                  It is always your choice to take something personally and assume worst intent. In this case, Paul is offering a particular kind of get-together and the OP doesn’t want to go, given the circumstances. It’s not anything more than that.

                2. Eliot Waugh*

                  I mean, yeah, my pets are more important to me than most random coworkers. I don’t find that particularly shocking.

                3. biobotb*

                  But you don’t deserve recourse for wanting to avoid a coworker’s home. The LW isn’t obligated to host anyone from work, let alone specific coworkers. They’re issuing general invitations, not inviting individual coworkers.

                  You’d sincerely be offended that a coworker cares more about their pets than they do about you, a coworker they’re friendly with but not close to? Sincerely?

                4. HonorBox*

                  That’s doing quite a bit of spinning about personal feelings. Conversely to your statement, I’m sure OP isn’t feeling some sort of way if people decline because they have concert tickets. She’s not going to feel that she matters less to that person than Metallica.

                5. Shan*

                  My ex-husband is severely allergic (like, anaphylactic, has been hospitalized multiple times allergic) to basically all animals. So we just… didn’t attend things held at places that housed animals! Did it suck sometimes? Yes, especially since I love animals (and my ex did too! His body just didn’t). But it was our issue, not the host’s, and we could plan and invite people to our own events. It’s only offensive if you choose to see it that way.

              8. H3llifIknow*

                Paul is the guest who kicked at the dog, not the OP. The OP is a female professor hosting the open house dinners.

              9. I Have RBF*

                My pets are more welcome in my home than most people. No, I won’t shut away my cats just because a visitor demands it. The LW should not shut away their dogs when they have been up front in the invitation that there will be dogs present.

                Damn straight it’s “Their house, their rules.”

                I think it’s outright crass to accept an invitation, knowing that in the invitation it specified that dogs were present, then demand that the dogs be shut away when they arrive. What kind of an idiot does that? Then demands that any future events that the dogs be shut away? Who does this guy think he is?

              10. I Have RBF*

                No. My cats are part of my family. Yes, I would “exclude” that person from my house – I am not going to rearrange my house and life to accommodate a possible guest for a few hours.

                My kindness does not extend to punishing my pets for the sake of a guest.

              11. LadyVet*

                I care, but I also don’t like dogs.

                Part of being a good host is making people feel welcome, and we don’t know if other people are skipping these parties because they know about the dogs.

                Some people are genuinely afraid of dogs, some people are allergic some people just don’t want to be licked, and too many dog owners get really defensive.

                I’m personally a cat person, but I understand that some people don’t want to or can’t be around them. If I was going to have events at home I’d want all my guests to feel welcome, and after getting the cats situated would try to clean up any lingering dander.

            3. Lydia*

              I think you’re misusing the word unreasonable here. It’s a request, it’s not that big of one, and while the OP has the right to go with it or not, it’s certainly not unreasonable.

          2. John Smith*

            +1. I think Paul is quite audacious with his request, and frankly downright rude. It’d be different if the OP required Paul to come to his house, but to make an imposition like this in a private dwelling is simply out of order. I’d be tempted to offer Paul a cage he can sit in whilst at the party.

            1. bamcheeks*

              I think it depends how it’s asked. An, “I would love to come some time, but is there any chance the dogs could be kept in another room?” followed by, “ah well, that’s a pity, it probably best I don’t come then” isn’t unreasonable. OP has it as a point of principle that the dogs are part of the family and can’t be put away: Paul has no way of knowing that without asking a d plenty of people ARE willing to close a door on their dogs in order to have friends over.

            2. Humble Schoolmarm*

              I’m sorry, I’m legitimately taken aback by your attitude. Paul would like to participate in a social event. There is a barrier to his participation due to a common fear or phobia. There is no indication in the letter that he was rude or pushy. This isn’t an accommodation that you or the OP are prepared to make and that’s completely your prerogative, but to condemn someone socially (to a cage, no less) for having a different perspective than you is both unkind and unfair.

              1. Ellie*

                Thank you for saying this. I’m really shocked by the views being shared on this subject.

                I have a phobia of dogs. It’s worth noting that phobias aren’t the same as fears. I have have found (sadly increasingly, since thanks to COVID there are now dogs seemingly everywhere) that my reactions to them can be quite alarming. For example, I might shriek if one jumps up at me, or I might freeze. My point is that my reactions aren’t rational and I wouldn’t want to put myself in that situation for my sake or anyone else’s.

                I work in academia. So much of what we do is built on who we know and how much power we appear to have. The OP appears to have the power and means to bring people together in a way that will enable them to advance by building relationships. I’d imagine that a number of attendees at these events don’t like dogs much but put up with them because of the benefits offered by the chance to meet colleagues. Paul can’t do that, to his detriment.

                Where I live that would be a clear-cut case of discrimination. In most places – at least, those where people have empathy – I’d hope it would also be considered extremely unkind.

                1. Pippa K*

                  This take is based on two key pieces of speculation, though – the “imagin[ing] that a number of attendees at these events don’t like dogs much” and that the events are valued as a means of professional advancement, not just voluntary socialization among approximate equals. I’m an academic, too, and what the OP is describing, casual meetups of people from her own and other departments, with invitations extended to all, is about the best possible scenario for socializing with workmates without tripping across issues of inclusion and discrimination. That doesn’t mean everyone is going to be able to get exactly the hospitality arrangements they want, though. LW seems reasonably kind and aware here, even if her household isn’t suitable for every possible guest.

                2. Balto the Wonder Siberian*

                  Where I live that would be a clear-cut case of discrimination.

                  Even assuming for the sake of argument that you can prove this is purely a work event as opposed to a social event with people from work, it would not be discrimination, because anti-dog people are not a protected class.

                  The above is if you’re in the US, can’t say about elsewhere.

                3. Gracia*

                  I was a professor for many years. OP was very clear (and made it even clearer in the comments) that this isn’t a “department party”. She is inviting lots of people who aren’t part of her department at all. She doesn’t need to change her entertaining style to accomodate Paul.

                  She’s just having a monthly open house is all, and the people in the department are invited as are lots of people outside the department. Paul could host a party for the department, the Chair could host a party, Paul could say “let’s go out to dinner” or “let’s go to this event”. Paul is asking his hostess to change the way she entertains in her own home, and she’s under no obligation to do that.

                  Yes, some people can’t stand dogs and other people have phobias. Yes, department parties should be comfortable for everyone in the department. But this isn’t a “department party”. And if Paul wants to socialize without dogs, he can most certainly organize a party or group event.

                4. Rebecca*

                  I have a very large dog, and people react fearfully sometimes. That’s what happens when you have a big dog, and I don’t take it personally.

                  What stood out to me was that the dogs sniffed and greeted Paul, but he also claims they’re well trained. That’s ridiculous. We have visitors that are afraid of my dog sometimes, and I tell me dog not to sniff or greet them and to go lay down on his rug. And he does. It’s really that simple. I have a baby gate I also put up when one of my daughter’s extra fearful friends comes over (she was severely bitten a couple years ago by another friend’s dog, so I don’t have any issue putting up the gate, even if my dog wouldn’t go in the room anyways).

                  I’m a dog owner that’s also appalled, but not surprised, by these comments. People are more important than dogs. I love my dog, and he’s well taken care of. But I’d throw him under the proverbial bus in a nanosecond for another human being. I am hard judging anyone that thinks otherwise. Frankly, I am suspicious of why they are more emotionally connected to an animal than other human beings. Dogs are really just validation machines, when you think about it.

                5. skadhu*

                  “Dogs are really just validation machines, when you think about it.”
                  True! But the same is true of humans relationships. With animals there’s just a lot fewer layers of plausible deniability bs.

                6. Nicole Maria*

                  There is no way that laws about discrimination could apply in this situation. I think you’re taking this a little further than the situation actually calls for.

                7. I Have RBF*

                  Where I live that would be a clear-cut case of discrimination.

                  LOL, no.

                  I live in one of the most liberal states in the US, and even here it would not be “discrimination” to decline to lock away my own pets in my own house so that a coworker might attend an optional, non-work open house. That is, quite frankly, ludicrous.

              2. Pippa K*

                “There is no indication in the letter that he was rude or pushy” – the LW literally says when Paul encountered the dogs he “was rude about them”. She’d warned him in advance that they’d be there, he chose to come, and then was apparently rude in the moment and later asked for her to change not only how she hosts but her guests (who can bring dogs) as well. That’s at least a bit pushy! Especially since she says she’d be willing to have the evening elsewhere to accommodate him.

                1. Totally Minnie*

                  Okay, but I’m uncomfortable with large dogs and I’ve been accused of being rude to a dog for simply stepping back when they try to sniff me, or saying “oh, no thank you” when a dog tries to lick me. So there are varying levels of what dog owners might consider rude behavior from non-dog-lovers. OP, can you describe to use what Paul did or said when he met the dogs that you felt was rude?

                2. Cmdrshprd*

                  “he was clearly terrified of the dogs and was rude about them when they approached him to sniff and greet him.”

                  It is not when he encountered the dogs but rather when they approached him. OP didn’t say what Paul did that was rude, but the feeling I get was that Paul pulled/stepped back, didn’t enthusiastically encourage the dogs, and or pet them. To a dog loving person it might seem rude, but it really is not.

                  I think Paul was trying to make an effort, and understands asking for the dogs to be put away is a big ask, so he tried to go and be around the dogs, but after the first experience saw that he couldn’t.

                  I think it was a little unclear but the first dinner may have been a smaller more intimate affair, that could easily have been done at a restaurant, think OP, their partner, and paul. But I think the bigger monthly get togethers/open house may not be feasible to do at a restaurant (that costs a lot more money) I don’t think OP is willing to change those understandably so.

                  “He texted me later to ask me to please consider shutting them away for the night and asking others not to bring theirs.” To some people that may seem very forward/pushy/rude, but the way it seems Paul asked is very reasonable, Paul didn’t demand they be put away, Paul asked if OP could please consider putting them away.

                  If OP is having these monthly, I think having 2/3 of them be dog free would be a kindness and something to consider, not that OP is obligated to do it.

                3. Rebecca*

                  The LW says the dogs are well trained. If that’s really true, he could command the dogs not to sniff and greet Paul and go lay down somewhere. That’s what I do with my actually well trained, giant dog. Another clue: they wouldn’t make noise when placed in another room with the door closed if they were actually well trained. Mine can be commanded to stop.

                  I suspect he insisted they were well trained dogs, when they’re actually not. I encounter that a lot. “Oh. he’s friendly.” Which may be true, but some people don’t like dogs. If you can’t command your dog to leave someone that’s fearful alone or put them into another room without barking/howling, they’re not a well trained dog.

                4. Lydia*

                  Being “clearly terrified” doesn’t gel with Paul being rude. If someone were so clearly terrified you could see it, I might not trust your interpretation of his rudeness.

              3. Zen_Panda*

                There are many social or other events that I’d like to participate in, as well as probably, well…everyone. That doesn’t mean that ALL OF THEM must accomodate me and my phobias, quirks, tastes, whatever. It’s not like this is Paul’s ONLY option to socialize. He can host! He can suggest lunch or drinks or dinner out, etc… Paul is a professor; can we stop infantilizing him like “poor dear sweet Paul; the other kids on the playground keep excluding him.” C’mon!

              4. Pescadero*

                Telling someone that I won’t remove my dogs so they can come to a social event at my home is not “condemning someone socially”.

                I’m not the last person on earth, and my social event is not the last social event on earth.

                1. Humble Schoolmarm*

                  To clarify, I was responding to a previous poster who suggested that Paul’s request to put the dogs in a room be countered by offering Paul a cage to sit in for the duration of a party. Saying that you aren’t able to accommodate Paul is fine, as you said there are other parties. I just don’t see the reason to condemn Paul (quite forcefully in some cases) for asking if a change is possible.

              5. ADidgeridooForYou*

                I find it interesting how people here tend to be (rightly) extremely accommodating of people’s needs, phobias, restrictions, etc., until dogs come along. Then it becomes “well that’s your problem, get over it.”

                1. Expelliarmus*

                  Right? The way I see it, if OP doesn’t want to lock up their dogs for Paul, they either don’t meet up after work or they meet up outside of OP’s house. As someone who doesn’t have a dog phobia per se but feels uneasy when they get up close to me, I can relate to Paul on the discomfort but would just choose not to go to OP’s house.

            3. M2*

              I don’t think it’s rude at all! Some
              People are terrified of dogs. Also some dogs jump or are big enough to push people over and if these dogs do that they should be put away (also it’s a legal implication if it happens at her house).

              My in laws are terrified of my SIL big dogs. I think they are sweet, but they are super annoying (I’ll be honest). They never leave you alone and haven’t really been properly trained. They don’t jump anymore (thank goodness) but the younger one will sort of run at you and it scared my in laws who both had had their knees replaced. Many people don’t like being around the dogs and my SIL doesn’t seem to get it. Sometimes they put the dogs away (in their back hall, or garage or once they had them outside with their electric fence in and we were inside) and it’s so nice to be dog free for awhile (and I have and love dogs). So yeah I don’t mind going over there and seeing her two large dogs, but the best parties have always been when the dogs either are out for a bit and then put away or just somewhere else all together. You don’t have to worry about one grabbing your food or licking your hand and having to wash it. I have dogs and this is how I feel!

              I also think is she is any way above Paul- boss, tenured and Paul isn’t tenured then OP should rethink it. Many professors have sway over those getting tenure or named professorships, etc and it won’t be a good look if Paul doesn’t get something OP might be a committee member on but OP says yes to someone who attends the parties with dogs. I also think it would be a good idea to check out Miss Manners on this who I think would say hosts should be welcoming to guests.

              Could you have the dogs at the party but only in a specific part of your house or yard? Like have the kitchen gated off from the dogs? I love dogs and have one but I wouldn’t go to parties every week if I am going to be surrounded by dogs. When we have people to our house we usually have our dog outside for a bit so people can meet her and then put her in her crate in another room. We take her for a long walk before and make sure she gets plenty of exercise, but she’s trained so she can hear us eating it talking and sometimes she’ll bark a bit but usually she’s fine.

              I think it would be a kindness if you even had one party a year where you said no dogs will be here and either put yours away Or send them to a doggie daycare. I am certain more people aren’t attending because of the dogs. I also think it’s good to try and be inclusive.

                1. LadyVet*

                  I’ll second that M2’s points are excellent.

                  Frankly, given that the LW acknowledges Paul is awkward, and the open houses were intended to help their coworkers get out of the house, it sounds like Paul is missing out on these chances to connect.

                  It is the LW’s house, but it would be more in the spirit of the events to find a compromise.

              1. lilsheba*

                I got bitten by a dog as a kid and as a result I have a phobia around them, and reallllly don’t like having them surround me or come towards me unless I welcome it. The only dogs I truly trust are service dogs because I know they are trained well. I don’t think it’s a big deal to put them in a room for ONE night a month, they will live. It wouldn’t kill this person to be accommodating for one night.

                1. Nicole Maria*

                  Right, but would you even want to be at a party where conversation is being drowned out by barking and whining? I wouldn’t. Not all dogs can just be put away easily.

                2. I Have RBF*

                  Yeah, after all, it’s not your furniture that would get chewed of your carpet that got peed on. It’s no big deal for you, after all.

                  My position would be different if it was a work sponsored or required event.

                  It’s not. It’s the LW’s house, they get to decide if the dogs are allowed to be in with the guests.

                3. constant_craving*

                  You should read the posted update. Dogs not being able to attend (others bring their dogs) would exclude someone else from attending. Locking the dogs up would not be a good solution because the interior doors don’t have locks and there are kids who seek out the dogs and would release them.

              2. Kiwi*

                Yeah I have a large dog and friends who are uncomfortable around him, so he stays on leash when they arrive so they have control over how they want to greet him, and then when everyone’s settled there are gated off areas where he’s not allowed (particularly where the food is, he’s a labrador aka food vacuum).

                I think perhaps Paul could have approached this differently, but maybe it’d be worth thinking about for OP – especially if there’s other dogs around, you can’t always vouch for what they’re going to do and some boundaries could make sense.

          3. KateM*

            OP who was worried about their colleagues not being able to socialize enough is definitely allowed to create an environment where everyone but one colleague feels welcome.

            1. mf*

              Agree. I can’t believe I have to type this out: In your own home, you are not obligated to make everyone feel welcome.

              1. Angela Zeigler*

                Of course it’s not an obligation- the host can determine how they throw an event. However, while they’re not obliged to provide drinks, snacks, napkins, or a clean bathroom, these are things usually done- and expected- by visitors, as it’s typical of being a good host. They don’t have to arrange enough seating for everyone, either, but it would be socially rude not to. It would also be socially rude to have a table of only meat-based snacks knowing one attendee is vegetarian. Or to assume everyone wants to eat deli meats as the only food option simply because no one has complained about it before.

                No, OP isn’t obligated to follow a visitor’s request. Unfortunately, the nature of hosting events/gatherings- especially those work-based instead of just close friends- bring its own set of expectations about being polite and accommodating.

                1. greenland*

                  This is one of the most clear, rational framings of the issue in this comment section. Kudos for providing such excellent context and comparison!

                2. I Have RBF*

                  LOL! Do you have any idea how many open house or party type events I’ve been to at people’s homes that didn’t have adequate seating? Try most of them! Do you know how many parties I’ve gone to that have only vegan stuff I can’t eat because it’s all soybeans, cilantro and celery based? Lots!

                  House parties, even if the invite list is coworkers, are not work events. If an individual is opening their home to friends and coworkers, they don’t get to make demands for accommodations, either in seating, food, or pets. As someone with a disability that requires me to be able to sit down to eat, and some obnoxious food allergies, I can ask what will be available, then make my choice on whether to attend, not demand changes from the host!

              2. Technician*

                I actually do feel obligated to make my guests feel welcome. I mean – I guess I “don’t have to” in the sense that nobody will stop me. It’s just my own sense of human decency and manners that makes me do things like have a vegetarian option, or make sure there’s a seat for someone elderly with mobility issues, or not drop people’s coats directly on the floor in the entryway. I’m not TECHNICALLY “obligated” to behave with basic manners – But I generally try not to behave right up to the edge of “you can’t make me not do this,” since I’m a functioning member of society and not a child or a sociopath.

                1. Expelliarmus*

                  I see where you’re coming from, but there is a limit to accommodation. For example, I am of Indian heritage, so even though I’m in the US, I attend many gatherings where there are no meat options to eat. If someone was invited that didn’t want to come unless there were meat options, the host would be completely in the right to say “sorry I’m not providing meat options in my house”.

                  Likewise, if OP wants to say “the dogs will be out and about so come only if you’re comfortable with that”, they have a right to stick to that principle.

            2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

              No, she didn’t. The open house is not about her colleagues. From the original letter:

              “I realized that a lot of my friends with young children or elder-care responsibilities are struggling to socialize and I wasn’t getting to see them as often as I liked.” (Emphasis added)

              While friends-who-are colleagues are invited, it’s not about them.

          4. OP Dog Prof*

            Hello! I am OP! Thanks for this (I will make my own comment later down to address this and some of the other bizarre fanfiction scenarios), but I am a woman. Please use she/her for me.

            1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

              While I have you… These parties are filling a social need for the group, yet nobody else has offered to host a party? It would be weird if Paul started his own dog free party, but the others? Not one person or couple people said, this is great, I’ll take over once?

              1. OP Dog Prof*

                My partner and I are the people who the folks attending the open houses have in common. Some of them have made friends with each other independently since we started having the events, but it’s not all (or even half!) work friends and there is no one other person who knows all the regulars really well and feels up to it. A lot of the people in attendance are folks with a LOT on their plates in terms of caregiving, and asking them to step in for me would be inappropriate. In the year and change since they started, a couple of times partner and I haven’t felt up to hosting and have just canceled the thing. (Also we don’t do one in December. Too complicated.)

          5. MCMonkeyBean*

            I agree that OP does not have to put their dogs away for the party in their own home if they don’t want to.

            But I also agree that OP seems pretty unreasonable in their reaction to Paul’s reaction. Especially because they claim if Paul had said he was afraid of dogs from the start they would have offered to host the party elsewhere… but they don’t seem to have actually ever made that offer since!

            They say they can see clearly that Paul is lonely and wants to be included, they say they are willing to host a dinner at a different location–so why have they not done so? I would encourage them to respond to Paul by saying the parties will continue to be dog friendly but let’s get together at X place on Y date.

            1. constant_craving*

              The incident with Paul was a 1-1 dinner, which is very different than the parties that she started hosting years later. The logistics of going out to dinner with someone vs. hosting a large gathering aren’t comparable. He also tried to kick the dogs and they’re not close anyway. That would certainly temper my enthusiasm for continued dinners.

            2. Ray B Purchase*

              I think OP’s comment about if Paul had noted his phobia they’d have relocated was in regard to a dinner that she hosted just between herself, her partner, and Paul, not the typical parties she hosts for a larger group.

              I wonder how many people usually come to these parties and if it would be feasible to do a big group dinner at a restaurant every 3-4 months instead of at her house. Understandably that might come with a much greater expense than a house party, so it may not be feasible to refocus the whole event around 1 person’s requests.

              Maybe they could do smaller group dinners every now and then at a restaurant where it’s not necessarily just OP and Paul, so that he can get the social benefit from other people, but not the entire group either?

          6. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

            Nobody said he’s obligated to do anything. It’s possible to adhere to a rule that you won’t put your dogs away without treating the guest like some sort of pariah for asking. It’s possible to think it’s a shame that Paul’s dog phobia makes it impossible for him to come to your home. I don’t understand the point in getting angry at people for having a phobia or making a request. Making a request is not obligating the requestee to do anything.

        2. L-squared*

          I mean, its true.

          If you have a fear of heights, and I live on the 50th floor of a high rise, yeah, maybe you coming to my home isn’t going to work. But what I’m not going to do is block out my view that I spend good money to have so you can be happy.

        3. Michelle Smith*

          I disagree. Phobias are very much a personal problem in this instance. I have a very, very serious arachnophobia to the point that even pictures of non-real spiders (think cartoon drawings or jewelry shaped like a spider or even crabs) on a screen causes me serious, debilitating distress. If I had a coworker with a pet tarantula, I wouldn’t come over to the social events at his house. I wouldn’t ask the coworker to move the spider to a new place once a month for my comfort, possibly distressing the pet, or tell him to get rid of his pet entirely while I’m there – I’d accept that going to his home for a social activity was going to cause too much anxiety for me to risk encountering the spider and I’d stay home. I also wouldn’t expect that coworker to be my only source of socialization or take on the burden of making sure I’m not lonely while I’m going through my divorce.

          To be clear, my opinion would be very different if Paul was being forced to encounter these dogs at work. If LW1 and Paul shared an office, for example, I think it would be perfectly reasonable for Paul to raise the issue with LW1 and ask them not to bring the dogs to work, even if there is a policy saying that pets are welcome. And if LW1 refused, I think it would be reasonable for Paul to ask for a change in office space so he could feel safe at work. But we’re talking about private, non-work, non-manager sponsored events in LW1s home. It’s not dismissive to say that anyone who has a problem with LW1s pets should not come.

          1. Dona Florinda*

            I have been in this exact scenario once: I have severe aracnophobia and was invited to a house with a pet tarantula. (Unlike Paul, I wans’t told in advance) As soon as I saw it on a jar, I noped out of there. The owners assured me that the jar was secure, but even if they had put it in another room, I would’ve been worrying it was on me somehow.

            Eventually we agreed to meet elsewhere in the future, but this is entirely a me problem and I have to deal with it even if it means that I’ll be excluded.

            1. Balto the Wonder Siberian*

              Don’t visit Skuon, Cambodia. The local delicacy is fried tarantula.

              Skuon is about halfway between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap on a very poorly-maintained road. Travellers between the two cities stop for a roadside snack.

              Sadly, when I was there, the food shacks were out of stock!

          2. MigraineMonth*

            I think the other exception would be if OP were a manager/department head/etc. That would push it over into “work event” even if it’s happening at OP’s house. But that clearly isn’t what is happening here, so social rules apply.

        4. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          I have a dog phobia. Guess what, I don’t go to the dogs home. THEY live there, I don’t. I get to have no dogs come to my home. I don’t get to tell dogs they have to be shut up in their own home because of ME.

          1. Honestly, some people’s children!*

            I’ve been afraid of dogs since I was a baby, so 60+ years now! I would not expect anyone to put their dogs away because I’m at a social event at their house. I either don’t go or try to stay on the other side of the room. I worked as a civilian employee in law enforcement and people loved visits from the K9s. I either left the room or just explained I was afraid of dogs so could the dog stay a short distance away? That was not a problem. I couldn’t imagine banning dogs. It’s good to respect other people’s fears and phobias but we also have to learn ways to manage it that don’t involve other people having to change their lifestyles.

          2. M2*

            I get this but it sounds like many people from work are attending so one way or another Paul will probably have this impact their job.

            It isn’t hard to put dogs away for a few hours or have one party where dogs won’t be there. I own dogs and train them so they can be crated if we have large parties and people don’t want dogs around. Otherwise I send them to doggie daycare. It’s not hard. I think there are ways to work with people who are afraid of dogs and show a kindness and thoughtfulness if you can.

            When you hold an event with mostly people from work that you try to be as inclusive as possible. Inclusion is important. The OP says she doesn’t let it impact how she works with Paul but just by reading the letter I feel it may eventually impact Paul or others may see Paul isn’t there and have it impact him in the career. It’s human nature when you like someone more you’ll probably be more likely to want to work with them or be more lenient than if you don’t.

            Also, I’m going to be honest as someone who knows people in academia some people don’t even like these parties with or without dogs but feel they need to go for political (yea political) capital in the department. I have heard from friends things like I don’t want to go to this event at professor cs house but because they will be reviewing my journal article/ are on a committee for my sabbatical request/tenure/ whatever and feel like they must go. Also, another friend who is very high up at an Ivy puts in a request to have a large event with people from work at their home they own. Probably for this reason- to be inclusive.

            1. DogsRule_PeopleDrool*

              “but it sounds like many people from work are attending so one way or another Paul will probably have this impact their job. ”

              And where did you get that idea? Did you READ the OP’s comments? 5-7 people from work come periodically, not all the time and the bulk of the guests are OP’s/partner’s family and friends. Additonally, OP and Paul are the same level, so there’s no way OP can impact/limit Paul’s success at work. This was never an explicitly WORK event. It was an open house and colleagues were given a “hey you’re welcome to attend.” People need to stop acting like poor dear Paul is being excluded. Paul is excluding himself.

            2. mf*

              “When you hold an event with mostly people from work that you try to be as inclusive as possible. Inclusion is important. ”

              This isn’t a work event. And OP isn’t the boss. It is a nice to thing try and be inclusive outside of work when meeting with coworkers, but OP is not obligated to do so–not obligated to her boss OR her fellow colleagues.

          3. I Have RBF*


            I’m allergic to artificial fragrance. If a person holding parties in their own home was one of those people with perfume diffusers all over their house, I wouldn’t expect them to shut them off for a week beforehand so I can breathe in their house. I just wouldn’t go there. If I didn’t know, arrived, and then was exposed to the perfume, I would just say my goodbyes and leave.

        5. Misty_Meaner*

          Wow. Really uncharitable to people who have and love their dogs.

          Everyone has a phobia. I don’t ask people to have their homes exterminated before I come over to ensure I don’t accidentally see a spider and lose my mind.

      1. MK*

        I doubt Paul is the only person who minds large dogs that don’t keep their distance, he is just the one who said something. Others probably just opted out quietly, and arguably he should also have done that.

        1. Timedrawer*

          I am someone who fakes being okay with dogs jumping on me but hates it, and if I signal at all that I am not fully happy about it, I risk having it held against me like the OP has about Paul. I really resent this about dog owners, and I have many friends who have secretly admitted the same thing to me.

          1. Fushi*

            Yes, this is the part that bothers me. I don’t have a problem about LW not wanting to put their dogs away in while at home if they are indeed clear about the situation in advance as they claim. But “dog people” tend to take offense whether you opt out of being near their dogs OR try to soldier through when not 100% able to hide your discomfort, and OP kicking it up a notch by holding a longstanding grudge over this guy not wanting to get close and personal with their giant dogs is pretty, uh, concerning in terms of the attitude they are likely projecting in these interactions. =/ Dog allergies and phobias are both very real conditions, not something we’re doing AT your precious pooch!
            My advice to OP would be to feel free to turn down the request for a dog-free party, but lose the jerk attitude about people who show discomfort around dogs.

            1. Nebula*

              100% this, I don’t have a phobia of dogs, but I don’t like them jumping up on me, and I do sometimes get nervous around big dogs due to some dangerous prior encounters. I wouldn’t go to OP’s parties, and you know, their parties, their rules, but I think it is very unkind to hold this against Paul. OP, you love your dogs, and that’s great, but other people not loving them is not a reflection on their character.

              1. PieAdmin*

                From how I read it, OP wasn’t holding a grudge against Paul for not liking the dogs, but because OP felt that Paul had been dishonest about being okay with the dogs being around, even though Paul was warned ahead of time. FWIW I agree with Alison that the resentment is likely misplaced and Paul probably didn’t realize he would have a problem with he dogs until he got to the house.

                Also, there isn’t anything in the letter that indicates the dogs were jumping on anyone. “Well-trained” dogs don’t jump on people. From what is actually stated in the letter, the dogs only approached Paul and sniffed him. Obviously still terribly unpleasant for someone with a phobia, but it certainly isn’t the same as being tackled, especially when it’s a large dog.

              2. Charlotte Lucas*

                At no point does the OP say the dogs jumped on Paul, just that they approached him (normal dog – and human! – behavior to people at a party). I assume to greet him and check the new person out.

                I love dogs, but I hate having strange dogs jump on me. And OP says the dogs are well behaved, so I assume no jumping on strangers.

            2. So Tired*

              yeeeeeah. I love dogs and grew up with them. But the specific kind of “dog people” who get angry and hostile if someone says they’re not a fan of dogs (or if, gasp, they prefer cats to dogs) really give me the ick. I understand the “part of the family” thing, I felt the same about all my pets, but that doesn’t give people the right to mock or shun people who aren’t enthusiastic about dogs.

            3. Charlotte Lucas*

              At no point does the OP say the dogs jumped on Paul, just that they approached him (normal dog – and human! – behavior to people at a party). I assume to greet him and check the new person out.

              I love dogs, but I hate having strange dogs jump on me. And OP says the dogs are well behaved, so I assume no jumping on strangers.

            4. sam_i_am*

              We have a friend who seems to feel uncomfortable when our dog first greets him, since she can be rambunctious (we’re working on it!). Even though he didn’t say anything about it, we now gate her until he’s solidly seated and our dog won’t accidentally knock him over.

              I love my dog tremendously, but putting her in a different room to make someone more comfortable in my home doesn’t seem like any great hardship.

          2. Another anon for this*

            Yep, another here. The dislike, the hiding it, the resentment, then the fact that some dog owners (as evidenced by this here letter) think that anything other than ‘dogs are wonderful always’ = ‘everyone hates dogs always’.

          3. Blackbeard*

            1000% with you. I feel bad for the poor Paul, and I think it would be very kind from the OP if they could accommodate him.

            1. Nicole Maria*

              I mean this in the most respectful way possible, but you’re aware that this is a grown man with agency, right? These are professors, not students.

          4. Ymmv of course*

            I’ve had good luck training my dog not to jump on me by turning away and just standing there (essentially becoming a gray rock), so she quickly learned that jumping doesn’t produce an interesting result.

            1. Yorick*

              I used to have a dog and I trained him not to jump on me right away, but he still jumped on other people. I live alone and that’s my only guess as to why he thought everything I taught him was just my preference but he could still do whatever he wanted with everyone else.

              1. Reality.Bites*

                I was just about to say the same. My dog had this thing where anyone invited into my place was instantly a pack member who he hadn’t seen in years.

                I would explain to first time visitors “you have to spend at least the first 20 minutes petting him or he’ll spend them licking you.”

                I, on the other hand, would be greeted with a sniff.

            2. MigraineMonth*

              I learned this technique while volunteering at the humane society, and I do it automatically when a dog who gets too excited and jumps on me. The dogs get the message, but the owners freak out because they think I’m afraid. Often they start yelling at the dog, which defeats the purpose. Oh well.

          5. RabbitRabbit*

            Agreed. I grew up with dogs; I love dogs and would consider myself a “dog person.” But some people have dogs that they allow to jump up on guests or who have giant trails of drool dripping down or who beg for food (and strangers do not know what a strange dog will do if not fed) and so many people, myself included, just do not want to deal with that. The owner might find it adorable because it’s YOUR DOG.

            My inlaws had large hunting dogs that would not respect your personal space at all. In addition to the drool, the dogs would jump on you (and you were expected to treat it as “cute”) or ram their noses into your crotch/butt when you weren’t expecting it. I spent way too much time during visits with my hands ready to ward off a dog.

            1. Kesnit*

              The OP does not say the dogs were jumping. (Or if they did, I missed it.) They said the dogs approached and sniffed Paul. That is what dogs do – they sniff everyone and everything they meet.

              1. Dainerra*

                except that it’s quite rude to actually let your dogs go sniffing on people who are guests in your home. definitely not something I allow my dogs to do and they are sent to go lay down until they can behave themselves. my dogs are allowed to approach guests only if the guest indicates that they want the dogs to approach. and if the person tells them to go away, they know they are supposed to leave them alone. I also don’t allow my dogs to be pushy and demanding attention. and if I invite someone to my home and they indicate after they get there that my dogs are being a problem then absolutely my dogs need to go take a time out. after all, I invited you to my house. it’s perfectly reasonable that I’m not allow any of the inhabitants of my house to be pushy or rude. and from the tone of the letter, I’m willing to bet that the dogs are borderline obnoxious. and if someone who’s been training and working with dogs for 20 years, there’s absolutely nothing I hate more

                1. Academia is special*

                  Thank you for this comment Dainerra. I find this whole comment section disappointing. I work in academia, some of the comments from the OP – well lets just say, I’m not surprised by this kind of attitude from a faculty member.

              2. RabbitRabbit*

                Right, but the interaction stopped at that point because of Paul’s initial reaction. I’m just noting that many (not all) dog owners frequently excuse behaviors that would be offputting to others, even people who like dogs.

                The owner of the dog sees a friendly, sniffy dog doing Very Normal and innocuous things.

                A phobic person? Might see a monster or a turf-protecting, stalking dog.

                Even as a dog person, I do not expect any random dog to be well-trained or well-behaved and that is your safest option for interacting with strange animals.

                Alison also said that the LW should grant some grace to a man who was apparently much more affected by his phobia than he had hoped (and LW admitted to “souring” on anything non-work with him).

              3. mf*

                Yeah, there’s no indication at all in the letter that the dogs were jumping or were poorly behaved.

                Unfortunately, I see a lot of people inventing here and reading their own experiences into this letter. Wish we could all try to stick to the actual facts in the letter!

                1. Angela Zeigler*

                  Unfortunately (as a pet owner myself), it’s not uncommon to see a lot of bias when it comes to people and their pets. What might be a ‘sweet, completely harmless dog’ to the owner could very easily be jumping, aggressively sniffing, or stepping on someone else, even pushing them if the dog is big enough. Some owners might recognize the bad behavior and pull the dog back. But there are plenty who might not even notice if their dog is literally scratching someone- or just dismiss it with a laugh and ignore someone’s discomfort. We don’t really know the extent of things in this letter, to be honest.

          6. Fly*

            Yes, this is what’s missing in the nuance of this. Phobias are by definition irrational, but they are still real. Just like we make accommodations for people with different degrees of capabilities, so too should we make reasonable accommodations for people who suffer from phobias and are left out of many of life’s regular events.

            Pet phobias, fears, severe allergies, asthma… These can be all be accommodated in reasonable and empathetic ways.

            1. Misty_Meaner*

              Paul was told IN ADVANCE that the OP had “2 large, friendly dogs” so he made an informed decision to come to the open house and then KICK at the dog who came up to sniff him. The appropriate response from Paul was, “sounds fun but I’m not a dog person/have a dog phobia, but maybe we can just do lunch sometime or something, but thanks for the offer.”

              1. Reality.Bites*

                The only thing I find surprising from the OP is that she’s willing to socialize with Paul at all anymore. I’d just make a point of having his now-ex wife at all parties.

          7. MCMonkeyBean*

            Yep. OP has proven it’s true that if someone openly doesn’t like their dogs it will “sour” them on that person, which is exactly the reason many people are hesitant to admit it. It’s definitely not uncommon and I think many non-dog people have learned to feel like they have to hide it.

            1. An Honest Nudibranch*

              Wait though – I’m not getting from the text of this letter that it’s just not liking dogs that’s causing the issue, and I think some projection / unwarranted assumptions are going on here.

              Like, I do agree it makes a difference in what OP is describing as rude here. If “was rude about them when they approached” meant “backed up slightly or said ‘no thank you’”, then I agree OP’s frustration would be unwarranted. But that would be a pretty different scenario from something like “ugh I can’t believe you let these disgusting mangy mutts wander around, clearly you don’t know how to host,” which would sour me a bit on a relationship, too.

              There’s a weird tautology going on in this comment section of “if OP was describing just not liking a dog as rude it would be evidence they are just An Annoying Dog Owner, therefore OP is *proof* that just not liking a dog will be interpreted as rude.” Does that happen sometimes? Yes. But we don’t have much evidence to say that’s what’s happening in *this letter*.

              1. constant_craving*

                Based on the update linked at the top, Paul started swearing and tried to kick the dogs.

                I wouldn’t call it rude. Not that I think it’s acceptable, I just consider it more violent than rude. I certainly would not go out of my way to host someone who tried to kick my dog in my home and who didn’t even apologize for it.

            2. Angela Zeigler*

              That was my take, too. If OP’s dogs and multiple other dogs are roaming freely at these events, there are statistically going to be someone else in attendance that doesn’t like it, simply because not everyone likes dogs, or because they don’t want them in a party gathering. But they wouldn’t voice those feelings if they thought OP was going to judge them for it and take offense- or even go to the lengths of souring their working relationship because of it.

              So everyone else will just suck it up and ignore the dogs trying to eat the food, be invasive, barking, etc, just to keep the peace with OP. Unfortunately, a phobia makes that impossible for Paul.

              1. An Honest Nudibranch*

                OP has at this point clarified in the comments that the reason the relationship soured was because Paul kicked at, yelled, and swore at the dogs – this is very much not a “oh OP will take offense and sour their work relationship just cause someone admitted they don’t like being drooled on” scenario.

                We also don’t have reason to think Paul has a phobia (most people with phobias do not say they’ll be fine when they know the object of their phobia will be wandering around the space). I honestly think it’s pretty telling how much people will lean into “it must be a phobia” to avoid implying Paul should have any responsibility for his actions.

              2. aebhel*

                I’m not a huge fan of dogs, so I don’t go to parties where there are going to be a bunch of dogs running around if I know that ahead of time, which is seems like Paul did. This doesn’t seem that difficult to me? The assumption that everyone else is showing up at these utterly voluntary parties and being secretly resentful and miserable about the (advertised ahead of time!) dog presence is really unwarranted, IMO.

                1. Observer*

                  I agree. Even without the added clarification, some of the responses seem a bit over the top. And they really do ignore some of the things posted in the letter.

            3. Observer*

              OP has proven it’s true that if someone openly doesn’t like their dogs it will “sour” them on that person

              Not really. The OP has clarified in a number of comments what happened – and it was not just that he made it clear that he doesn’t like dogs. He actually cursed and *kicked* at the dog. That’s a whole different level. If he had at least apologized, that would be one thing, but he didn’t even do that.

          8. Yorick*

            This is so true. Some dog owners just expect people to be thrilled about their dog’s every behavior, no matter how bad. My friend’s dog ate food out of a stranger’s hand at a festival and she was totally nonchalant about it. If the guy had been mad she would have thought it was the height of rudeness.

            Not saying LW is like this since some dog owners are amazing, but I do think LW should consider whether it’s possible and at least not judge Paul for not liking the dogs.

            1. Angela Zeigler*

              Had this happen to me on the patio of a restaurant- Someone’s dog passing by just ate a quarter of my meal. The owner just shrugged and laughed before walking away.

              While we don’t know it’s like that with OP, it’s also not uncommon behavior for dog owners. We love our furry babies and that will easily cloud our judgement.

          9. Dust Bunny*

            I am no longer afraid of dogs but I really, really, dislike dogs that won’t leave you alone or that are allowed to do absolutely anything so you’re constantly having to hold your snack plate under your chin to keep it out of their reach. Yes, that includes my mother’s dog, who is sweet, friendly, adorable, and tiny . . . and a classic case of Small Dog Syndrome who is completely undisciplined.

            So if your dog runs up to check me out, I’m not afraid, but I’m also not impressed. Sit and stay are basic good manners.

            I have cats and there is just no way I can mitigate the cat dander enough to host allergic friends in my house, so I socialize with them elsewhere. Maybe the LW could host a gathering at the park or something once in awhile?

            1. constant_craving*

              Or someone else could host such an event. Hosting is time-consuming and expensive and this makes it more of both of those things.

          10. Chirpy*

            Yeah, I had one friend whose first dog was calm and well behaved (just naturally, or had been trained before she got him?) and I never had a problem with him. Her next dog though….jumped all over me and was incredibly hyperactive, which she thought was hilarious and didn’t understand why I didn’t like it.

          11. constant_craving*

            But that’s not what happened. OP considered it rude that Paul tried to kick her dogs, who did not jump on him. The update has helpful details.

            This isn’t OP expecting him to be enthusiastic about the dogs, just that he not swear and try to assault them.

      2. StarTrek Nutcase*

        I agree. The host is making clear that dogs will be there and not contained. Each invitee can then make an informed choice re attending. I greatly appreciate knowing what to expect at a gathering as I have no desire to be around smokers, dogs or kids. This is simply my choice (no phobia) just as the host makes a choice what they want.

      3. So Tired*

        Sorry, but where are you getting that Paul is the only one with a phobia of dogs? LW says that 30-40% of the department regularly attends these events. That’s 60-70% that regularly doesn’t, and it’s extremely reasonable to think that at least a percentage of those people aren’t attending because LW has made it clear they have large dogs that will be roaming. Paul was told about the dogs and could have thought he would be fine with them and then in reality it was worse for him than he anticipated. I don’t find it a stretch at all to believe other coworkers have a dog phobia and weren’t willing to take that risk.

        1. Reality.Bites*

          So what? These aren’t work parties and if you don’t like dogs, you’re not going to become personal friends with OP.

          There is no inherent right to be invited to parties hosted by people you’re just not socially compatible with!

          1. Taco*

            There’s no right for people to be invited but when you are offering a regular party to a large group of people what’s wrong with making it so more people feel comfortable come? Or say “I’ll put the dogs away for a time period and then after x time they will be out” so people can then chose what time to attend

      4. Managed Chaos*

        Does he have a phobia? Or does he not want his crotch sniffed in public? In my experience, even overall well-behaved dogs often do the sniffing routine that can be very awkward.

        I don’t think his request was appropriate, but diagnosing it as a phobia when it was possibly discomfort seems wrong.

        1. An Honest Nudibranch*

          I find it pretty unlikely somebody with a phobia would have described themselves as being cool with dogs in the first place! Not all fear and discomfort are phobias.

          But “what if he had a phobia” is being used to justify his behavior even though we have reason to think phobia is not what’s going on here. I’d have sympathy for someone with a phobia yelling / making kicking of hitting motions / etc. because that immediate fear response often isn’t conscious. Someone who’s just nervous and uncomfortable, not so much

      5. Artemesia*

        We have one friend who is quite allergic of cats. We normally let our cats wander about during parties as they enjoy people and are not disruptive BUT when this friend will be a guest, we make sure to vacuum before the party and keep the cats locked up during the party. That and some antihistamines and he can manage an evening without too much distress.

      6. Chirpy*

        I have absolutely been to events at people’s houses where they made sure the dogs stayed outside/ away so that a person with a dog phobia could attend. It’s just being a good host, same as not intentionally feeding someone a food they’re allergic/ opposed to.

    2. Educator*

      Some people really love their dogs and cannot fathom that other people might not. One of my neighbors was mauled by a “friendly” dog when I was a kid, and seeing her injuries was very frightening to six-year-old me. If a dog comes towards me to say hello, I see those injuries in my mind and panic. And I never want someone to think that it is about their dog specifically–it’s just that all dogs, even the best ones, have the potential to be dangerous. I’ve seen it. A little empathy for people with dog phobias would be kind. You never know what their experiences have been.

      And the dogs are clearly not that well trained if the writer cannot stop them from sniffing people and being disruptive when separated from the group.

      1. Balto the Wonder Siberian*

        If a dog comes towards me to say hello, I see those injuries in my mind and panic.

        So don’t accept dinner invitations where the host tells you, IN ADVANCE, that dogs will be present.

        1. Educator*

          Right, thank goodness people keep their dogs confined to their homes and I never have to encounter them anywhere else.

          1. somehow*

            But that isn’t this. The LW let Paul know dogs are in the household. It’s up to Paul to manage his phobia. He does not have to go to these parties.

          2. aebhel*

            Respectfully, you’re making this about something it isn’t actually about. The question is about LW’s dogs at LW’s home, where they live. Badly behaved dogs in public are an entirely different question.

          3. biobotb*

            But Paul has never encountered LW’s dog anywhere but LW’s home. Your phobia and encounters with dogs have nothing to do with this.

        2. abca*

          If someone tells me there are large dogs in the house I still do not expect that these large dogs will come to me to greet me and sniff me. I know many people with dogs (grew up in farm land) and this is not the norm in my experience. The dogs are not put away in a separate room, but they also don’t come “at” new guests because their owner prevents that and checks the comfort level of the guest before letting the dog loose near the new person. Honestly so surprising to read that that is not the norm, and that there are dog owners who think that of course “there will be dogs in the house” means that you’re supposed to be not just tolerant but enthousiastic about them.

          1. amoeba*

            Yeah, I mean, I love dogs and would be really enthusiastic about greeting them! But if I had dogs living in my house and a coworker who I’m aware is afraid of them, the least I’d do is hold them back when he enters and not have them run up to him first thing. I assume Paul believed the dogs would be in the room, maybe walking around, maybe in their bed or whatever, but not directly in his face (crotch, whatever) as soon as he enters!

          2. Emmy Noether*

            I’ve had different experiences. Maybe the owner will hold the dogs back initially, but he’ll eventually have to let go of them (to get the guest something to drink, for instance), at which point the dogs will go investigate the new person on their turf. I gather this is normal dog behavior. Owner can probably prevent this with well-behaved dogs, but it would mean keeping an eye on and giving instructions to the dogs the whole time.

            If someone told me there’s a dog, I would expect contact with the dog. Which I don’t particularly like (why do they always have to go for the crotch?!), so I’d weigh if it was worth it. And maybe wear pants, so at least I don’t have to extricate them from under my skirt.

            1. Snow Globe*

              Dogs can definitely be trained not to bother new people unless given the ok by the owner (without being “held back”). In my experience, very few people actually bother to train their dogs this way, though.

              1. Blackbeard*

                Fully agree. It looks like OP’s dogs aren’t well trained at all, even if the OP believes they are.

            2. amoeba*

              Yeah, I’d probably expect some contact of some kind at some point during the visit, but for me it would still be a difference whether that happened first thing in the door or after I’ve had some time to observe them, get used to them and ensure that they do actually act friendly and harmlessly! Especially if they’re big, having them greet you at the door would probably be much more overwhelming than, say, having them on a leash for the initial greeting, or even in another room for the five minutes it takes to open the door and then slowly bringing them out to the living room on a leash, letting everybody observe each other for a bit, maybe asking the guest what’s OK for them (maybe they are fine with having them sniff them while being held by the owner, for instance!) and then letting them off once everything’s calmed down and the novelty’s worn off.

              Like, there are ways to make this easier on everybody and from the letter, the OP didn’t really try any of them.

              1. Helewise*

                Agreed, our dog is sent to his place when people come in even if they’re comfortable with dogs. It’s just good manners on his part.

          3. Barrie*

            Agree- there is a difference between dogs being in a house quietly sitting in a corner or interacting with guests, versus dogs running and jumping up at people and rubbing all against them (are these dogs well trained?).

            1. House On The Rock*

              OP specifically says they are well trained and describes the interactions they had with Paul (sniffing and greeting). That was clearly too much for Paul, but there’s no indication the dogs were over the top aggressive or wild. Per the commenting guidelines, we should take LWs at their word and offer helpful info.

          4. Reality.Bites*

            If someone tells me they have something in their house I’m incompatible with, I ask questions to ensure it’s a place where I’ll be comfortable.

        3. Gust of wind*

          I think that dogs beeing present and dogs sniffing you is not the same thing. I would not really view myself as dog phobic, but I don’t want dogs sniffing and beeing in physical contact with me before I got to know them. I would not have known that “dogs will be there” implies “and you have to touch them”. I think OP does not have to shut their dogs in, but I think if it’s a requirement to let them sniff you that should be explicitly stated.

          1. Canine behaviorist/dog trainer*

            Expecting dogs to not sniff a new person in their home is incredibly unnatural behavior for dogs – it would be on par with expecting a human to avert their eyes from a guest until invited to look at them. If you want to minimize your contact with dogs when you’re a guest in their home, your best course of action is to let them sniff your pants legs briefly while you chat with their people, so they know who you are and that you’re boring.

        4. M2*

          This is rude it’s not a dinner invitation it’s a party where work colleagues will be. To be it’s no different from when the men went golfing. Try not to exclude people especially in cases where it will impact their work and potential promotion.

          Please don’t tell me it won’t impact their work, if you are friendlier or have a better relationship with someone you are working with and like them more you are more likely to even unintentionally impact how you view them for things like tenure/ promotion/ grant work/ panelist/ etc.

          Also, if dogs are properly trained they won’t bother new people.

          1. Zephy*

            OP the host is not in charge of tenure/promotion/grant work/etc. It would be different if she were, but she isn’t. This is a purely social gathering where the attendees also happen to work at the same place the host does.

          2. constant_craving*

            This is totally different from when men went golfing. OP is a junior colleague, not someone with seniority in the department. Most work people don’t attend and a large number of non-work people do, because it’s an event for her friends, not a work event.

            Some people are going to be closer friends than others, colleagues or not. LW is not obligated to do all the social planning for the department just because she personally hosts her friends. Others can host their own events.

        5. Artemesia*

          People are more important than animals and these people are not expecting the dogs to be put down. It is common courtesy to make guests welcome and in this case that means not letting the dog to the party where it can go around sniffing crotches and making probably more than one person uncomfortable. I guarantee you that Paul is not the only person who dislikes having the dogs all over them, but most people grin and bear it.

          In the OP’s case, it would be decent of them to occasionally host a non-dog party so that Paul is welcome some of the time.

          1. Rose*

            If I’m picking between a dogs, life and humans life, obviously I’m going to choose the human, but on a personal level I care about my dog, and I don’t know or care about most people. I wouldn’t prioritize the comfort of random coworkers who I don’t care about every much over the comfort of my pets in their own home.

            It’s common courtesy as a guest to be gracious and not ask people to change parties they’re hosting.

            OP is not obligated to host parties jut to please other people. If he wants to have a dog free opportunity to socialize he can host his own party, suggest a group dinner out, etc. OP hosts parties for her friends, for her own enjoyment. It’s not a charity project for lonely coworkers, and it doesn’t need to be.

          2. constant_craving*

            If you look at the update linked by Alison at the top, the only way LW could host a non-dog party would be to do so outside her home. That’s not a reasonable ask. Others are more than welcome to host their own events to their own liking.

      2. theothermadeline*

        Hey there – I’m sorry that you had a bad experience. That doesn’t mean that every person you know is required to invite you into their home if they would rather not close their dogs away. My dog is very well trained and most of the time fully ignores me in our house, however if I close a door between us she will sit and whine outside of it until I open it again. It has nothing to do with training, and it would cause her (my family member) undue anxiety to close her away for a party. Proactive and clear communication is what is required here and what was provided, on both sides. It is just as kind for you to tell your friends of your fear of dogs so that they can take that into account and not be in this position when they make invitations to you. You’re always free to make your own invitations to them.

        1. Educator*

          My friends, of course, do take that into account–that is why they are my friends. They have the kind of empathy that I think would be helpful in this situation. No one is required to be empathetic, it just fascinates me that some people jump to being offended and seeing things as rude rather that trying to understand what might be going on for someone else.

          1. somehow*

            But LW and Paul aren’t friends, so the two scenarios – co-worker party at home and friends party – aren’t fair comparisons, as they operate according to different dynamics.

        2. amoeba*

          “My dog is very well trained and most of the time fully ignores me in our house”

          Probably that kind of (non-)interaction was exactly what Paul expected and said he’d be fine with though! There’s a difference between that and the dogs greeting and sniffing you first thing when you enter.

          1. theothermadeline*

            That’s kind of an unreasonable expectation for most living things, including people, IMO. Well trained dogs are still roughly the intelligence and maturity level of directable older toddlers. They are interested in the new thing and would like to know what it is before they move along. Im the old thing but the thing that they need to know is there if they want to do anything else because I’m important, just uninteresting mostly.

            I’m taking the letter writer at their word, as that is one of the posting rules here, and believing that their dogs sniff and greet meaning they approach new people and hope for pets and sniff around their legs calmly. Then, considering it’s a party, they’d wander around to whatever next interested them, and the way dogs explore is sniffing around and with many new people around they’ll probably be interested for a bit before getting bored and going to do their own thing (which is what my dog does eventually do, she puts herself to bed when she’s done).

            I understand if people have less experience with dogs than others and may have a different understanding of what a dog allowed to wander through their home may do, but I think that’s again where they should be proactive in their consideration and communication regarding the invitation – ask how the dogs usually interact. In this situation the coworker has experienced what it’s like and didn’t enjoy it.

            The askers’ question isn’t “should I ever make an accommodation for someone in my home ever” or “why isn’t everyone totally into dogs” but whether they are being unacceptably rude to a coworker by not in these instances. Which honestly, they’re not. And if the coworker would like to lay the circumstances and make his own open invitations for gatherings or to this particular coworker, he can.

        3. Quite anon*

          My cat does the same thing, so I definitely underatand where OP is coming from. I’m a little concerned by the fact that what seems to have become the official in all but name regular departmental social gathering is hosted by a person with dogs when someone else in the group is terrified of dogs, because this means Paul really is missing out on a lot of time socializing with his coworkers in a group, in the same way it would be a problem if the person hosting the gathering lived in a fifth floor walk up and someone in the group was in a wheelchair. A better solution would be to see if anyone else wants to take turns hosting. That would help ensure one person is not consistently excluded.

          1. Quite anon*

            And to add, part of the problem with being scared of dogs is dogs were bred to be protective – of the herd, of their family, or of their friend group, and they were pack hunters working together to take out the sickliest member of a herd before that. Acting nervous around dogs, unless the dog is supremely well trained to ignore it, causes the dog to want to investigate you more, because acting nervous signals that you might not be trustworthy, and also that you might be weak prey. Which is not at all good if you’re terrified of all dogs if you’ve had a traumatic event in childhood. Which still isn’t to say that OP should lock their dogs away, but creating a situation where your coworkers ONLY gather to socialize at the ONE house that one of your coworkers is excluded from because of a phobia is… a bit much.

          2. rural academic*

            Yeah, this. If department gatherings are regularly held at OP’s house and nowhere else, it is not great to consistently exclude one department member. I’m not sure from the details here whether that’s the case, but if it is, it would be a good idea to consider mixing up the hosting rotation, meeting at a restaurant occasionally, or something else.

            1. biobotb*

              It’s very clearly a casual social event that is NOT restricted to people the LW knows from her department.

            1. biobotb*

              If the LW’s department wants a regular social event, they should set one up, not hijack the casual event that includes her (and her partner’s!) whole social circle.

          3. Nicole Maria*

            I think it might help you to re-read the letter. She specifically states that this is not a departmental gathering, but a party for her family and friends (and their friends and families), some of who she happens to work with. From the letter “my partner and I host a Sunday night dinner that is an open-house affair. I make a lot of food and invite all my friends…about a quarter to a third of the department comes to the event regularly.” This is obviously nowhere near an “official in all but name departmental gathering”.

      3. Paul*

        Word. I was bit by a dog as a kid too. I think a lot of people have similar experiences but it’s hard to speak up sometimes because dog owners can get really defensive about it

        1. Humble Schoolmarm*

          I wasn’t bitten, but I was knocked over by a German shepherd that the neighbours were training as an attack dog (and then allowed off-leash) in my own front yard when I was three. I can still feel the weight on my chest sometimes. The end result is that I’m uncomfortable around strange dogs until I’ve established that they aren’t aggressive (usually takes about ten minutes). I also freeze up when I’m around an aggressive dog (jumping, lunging, barking). It’s frustrating that most people seem to sympathize with that sort of trauma response when the perpetrator was human, but see it as rude and strange if it was caused by a dog.

        2. biobotb*

          Except the one time LW specifically invited Paul to her house, she went out of her way to warn him about the dogs. He chose to lie and say he was fine with them, despite being given the opportunity to speak up about his phobia.

    3. theothermadeline*

      I disagree, they are extremely thoughtful in clearly and proactively communicating the conditions that an invitation to their house includes. If I didn’t like one of my friend’s friends and asked them to disinvite or keep them away from me it isn’t mean of them to not accommodate my preferences over the type of event they want to have.

      1. Molly Millions*

        LW1 shouldn’t have to lock their dogs away in their own home – but if Paul’s not a dog person, he might not realize how much of an imposition that would be, and it may have been the only “solution” that occurred to him.

        It’s hard to tell from the letter if Paul is genuinely dog-phobic (in which case, he should probably just skip these gatherings) or if he just reacted nervously when the dogs jumped/licked/nosed him. If it’s the latter, it shouldn’t be too difficult for LW to steer the dogs away from Paul (most well-trained dogs will comply with a gentle “go lie down!” when they’re too up in someone’s personal space.

    4. Not A Manager*

      I disagree. If you’re afraid of dogs and your host tells you that he has loose dogs, you need to deal with that upfront. Not say it’s okay and then show up making a scene.

      And the LW *can* keep his dogs locked up for a few hours, but he doesn’t want to. Why should he have to do something he doesn’t want in his own home, to accommodate someone he doesn’t like?

        1. Sarah M*

          Because Paul indicated he would be fine with the dogs before the dinner, and then kicked and swore at them when they sniffed at him – sniffed, not jumped on, knocked over, etc. Then, instead of apologizing for swearing at and trying to kick one of OP’s dogs, Paul let his wife do it for him. (OP explains all of this in a follow-up comment.) I’d probably not be too jazzed about Paul, either.

      1. MK*

        Do people seriously think the man intentionally put himself in that position? Being around dogs when you fear them is a highly unpleasant experience, I assure you, as is being seen as difficult by your host and a monster by animals lovers. He probably thought he could handle it for one evening to attend a work even, but was wrong. Or he can handle it, but OP’s dogs aren’t as well trained as others he has met in the past.

        1. Fushi*

          Yes, I think it’s highly likely he was just trying to be polite and get to know OP, and didn’t know how much the dogs would get in his space or how distressed he would feel about it. I also don’t see anything in the letter that he was “making a scene,” just that he responded in a way that LW perceived as rude, which could be a huge spectrum of things.
          I do think Paul should opt out of future parties, but it’s not clear that he really did anything wrong during the first visit aside from not react how LW expected.

          1. An Honest Nudibranch*

            OP clarified later in this comment thread that “rude” in this case was “kicking at, yelling, and swearing at the dogs,” so yes I would in fact call that a scene.

        2. DinoGirl*

          Right. Some dogs are well trained,others are not, and you don’t know until you’re in it. I get it, it’s OP’s home, AND omg the “dog people” side (people with children are frequently asked not to bring them places and scream and it much less, we just accept not everyone wants to attend events with kids). But it also wouldn’t hurt in terms of the inclusivity we in higher Ed love to extoll to have some of these be pet-free. Yes, it’s in their home, but you’ve also chosen to make it a work event by inviting work people, so now you’re choosing to exclude a subset of colleagues not ok with dogs. As HR at a HE institution, I’d love to drone on as well about All the ways conduct at social effects ends up impacting the workplace, but I’ll spare you. This is how our silos happen within depts…so and so did this 15 years ago and blue our department has factions…
          You have every right in your own home to set rules but it’s also true you’re unfairly villianizing your colleague and being exclusive to work colleagues at your work but not work event.

          1. Quite anon*

            Not HR but saw the problem immediately. The problem isn’t really the dogs, the problem is this social gathering has become the de facto only way people in the department socialize, and the way it’s currently set up consistently excludes one person, in the same way it would exclude one person if the only way to get to the house was to walk up a steep hill and they couldn’t do that, or if the host insists they must keep their five patchoulli essential oil diffusers going constantly even during the party and someone has allergies. OP’s well within their right to not do anything about it, since it is technically a social gathering and not a work event… but it’s really a work event, and doing something to try to make it accessible to everyone would be a kindness.

            1. Totally Minnie*

              I feel really bad for Paul, it sounds like nearly everyone else in the department goes to these parties, and they probably come back to work with stories and inside jokes and a level of friendliness and familiarity that he’s always on the outside of.

              1. Nicole Maria*

                It might help to re-read the letter, it specifically states that about “a quarter to a third” of the department regularly attends. So Paul is actually part of the majority here if he doesn’t attend.

            2. Pescadero*

              ” the way it’s currently set up consistently excludes one person”

              The OP said ~30% of the department attend, and 70% do not.

              I’m guessing that 70% is more than just Paul.

            3. I Have RBF*

              But it’s not “really a work event.” There are other people there besides the OP’s coworkers and their partners. There are OP and partner’s other friends who are not with the university. IOTW, it’s a non-work social event put on by a private individual who happened to invite some work colleagues to that also has non-work attendees.

              People don’t have to make their private homes accessible to everyone. Really. I am a pretty strong champion of public accessibility on a lot of axes, but people get to have their own preferences in their own home. Even if they are having an open house.

              I am a member of a religion that often meets in people’s homes for holidays. I am disabled. If I can’t find a place to sit, I have to leave. If the event is held somewhere that I know doesn’t provide enough seating, my choice is to bring my own chair or don’t go. I don’t get to demand that the host go out and buy more chairs.

          2. Pescadero*

            “people with children are frequently asked not to bring them places and scream and it much less, we just accept not everyone wants to attend events with kids”

            Yeah – but we don’t do that in THE KIDS OWN HOME.

        3. Antilles*

          Right, but then why did he accept the second invitation? I can understand Paul being caught off-guard the first time, but why accept the second invitation knowing that “this is a dog friendly party” is part of the deal?

          If I went to your house and something about your house made it a terrible experience (your pets, your house has a smell that irritates my asthma, etc), you know what I’m not doing? Going back to your house! We can all meet at a bar, I’ll offer to host, or something, but I’m learning my lesson the first time.

          1. Quite anon*

            Paul clearly feels excluded from the department because they only socialize at OP’s house. He’s trying to suck it up and deal with it, because the fact that this is a monthly gathering is giving the strong impression that if you want to socialize with your coworkers as a group, you need to do it at OP’s house. Monthly events are about as much forced interaction with coworkers as a lot of people I know can stand, which doesn’t really leave room for Paul to try to start something else with any hope of getting the whole department, which is what OP has. He might be able to get a few… but if he wants opportunity for face time with all his coworkers for networking purposes, OP’s event is it, and its schedule makes it hard to start anything similar without OP’s cooperation to shift it from having the monthly event only at OP’s house to alternating where the monthly event is held.

            1. SoloKid*

              Quarterly things would go over just as well, and if only 30% of the staff goes to OP’s house, there’s a good chance Paul could ‘recruit’ others to join his events.

              I personally wouldn’t go to a coworkers house for a regular event as that feels too personal. (Dogs or not.) A meetup in a pub or other common area would be more attractive to me.

            2. Cake or Death*

              “Paul clearly feels excluded from the department because they only socialize at OP’s house.” Umm SAYS WHO? Who says that the work colleagues ONLY socialize at OPs house?

              “Monthly events are about as much forced interaction with coworkers as a lot of people I know can stand, which doesn’t really leave room for Paul to try to start something else with any hope of getting the whole department, which is what OP has. He might be able to get a few… but if he wants opportunity for face time with all his coworkers for networking purposes, OP’s event is it, and its schedule makes it hard to start anything similar without OP’s cooperation to shift it from having the monthly event only at OP’s house to alternating where the monthly event is held.”
              I really can’t believe this comment. If Paul wants to socialize, he can host his own dang event. This is literally ridiculous. OP is hosting friends at their house. THIS IS NOT A NETWORKING EVENT. I don’t care about your ridiculous reasoning that “this might be Paul’s only chance to network” SO what? Just because Paul may want to network with his colleagues, does NOT mean that OPs party for FRIENDS is a networking event.

              1. Cake or Death*

                “— This is not an official or even an informal department event. We have those, including two big ones every academic year to celebrate the beginning and end of the year. I don’t host those. Senior people do. I don’t advertise the open houses on our listserv; people have heard about them by word of mouth. Any colleague would in theory be welcome, because it is an open house, and the new person we hired since I started them did get a personal invitation and has become a regular.

                More than half the regulars at this open house have nothing to do with the university whatsoever (friends outside academia or relatives of mine and my partner’s), and some of them are associated with the university but are faculty or staff in departments that have nothing to do with ours. (If you are guessing that this is a big state school you are correct.) The vibe of this gathering is not “why is this committee meeting taking place in OP’s house?” It’s a normal party with a lot of nerds and their small children and so on.”

        4. Nicole Maria*

          Please re-read the letter. This is not a work event, it’s mostly for the letter writer’s friends and family outside of work, with a few co-workers attending. There is no reason Paul needs to be there.

    5. Lilo*

      I come to this from an unusual perspective because I have a young kid who’s terrified of dogs (moreso when he was 2-3) and a friend with a dog with separation anxiety (dog was trained but got worse after my friend was hospitalized for a bit). We did a dinner with them and we had to take turns sitting in the basement with the dog because my son refused to be around the dog after he barked but if we left him alone he howled and tries to destroy things. It was not an easy balance.

      So I can understand how shutting up the dogs may simply not be an option but I’m also sympathetic to the coworker. I’d suggest LW consider organizing some coworker events away from their home.

      1. L-squared*

        I think that isn’t on the OP to organize events away from their home. If Paul, or anyone else wants to do that, that is their choice. But OP has made the choice that THEIR events will happen at their home.

        If someone’s spouse owned a bar and let people come by for happy hours in the back room, and they had unofficial work get togethers there, I don’t think they would say that coworker needed to do events at other places. They would say “since some people can’t go, maybe the manager should organize other events”

      2. jane's nemesis*

        This is OT for the letter in question, but please let your friend know that there are medications that can help with the separation anxiety, so that the dog can be alone but not howl or be destructive. Training can help but medications are the first line of defense against SA.

        1. jane's nemesis*

          Source: I have a dog with terrible separation anxiety, but properly medicated (prescribed by and under a veterinarian’s supervision), she can be alone for several hours at a time without issue.

      3. biobotb*

        Why is it OP’s responsibility to organize all the events? If her coworkers, like Paul, want to socialize in a different way, absolutely no one is stopping them from setting up their own events elsewhere.

    6. ElleKat*

      THANK YOU! OP in their own words said Paul was “clearly terrified” of two big dogs rushing up to him, potentially sticking their noses in intimate areas, potentially jumping on him, etc. as dogs do. OP sees that terror, and tells us it’s far less important than the dogs’ temporary “vocal displeasure” at being put in another room. It’s not like Paul is insisting they be sent to the pound.

      1. Not A Manager*

        No! OP says the “terror” is less important than making it possible for Paul to come into a house with dogs. This isn’t a matter of Paul’s life or death. It’s a matter of Paul’s preference to visit the LW in the LW’s own home, without the LW’s dogs there.

        1. WhatTheActualFact*

          It is ultimately up to the host to decide who can come into his home for whatever reason. He doesn’t have to justify it.

          That said, it’s incredible that it is recognisably awful for PEOPLE to paw others and slobber over them without permission -especially if they have attacked them previously – but dog owners find it incomprehensible that people could object to their four-legged darlings behaving the same way!

            1. SoloKid*

              I do not. I will not hold infants, and I never visit families with teething children if I can help it since I know every surface in that house is probably covered with child saliva. I am also very sensitive to the kind of play shrieking that toddlers seem to love, so I just will not accept any invites if a toddler will be around.

              Dogs/children may not know better, but that’s why there needs to be a responsible adult to train them.

              1. Fox*

                But you accept that the child won’t just be shut up in another room alone. You know they can’t help it so you don’t put yourself in that postition. You “just will not accept any invites”. That’s an option open to Paul too.

              2. NancyDrew*

                “I never visit families with teething children” is perhaps the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read on this site, and that’s saying something. Congratulations!

            2. Not Totally Subclinical*

              When my own toddlers tried to grab and drool on someone who wasn’t reacting with extreme enthusiasm, I did not put up with that behavior; I called them away or picked them up and removed them from the person who didn’t want small children poking at them.

              1. aebhel*

                Mm. Same! But if that same person had cursed at my kids and tried to kick them, they would no longer be welcome in my home. :)

                1. Sarah M*

                  Exactly. Especially if they’d already been warned that the children would be in the house during our dinner. There were no surprises here – I can understand Paul being startled if he hadn’t already known about the dogs *and* they came bounding up to him, etc. But that’s not how it went down. At all.

      2. Quite anon*

        To be fair to OP, pets can get destructive when confined in a room if they aren’t used to it. That’s why I’m not saying the OP should accomodate Paul by locking the dogs up, only by opening up the option to rotate this monthly gathering to either a restaurant or someone else’s house. If I was relatively socially awkward, and I discovered all of my coworkers but me were going to do karaoke once a month… whether I liked karaoke or not, I would feel compelled to attend, because the monthly schedule and makeup of the group strongly implies that this is an official group socialization event, even if it isn’t, and honestly, even if it isn’t official, it’s still the sort of thing that not attending could come back to bite Paul in the future. I honestly don’t see any difference between this, and coworkers regularly going out to golf together after work, excluding anyone who doesn’t play golf.

      3. mf*

        “wo big dogs rushing up to him, potentially sticking their noses in intimate areas, potentially jumping on him, etc. as dogs do”

        No, that’s not what the OP said in her own words. She said that Paul was clearly terrified of the dogs approaching Paul to sniff and greet her.

        I think it’s pretty not okay to misquote the OP and invent details that don’t exist in this letter.

        1. Quite anon*

          Both can be true, simultaneously. If he’s afraid of dogs, depending on how deep the fear goes, he might really not know they’re being friendly, and it’s hard to know what you’re going to do when confronted with something you’re afraid of until it happens. I spent much of my childhood living in absolute terror of going outside because the down the street neighbor’s dog would regularly run through the electric collar fence then roam the surrounding area looking for someone to attack. I’ve had to work very hard to not panic and go into defense mode when dogs approach me to be friendly, because even ten years after moving away from that, when dogs approach, I don’t see the dog that’s approaching me, I see him snarling and charging.

          OP said down below that it’s more like 30% of coworkers who attend these parties, which makes it… better… but someone else posted and said that social interaction between coworkers is incredibly important in academia, so I’m not sure if being excluded from an event that attracts nearly half your coworkers by your phobias is any better.

          1. Cake or Death*

            “— Our department does have once-a-semester big parties for the whole department plus family plus friends. Senior people (never me, I’m not at that level) host them, and they are publicly announced on the department listserv along with other relevant department social events. My open house is not publicized in that way, and I don’t use work email to communicate about it.

            — More than half the open house regulars have nothing to do with the university whatsoever (relatives of mine or my partner’s; friends outside the academy) so the vibe of the open house is not “why is this committee meeting taking place in Dog Prof’s home.””

    7. No Yelling on the Bus*

      Oh man. All advice columns involving dogs should come with a WARNING – HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL MATERIAL. So polarizing!

      To borrow some Reddit nomenclature… ESH.

      I work in academia also, and it’s rife with personalities of people who Must Be Right All The Time. It manifests in a general pattern of black and white thinking, and people tend to lose sight of the opportunity to compromise. Both OP and Paul* could have done more to get along here. Neither of them HAVE to – Paul’s entitled to his phobia, and OP is entitled to their house rules. But if they WANT to, then they both had to be putting in more effort towards compassion and compromise.

      *BTW – does anybody else reflexively go, “Paul the wine guy? That Paul? It’s Paul the wine guy!”

        1. Rose Window*

          This event happens in a grey area between personal life and work life. It’s partly a monthly social for Paul and OP’s workplace. It’s hard on Paul that he can’t attend that or has to ask for accommodations to attend – accommodations that don’t fit in with OP’s personal life.

          It’s the grey area (work? personal?) that’s causing the problems here. Not Paul. And it’s not the OP’s fault either, though I think he should be forgiving and kind about Paul’s awkward actions, because phobias (and not-being-cool) are hard.

          1. AngryOctopus*

            But this is not the only social event that ever happens in Paul’s life. And if it is, he is perfectly capable of proposing to go out somewhere with these same people. It’s not a “come to OPs house where there are dogs, or sit and home always and do nothing”. Paul has agency over his social life, and in fact can try to make friends elsewhere, and propose different work people outings.

            1. whimbrel*

              The OP says in their letter that Paul’s recently divorced and is trying to get out more, so maybe it is at present. Either way I can’t imagine that he’d be confident enough to say ‘hey LW, so, this regular thing you’re hosting at your house where people like to attend, how about moving it somewhere else?’.

              1. biobotb*

                Asking the LW to host their own social event elsewhere isn’t his only option. Paul is perfectly capable of inviting his coworkers to his own home, even if he is recently divorced. He can invite them to a restaurant, a bar, a museum, a show. It is in no way the LW’s responsibility to ensure that Paul is socializing in a way he prefers. That’s Paul’s job.

              2. Rose*

                This isn’t OPs responsibility or problem. Paul can make his own plans. He doesn’t need to move OPs party.

            2. Quite anon*

              It might not be the only social event Paul can attend, but there’s a huge difference between “going out with friends” and “spending time with coworkers”. It’s not the “Paul needs social interaction with people” aspect that’s causing problems. It’s that currently, the only way to hang out in a gathering and meet all your coworkers is at OP’s house, and Paul is scared of OP’s dogs. Yes, it’s technically a social gathering… but we’ve replied to other “I’m having a monthly gathering with coworkers doing thing I like and some coworkers feel excluded, is this bad?” letters in the past, when the event was golf, or hiking, and the answers to those letters were pretty much that it’s okay to want to have gatherings doing things you like until you end up with a situation where all but one, or a handful, of your coworkers are attending these gatherings, and then it becomes bad because it’s created a situation where the handful who won’t/can’t attend are being excluded from something that would otherwise be a social outing with the entire department. It’s just that instead of being excluded because of physical fitness level, or because he doesn’t play golf, Paul is being excluded because he’s afraid of dogs.

              1. Cake or Death*

                “— Our department does have once-a-semester big parties for the whole department plus family plus friends. Senior people (never me, I’m not at that level) host them, and they are publicly announced on the department listserv along with other relevant department social events. My open house is not publicized in that way, and I don’t use work email to communicate about it.

                — More than half the open house regulars have nothing to do with the university whatsoever (relatives of mine or my partner’s; friends outside the academy) so the vibe of the open house is not “why is this committee meeting taking place in Dog Prof’s home.””

              2. delazeur*

                “the only way to hang out in a gathering and meet all your coworkers is at OP’s house”

                The letter provides no reason to believe this, and several reasons not to.

              3. Sarah M*

                OP’s monthly open house *which includes her extended social circle, and is made up primarily of people she doesn’t work with* is NOT the “only way for (functioning adult) Paul to meet all his coworkers”. Please re-read her original letter and her follow-up comments. The scenario you’re describing isn’t actually happening.

          2. Pescadero*

            It’s partly a monthly social for Paul and OP’s workplace that the majority of the workplace doesn’t attend.

            “about a quarter to a third of the department comes to the event regularly.”

        2. Twix*

          I mean, if there are people you want as guests whose needs are at odds with your normal way of doing things, that’s how you address it. For example, I adore cats but my parents are both violently allergic. Because I love my parents and want them to feel welcome in my home, I’ll round all of the cats up in a bedroom and vacuum if I know they’re stopping by, even though my preference would be to leave them free-roaming. The idea of compromising on what happens in your own home when it’s being used as a shared space is not inherently absurd.

          However, a lot of people seem to be starting from the assumption that accommodating Paul is clearly the Right Thing To Do, then conceding that OP has the right to be selfish. I’d question that initial assumption. It sounds like the socialization is good for the dogs, whom OP is immediately responsible for, and having them there and having the party be dog-friendly is something other attendees enjoy, most of whom OP has a closer relationship with than Paul. I’m not sure that if I were the host I would change that for a random coworker. There’s nothing inherently wrong with what you consider a reasonable accommodation in your own home depending on your relationship with the person.

          1. Quite anon*

            This is how you get work cliques to form, though. You said it yourself, the coworkers are closer to OP than Paul, which means they’re more likely to use whatever social bandwidth they have for socializing with coworkers to attend OP’s thing than anything else Paul might try to set up. If Paul can’t socialize with his coworkers, he can’t become close to them like they are to OP, which means he will miss out on any chances to collaborate on a project that come up, because he’s never there when “I’m working on a comprehensive book about llamas but I need a co author who knows more about llama breeding than me because I focus on llama grooming and it’s important to cover all aspects of raising llamas and llama care” comes up in conversation.

            1. Ticotac*

              Okay, but to be completely blunt, this is not OP’s problem. This isn’t a work event, this is a party.

              I feel like it’s the “open door” part that is making people think this is more work-related than it actually is, but the truth of the matter is that this whole affair is exactly the same as me only asking the coworkers I am actually friends with to come over for dinner. Am I creating a work clique by not inviting Misogynist Steve and Pedantic Clara over? I guess so, but it’s my free time and it’s my dinner, so I will only invite the people I actually like.

            2. biobotb*

              I’m getting really confused by your conviction that it’s somehow LW’s responsibility to run Paul’s social life and also that somehow all her coworkers are incapable of (or not allowed to?) socializing without her.

              Of course the coworkers who come to her house will be the coworkers who are close to her. But her playing host does not stop Paul from also hosting coworkers and building relationships with them! Why are you so convinced it does??

            3. Twix*

              I have to agree with the other two people who responded – you’re not wrong about work cliques, but there is zero reason that that’s OP’s problem. It sounds like they’re not in a position where they have a professional duty to make sure their coworkers have equal access to them or a responsibility to be personally invested in Paul’s professional development. If it became clique-y to the point that it was causing problems at work then that would be a different situation, but people are allowed to socialize with some coworkers and not others. It’s also kind of silly to suggest that many of OP’s coworkers attending their party once per month would preclude Paul building relationships with them outside of that. Lots of people have multiple/overlapping friend groups.

        3. AA*

          If this social has become the de facto social event and that discourages people from organising/attending others, it’s tough on people who can’t be around dogs for whatever reason. I’m not saying OP HAS TO do anything, but it would be kind to consider if there are alternatives

          1. biobotb*

            But it hasn’t. Also, it wouldn’t be OP’s responsibility to ensure that other people host. If her being a host somehow discourages them, that’s their problem.

        4. Allonge*

          OP does not have to.

          But as they are hosting a frequent event for work colleagues, they cannot be surprised that this brings some conflict into their relations with said colleagues; just as ‘no compromises’ always does.

        5. Timothy (TRiG)*

          “Why should anyone compromise on what happens in their own home?”

          Because being polite and having basic empathy are generally regarded as good things.

          1. UKDancer*

            Yeah I mean I host friends sometimes and one of them has coeliac. I want my guests to be comfortable so I serve gluten free food when he comes over (for him even if not for everyone else). I could say it was my house and he has to either eat flour or not eat anything but that wouldn’t be very nice.

            So I amend my menu to make sure he has a safe and pleasant time.

            There are things I don’t bend on (no smoking in the house is a red line because I hate it and no going into my bedroom because that’s off limits) but most things as a host I try and compromise on to accommodate guests somewhat.

          2. somehow*

            “Because being polite and having basic empathy are generally regarded as good things.”

            No one is arguing that, but on the topic, it’s impolite of Paul to expect people to outfit their own homes for something optional to him. Why can’t Paul host or suggest a dog-free gathering?

            Can I expect someone to get rid of their entire hedge of roses because I break out even before entering the front door? Honestly, the logic defies reason.

        6. LouiseAnn*

          Kindness. Sometimes people make compromises to be kind to their guests. People can do generous things that beyond their strict legal and “ethical” obligations.

          1. somehow*

            And when the dogs tear up a room because they’re locked up? Whine for hours? Other people now can’t bring their own dogs because…Paul?

            Having gluten-free food; baby shampoo for toddlers; etc. is an easy compromise. Dogs aren’t, especially when, as LW notes, other people are free to bring theirs.

            Paul sounds really entitled, especially since he seems to rely only on the LW’s gatherings. Paul is free to have his own.

            1. Technician*

              I’m so confused. Everyone’s dogs are so good and well trained. But they also can’t be put in a room for two hours without yowling and destroying everyone’s possessions. And if they are out they have to sniff everyone. Which is it? I don’t understand how a dog can be well trained but unable to be left alone with another dog and unable to stay out of people’s personal space.

        7. Technician*

          “Why should anyone compromise on what happens in their own home?”

          Wait – really? Like, really really?

          1. Rose*

            Yes, really. Paul isn’t even OPs friend, just a random coworker they’re somewhat friendly with. Why would you make compromises for that person? What about people who won’t be able to come if they can’t bring their dog? Or people who like being around the dogs?

            There is literally no reason to expect someone to significantly change their plans in their own home for a coworker they’re not friends with.

        1. Quite anon*

          Assuming the dogs would be fine if locked away for a few hours. As someone with an incredibly anxious cat who anxiously tears up the carpet if separated from either me or her sister for any length of time (if she can tell I’m still in the house), just assuming pets can handle it and there will be no negative consequences to the host if you lock them in a room IS kind of rude. I wouldn’t go so far as to say ESH, but having that as the only request, no suggestions about maybe going to a restaurant, or letting Paul host occasionally for a no dogs event, can be considered a LITTLE rude, especially if accompanied with “they’re just animals, it doesn’t matter” language. Because no, it does matter, you have no idea what my cat’s vocal cords are capable of, and no idea what you’re asking me to subject people to if you tell me to lock her in a room for a few hours.

          1. I should really pick a name*

            Paul made a request which the LW (who is more knowledgeable whether or not it’s okay to lock away their dogs) is free to accept or reject, or suggest an alternative.

            I don’t see a problem with making the request.

            1. MountainAir*

              In defense of LW not including this, it sounds like she didn’t want to create an anti-Paul bias so that she could get good advice on the question at hand (how do I respond to my work colleague thoughtfully about the fact that I can’t honor this request?). She could not possibly have predicted the level of projection that would go down in the comments!

    8. JSPA*

      I would be opting out of the party (allergies) but would have ZERO expectation that people change how they a) host b) live c) relax d) like to party, to fit my needs.

      If Paul had agoraphobia, should people never hold a picnic in a field?

      If Paul had acrophobia, should nobody put out a broad invitation to go skiing?

      I can see asking if there could be a single dog-free room, or asking (in summer) if an indoor-outdoor picnic and party could have the dogs “all indoor” or “all outdoor” for part of the afternoon…if it would not distress the dogs. But the LW makes it clear that this DOES distress the dogs, and the family, and would inconvenience the guests who normally get to bring their dogs.

      Yes, it’s smart for any pet owner to have pets who don’t mind being briefly controlled or sequstered (for their own sake, as well). But that’s not the dynamic the LW has–it’s not the dogs the LW has.

      “Please don’t hold dog-centric parties because you’re my only hope for socializing” isn’t a thing.

      1. Cattos*

        I don’t think “please don’t hold dog centric parties” is a charitable read of what Paul is asking. I read Paul as asking to have ONE dog-free party, once in a while, so he can join.

            1. Lady_Lessa*

              I agree, and they mention that Paul is newly divorced, and socially awkward. Not a good set up for hosting an event.

              1. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

                … why?

                I’m a socially awkward person, and hosting events is far more tolerable than attending – as a host I have a defined goal and role in the gathering, which goes a long way towards helping me be comfortable in the space. Host duties provide me with a simple and socially accepted way to manage myself in the situation.

                As to the recently divorced… I fail to see the relevance.

              2. AngryOctopus*

                He can ask people to attend a happy hour after work. He can propose going to a restaurant, or a mini golf outing, or a spirits tasting, or a dumpling crawl, or or or or…point being, he can not and should not be pinning ALL his social life hopes on ONE gathering that happens once a month. He can ask people to do other things! He can have lunch with them! He can make new friends outside of work! None of these things are EASY when you’re socially awkward, but you can actually do them. OP is not responsible for Paul’s entire social life.

                1. Sunny*

                  OP isn’t Paul’s social life, but if this is the main work social event, it may be hard for Paul to organize his own bc the rest of the department may feel their “socializing with colleagues” quota is all used up with OP’s event.

              3. hbc*

                As someone who is socially awkward, I do not make that other people’s problem. “Host a party to my specifications because I don’t want to host one of my own” is a non-starter. Either I make peace with the fact that I prefer loneliness to reaching out, or I awkwardly try to set up a happy hour with a couple of colleagues.

      2. JSPA*

        But now I’m rethinking. Because dang, I do know academic departments.

        First off… In a department, quite commonly, all tenure-track faculty must approve both advancement and tenure of tenure track faculty. In some, they also vote on retention / additional terms for non-track faculty. And “collegiality” is (for better or worse) something they consider. And being human, It’s more common than not for some Faculty to conflate collegiality with “comes to social events.”

        This in effect puts every member of the department in a position where socializing and job retention are near-inexorably linked, And where a large percentage of the faculty are in a decision making position over the “Pauls” of the department.

        The LW needs to be aware of this; ” All the cool kids come to my clubhouse, and then there’s Paul” isn’t a good vibe.

        Equally many departments being strapped on cash, essentially outsource their social events to that one faculty member who wants to be “the” party person (often someone who has been around since property was cheap, and so has the space to host). “Oh, I wouldn’t bother throwing a party, professor x always throws one, and we’re not really a party department” is absolutely a message I’ve received. The LW should be cognizant of not effectively calling dibs on the role, such that all department parties are their parties, and thus all dog parties. (Substitute “vegan” or “child free” or “pool” or whatever else for “dog,” and it still holds.)

        It would be gracious of the LW to suggest, in advance, that Paul host… with some food and booze from the LW, as needed, if Paul is early career, and may not have the funds… on a month when the LW can’t host (renovations or what- have-you). Making a place in the calendar for Paul, and letting Paul be the good guy who steps up, would be actively kind. The letter writer may very well find the different department members show up, because they’re actually also happier without the dogs, or because they can get to paul’s place more easily, or what-have-you.

        1. happybat*

          I think this is really important – weak social bonds have a lot of power in academia, and finding ways to vary the context so that everyone can be involved sometimes would be really good.

        2. Harper the Other One*

          This is what I was coming to say – and this issue will magnify as with service years. The is definitely a grey area between work and social but because of how academia works, it’s more on the work side than the social side.

          My father was often the party-throwing professor (and some parts of this letter gave me very bittersweet memories now that Dad is in memory care) and he was always very clear with us that these were semi-work functions. He also went to lengths to ensure there were options though, especially since we lived outside of the city in a place you couldn’t get to via transit. He’d host at restaurants sometimes, have events on campus, etc. to ensure that everyone could get some party time. Maybe LW can shoot to have a summer party in a park or an event on campus at a faculty club or something similar so Paul (and others nervous of dogs) can attend.

        3. Wintermute*

          Thank you for this, that’s incredibly important context to have that means the answer here might be different than it would elsewhere.

        4. OP Dog Prof*

          Hi! I’ll be making my own post with more details later down, but this was well-thought out and so I thought I should reply directly. Some pertinent information:

          — Paul and I are the same level. He was hired shortly before me. Neither of us are senior.

          — Our department does have once-a-semester big parties for the whole department plus family plus friends. Senior people (never me, I’m not at that level) host them, and they are publicly announced on the department listserv along with other relevant department social events. My open house is not publicized in that way, and I don’t use work email to communicate about it.

          — More than half the open house regulars have nothing to do with the university whatsoever (relatives of mine or my partner’s; friends outside the academy) so the vibe of the open house is not “why is this committee meeting taking place in Dog Prof’s home.”

            1. OP Dog Prof*

              5-7 department members are regulars or semi-regulars (come every other month, come quarterly, etc). I should note that not even all my good friends in the department come to them. One has problems being around small children (long story) and it’s a small-child-friendly event. She gets it and we see each other socially at other times. Another department friend has an amateur sport thing at the usual time the event is held, so we don’t see her at these when the weather’s nice. Etc. etc. etc. I could go on. I actually got the idea for the open houses because I wanted to see a specific friend outside the academy with small children and an elderly mom, and opened it up to more people after Monthly Nights with Caregiver Friend started to really go well and become a good routine.

              I am perfectly entitled to be wary of a person who kicked at my dogs (thankfully did not make contact) and yelled and swore at them, which is what Paul did. The dogs approached him slowly, wagged tails, and sniffed at his hand. They did not jump or make any noise. I understand that sometimes phobias make people act out in ways they would never otherwise do so I have NOT held it against Paul in a work context and have been perfectly friendly to him, but no, I haven’t specifically invited him to my house since then, because I don’t want someone to harm my dogs, for whom I am responsible. Please stop writing fanfiction about my life.

              1. Harper the Other One*

                Hi OP, this context about the number of departmental attendees and the other department events is important – but more important is your description of Paul’s reaction to your dogs! That goes beyond rude and I agree that I would also be wary about someone who would kick at an animal, especially someone who was aware the animal would be present.

                Alison, any chance this context can be added? My response to this letter was quite different with these details!

              2. Hiring Mgr*

                For me it’s a little confusing about what you want to happen now. If you don’t want to invite Paul to any more dinners, that’s fine – but in your letter it seemed like you were looking for suggestions.

                You even mentioned that if you had known in advance of Paul’s phobia, you would have changed the dinner to a restaurant – so it did seem like you were willing to accommodate him

                1. OP Dog Prof*

                  I wanted to know how to respond to Paul! Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about it when I wrote to Alison since I posted this, my partner has reminded me that we have young children at these parties who love the dogs and would let them out of any room they were shut in so they could play with them, so fully securing the dogs isn’t even logistically possible. So I will now do as Alison suggested and invite Paul to a separate dinner.

              3. Disgruntled Pelican*

                People are being really hard on you so I’d just like to validate that if I saw anyone behave that way toward anyone’s dogs, my opinion of them would absolutely sour. Yikes. (I also think it sounds like your dogs were behaving well, but YMMV.)

                1. Totally Minnie*

                  I made a comment upthread wondering what Paul’s rude behavior was, and I certainly wouldn’t have defended him in this if the description of his behavior had been included in the letter. That’s well beyond rude and into abusive.

              4. mf*

                Yeah, I’m seeing a TON of fanfiction on this thread.

                Maybe you could write a post clarifying this stuff and Allison could pin it at the top or revise the post itself with these details?

                1. Minimal Pear*

                  Agreed–I assumed the rudeness was, at worst, shouting something along the lines of “Keep those things away from me!” Kicking them? That’s a whole new context.

              5. Blackbeard*

                Ok, if Paul kicked and shouted at your dogs, that changes things. It’s fully understandable and reasonable you don’t want him around your dogs anymore.

              6. House On The Rock*

                I said this below as well, but I am so sorry that your attempt to provide an accommodation for a colleague has been turned on its head and you’ve been painted as some uncaring, vicious-dog-defending monster.

                If anyone came into my home and was aggressive towards my pets (especially after being warned of their existence and claiming they would be fine), I would not be as gracious as you. Kicking and yelling at a domestic animal, outside of some truly threatening situation, would absolutely result in my judging them!

              7. An Honest Nudibranch*

                Ya, hearing that his response was kicking and swearing makes a big difference (and honestly makes me even more annoyed at the commenters who assume without basis this is a case of people describing anything other than intense enthusiasm as rude). I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this, OP.

                1. Totally Minnie*

                  The problem is that when we made those earlier comments, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. We can’t form our responses to incorporate information that wasn’t included in the letter. If the original letter had described what Paul did instead of simply saying he was rude, so many of the comments in this thread would probably never have been made.

                  I’m not blaming OP for that. It’s hard to know what information the commenters will decide is missing and it’s hard to know what to leave in and what to take out when you’re trying to be concise for an internet post. I’m just saying, maybe have a little grace for the people who were responding to the information that was in the letter before they had the context OP has since provided in the comments.

              8. Violet Sorrengail*

                Oh heckkkkkkkkkk no. If someone tried to kick/hit or otherwise hurt my dog I would kick them out right at that instance. You will not come into my dog’s home and try to harm them for being a dog in their own home.

                I had previously suggested doing an occasional dog free dinner to accommodate Paul and I now retract that statement. I think suggesting something else is fine to do but don’t change your current plan just for him!

              9. nocturnal butterfly*

                this is detail that changes things. like, a lot. people were “writing fanfiction” because your initial post left a lot of things to imagination and what people perceive as being “rude” to “well behaved” dogs varies greatly.

                1. nocturnal butterfly*

                  I want to specify after re-reading the letter: this is a good example of why Alison asks us to take the LWs at their word. I feel like a lot of people inserted their own experiences and assumptions and interpretations of what you could have meant, which is understandable, but must feel really frustrating on your end. It leads to discussions about situations that are just not what happened.
                  And I’m really sorry you and your dogs had a house guest behave that way. I’d likely not want them back, even if they said they were fine with the dogs being there.

              10. Observer*

                am perfectly entitled to be wary of a person who kicked at my dogs (thankfully did not make contact) and yelled and swore at them, which is what Paul did.

                OK, this is a really important piece of information, and really changes my opinion. If you are being clear eyed about your dogs’ behavior (and some pet owners are not), then yeah. Unless he apologized profusely and acknowledged that his behavior was out of line and kind of explained why he behaved that way, I would not consider accommodating him either. I’m not sure he’d be welcome in my house altogether.

          1. JSPA*

            that’s all helful (and allays a number of worries). But as, Paul, absent the mismatch on dogs, would be a natural friend (and ally in departmental politics, which isn’t nothing) I do agree with others that it would benefit you to think about the situation as, “Paul likes me and partner enough that he’s tried to push past some pretty significant fears and anxieties. People are not at their best, as far as problem solving, when they are beset by conflict, fear or anxiety. It makes perfect sense that someone who doesn’t understand dogs would assume dogs might all be similar in temperament and degree of bonding with their humans. He’s making a suggestion that would be reasonable for some other person’s dogs; not an unreasonable suggestion.”

            Maybe he would be ok coming on a dog walk with you, to see how they behave when they’re not on home turf, and they are on leash. Maybe you, he, and a couple of other people who don’t get to the parties, can do a joint coffee or tea break, once a week, or have a donut break rota, or do something outdoorsy one lunch per month (soak up some sun, toss a ball, skate on the canal, row on the lake, beach vollyball, scout out a corn maze, apple picking… whatever your local things are).

            1. OP Dog Prof*

              This would be a good idea but Paul’s level of fear and aggression the last time he saw my dogs (he kicked at them; he fortunately did not make contact) indicates to me that for this specific person, it’s not going to work.

              I’m happy to offer to socialize with him outside these events and away from my home, though, as Alison suggested. I think that’s my next step.

          2. teapot analyst*

            I just want to say I think a lot of these comments are ludicrous. if someone comes to my house knowing I have dogs, they have made the decision to come to a house with dogs. I would not lock my dogs up so an unpleasant abusive man (kicking at a dog is abusive whether or not it connects) can take up space in my house I require for other purposes.

            You did nothing wrong and Paul is an ass.

        5. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          That is the part that bothered me, OP is now holding it against Paul that Paul didn’t like the dogs. He needs to put that aside and treat Paul like any other colleague.

          1. cosmicgorilla*

            @Pastor Petty Labelle


            OP has made it clear she’s a female, and the default on this site is to assume LW is female unless otherwise specified.

            1. Hiring Mgr*

              I think AAM herself assumes female, but from what I recall that’s not a site wide rule (not that it really matters in this case but just fyi)

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                I default to female in my language to counter centuries of the male default (which is different than assuming people are actually female, just like the male default still allowed for the people it referenced to be women) but it’s not a site rule at all. It’s just something I myself do when I write.

          2. DogsRule_PeopleDrool*

            Paul KICKED at the OP’s dog. OP has specifically said he/she is NOT holding it against Paul in a professional setting and is still friendly. Paul is still welcome to attend but OP won’t make special Paul-related accomodations (aka LOCKING UP THE DOGS). None of that indicates that the OP is holding anything against Paul. Paul is holding it against the OP that OP has dogs. Stop blaming the OP for Paul being a glassbowl the first time he came over.

          3. bird*

            Paul kicked at and screamed at the dogs, who did not jump on him, after coming to her house with advanced warning that dogs would be there. Paul doesn’t need to go back to that house ever. What if they lock the dogs up and someone accidentally opens the door and they get out and come near Paul? What if someone doesn’t get the memo that THIS week’s event is actually pet free and to leave their pets at home, and Paul kicks at or screams at someone else’s dog at OPs house? What if OPs dogs have anxiety about being locked up and never stop barking and howling because they’re animals that aren’t used to being locked away with strangers in the house? At what point is it better and safer for everyone for Paul to find something else to do or host a similar event or restaurant dinner and invite coworkers?

        6. fish*

          Yes, absolutely this, it’s the best answer.

          It is not feasible for Paul to start a competing event. But “sharing” the event would be a kindness. Or, if you don’t want to share, then you have to switch it up yourself as JSPA suggests.

          This doesn’t have to be a big deal, all you have to do is take a month off and communicate with Paul in advance! I’m sure there will be a month coming up when you are not planning to host.

          And OP, I’ve been mauled by a dog. There is no way to know if a dog is “friendly.” Having a large, fanged animal whose owner can’t, or doesn’t want to, control it is a crapshoot every time and it’s scary. This is not something you can hold against Paul.

        7. Pescadero*

          This is getting a bit fan fiction…

          “about a quarter to a third of the department comes to the event regularly.”

        8. deesse877*

          Yeah, this is all valid. I once worked for a “party” department, and although it was functional, and even quite pleasant at least half the time, it was also a LOT, and the equity concerns were highly complex.

      3. Not Australian*

        Agreed. If I was Paul – and I *did* go through a long spell of being terrified of dogs – I’d be saying “Maybe I can come in the summer instead, when the dogs will presumably be outside.”

    9. Throwaway Account*

      The OP with the dogs is not rude! Dogs are not inanimate objects that can be put on the shelf.

      Alison gave perfectly acceptable accommodations like going out with Paul or attending a dog free event that Paul organizes.

      1. metadata minion*

        Dogs aren’t inanimate objects, but there are plenty of dogs who are fine napping in another room during a party. The LW’s dogs aren’t, which is also not uncommon, but it’s not treating dogs as an object to train them to stay away from guests when needed.

      2. fish*

        If someone’s kid was getting in my personal space at parties, sniffing my crotch, or rambunctiously pushing me around, I would also be mad.

        It is reasonable to expect people to train their dogs (and kids, cockatiels, etc.) to respect one’s personhood.

        1. House On The Rock*

          The OP was very clear on their dogs’ behavior towards Paul. It was “greeting and sniffing”. Please take them at their word here and don’t extrapolate to “crotch sniffing” and “pushing around”.

    10. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Hard disagree.
      This is not a workplace or “mandatory fun”. The OP is a coworker, not Paul’s boss; they are generously taking on the work & expense of open house parties in their own home and inviting the whole department to bring kids, partners, housemates and pets to make it easier for those with caring commitments to come.

      If I choose to go to a party at someone’s house, I accept their home as is, with kids – who may be germ factories for someone with low immunity – dogs, cats, nude sculptures, garden with flowering plants that might cause hayfever etc
      Really cheeky to request that the host impose requests on all the other guests – Paul asking that everyone be banned from bringing dogs.

      As an Aspie, I thankfully missed out on the female socializing that would require me to be “nice”, i.e. accede to very inconvenient requests or soften my refusal.
      So I’d give a polite “sorry Paul, the dogs stay but you are always welcome if you want to join us” instead of softening with an individual invitation to treat him to a meal out elsewhere.

      1. Phryne*

        OP has every right to set whatever rules they want in their house. But the issue is that OP wants to do that, and now be absolved of the negative output of that. And that is not how social interaction works.

        1. Willow Pillow*

          Given OP’s comments here (OP Dog Prof, September 15, 2023 at 9:34 am) that Paul swore at and kicked at her dog, it seems more like Paul is the one trying to absolve the negative impact of his choices.

        2. Sarah*

          This is right, Phryne.

          There are extenuating circumstances that cast OP in a better light (Paul kicking and swearing at the dog), but they weren’t included in the original letter. With the letter as written, OP does not come across great.

          1. Cake or Death*

            OP comes off fine. There’s just too many commenters that have created their own fanfiction that poor Paul just started working there (he didn’t), this is a work event (it’s not), there’s no way he can get to know his coworkers without going to OP’s parties (it’s not), there’s no way he can host his own event with coworkers because Op is hogging the one night anyone can attend (WTF?), that he’s missing out on work advancement if he can’t attend(he’s not), that he is going to be excluded by coworkers for not attending (he’s not – the majority of OPs coworkers don’t attend), and mainly, that people have twisted reality to insist that EVERY social event (SOCIAL not WORK) in someone’s PERSONAL HOME for FRIENDS that don’t even all know each other, should be changed to fit the desires of ONE possible attendee.
            I feel like I’m taking crazy pills with these comments. The entitlement is palpable. And I don’t even like dogs that much!

            1. Hiring Mgr*

              The OP though was the one who in her initial letter suggested changing the event to a restaurant to accommodate Paul (not every time of course, maybe once) if he had made it known he had a dog phobia.

              So it does seem like that was on the table at one point

              1. constant_craving*

                No, that’s not quite right. The dinner with Paul that happened years ago was what LW would have had a restaurant had she known about his dog phobia.

                The parties, which she only started more recently, were not something she offered to move to a restaurant and the logistics of that vs. two coupes meeting for dinner are extremely different.

            2. billions & billions of stars*

              Thank you for putting it so succinctly, Cake or Death! The accommodate-Paul comments are truly mind blowing.

            3. aebhel*

              Same. I actively dislike dogs and avoid events where I know they’ll be – ‘party at my house with a bunch of large friendly dogs present’ would be an immediate NOPE from me. But wayyyy too many people here are inventing facts not in evidence to demonize the LW.

          2. biobotb*

            No, she comes across fine in the original letter. Paul, who clearly doesn’t like dogs and chose to come to her house despite being warned about them, does not.

    11. Samwise*

      So here’s the thing.

      It’s OP’s house and if he wants to be a poor host, so be it.

      But these parties are attended by many coworkers, it sounds like. While they are not work parties, setting them up so that some coworkers cannot attend — and insisting on a set up that is not that hard to change — is deliberately excluding a co worker.

      It’s academia. Parties like this, hosted by what I’m betting is a full professor (big house, food for lots of people, held fairly often — that ain’t cheap, OP is unlikely to be a lowly assistant prof), are work-adjacent. Being excluded from such parties means that person is excluded from departmental community building. I’m sure Paul feels like a valued member of the dept when everyone is talking about last weekend’s party at OP’s house, which he could not attend.

      Allison’s suggestion that OP take Paul out to dinner does not solve this problem.

        1. Wings*

          I don’t think they did. They say they wanted meet their friends more often and that some of these friends happen to be colleagues too. That’s not “solely departmental community building”.

        2. House On The Rock*

          No they didn’t. They specifically say the invitees are both departmental and non-departmental friends and colleagues. The OP is quite clear about the purpose and guest composition, we should take them at their word.

        3. OP Dog Prof*

          Hi! No, I did not. More than half the open house regulars are friends outside the academy or relatives of mine.

          1. Kaiko*

            Out of curiosity, how much time and conversational energy is given over to work at these events? Even if the overall party mix is more non-colleague, are all your other colleagues joining and Paul isn’t?

      1. Cattos*

        Yes. I’m a university professor in the USA and this is where I fall, these parties become default work bonding events. In my experience, these kind of events are often held to celebrate the beginning or end of a term and there may be few similar events each semester. (People get busy—1 or 2 events is it). Going out to dinner one-on-one is not an equivalent option.

        Also, I wonder if Paul’s other coworkers would be more willing to accommodate his dog phobia. OP says other people bring their dogs as a way to throw cold water on Paul’s request but OP has not actually asked colleagues if they could have a dog-free event and can’t speak for them. My own colleagues with dogs are really good about recognizing that not everyone loves dogs and keeping them home at times.

        1. WhatTheActualFact*

          It’s not always about love. Often people are allergic or don’t like dogs leaping on them, slobbering all over them and having this dismissed as “oh, my doggie is so FRIENDLY.”

          It’s the owners’ obliviousness to this that is so frustrating.

          1. Not All Dog Owners*

            Well they are not really oblivious because they are actively seeking ways to help Paul and manage their own reactions to Paul’s reaction. This isn’t just related to your comment, but there’s a ton of projection in these comments about the LW’s overall mindset that are really unkind. A truly clueless “My Dogs Are My Babies And No One Can Gainsay That” person would never write the letter OP wrote.

        2. biobotb*

          Firstly, this isn’t a coworker-only event. But even if it were, it wouldn’t be OP’s responsibility to ask other coworkers to host the event in a way that Paul would prefer. If Paul wants to have a dog-free, coworker only event, he is completely free to throw it himself. Again, not OP’s responsibility to find another host to make Paul happy.

      2. Wes*

        OP states only a third or a quarter of staff attend, so it isn’t like he’s the only person from work who won’t be there.

        And Paul is welcome to plan, host, clean up after, and foot the bill for his own events! But I’m guessing it’s just easier to ask OP to change theirs.

        1. aebhel*

          ^ exactly. LW and Paul are on the same level; there’s no reason that Paul wouldn’t be able to host a dog-free event, which might be happily attended by anyone who’s avoiding the LW’s events because of her dogs. He doesn’t want to do that for whatever reason, which is his right, but an odd number of people who think it’s perfectly reasonable for the LW to bend over backward to accommodate this one (rude) individual seem to think that the idea of anyone else at the college hosting a semi-regular party is unthinkable. I don’t get that.

      3. IneffableBastard*

        I agree with you.

        I am a dog lover, but I do not condone people who do not train their dogs properly and believe that any refusal/fear other people may feel towards their dogs comes from rudeness. OP’s dislike of Paul for this sole reason may cost a lot in Paul’s career in the future.

        1. Snow Globe*

          This is where I land. OP says the dogs are well-trained, but then says they were running up to Paul when he entered the house. That is not “well-trained.”

            1. House On The Rock*

              Yep, they describe it as greeting and sniffing, which was too much for Paul, and that’s understandable! But let’s take OP at their word about what happened.

            2. Sarah*

              I think the assumption is fair, since OP says in the comments that Paul kicked at the dogs.

              If Paul swore and kicked at dogs who were truly well-behaved and hadn’t bum-rushed him, there would be no question that he’s no longer welcome in OP’s house. He would be a total jerk in that situation.

              But OP is still weighing what her obligations to him, if any, are. This suggests the dogs must have “approached” him in a fairly rambunctious manner.

              1. House On The Rock*

                Not necessarily. It could also mean that OP is far more gracious than many would have been and is trying to find a way to work and socialize with Paul that doesn’t make him uncomfortable and also protects her pets!

                People can feel bad in general that a situation occurred even when they did nothing wrong.

              2. aebhel*

                OP also says in the comments (that same comment, in fact) that the dogs approached slowly and without barking, so I feel like you’re inventing an interpretation of events not in evidence here.

                ‘If Paul actually behaved as described, then he’d clearly be in the wrong! Thus, he couldn’t have actually behaved that way’ is fallacious reasoning.

          1. Gerri's Jaunty Hat*

            This kind of reads like you’ve never encountered a dog in real life? Approaching to see a new person in their home is 100% normal for dogs / cats / people to do. Maybe a really old dog too blase to investigate might not do it, but the idea that “well trained” dogs are immobile, no thoughts, head empty even when a person comes in? Be serious.

        2. DataGirl*

          I agree, I like dogs but a lot of them behave terribly because their owners do not train them. I would not be thrilled at a party to have large dogs all over me. I know many owners think their pets are precious angels who can do no wrong, but that is often not true. I suspect these dogs are not nearly as well behaved as their owner thinks. Of course OP has the right to do what they wish with their pets in their home, but they comes across as a real jerk, especially for judging Paul for not wanting to be around their dogs.

          1. biobotb*

            Then don’t go to a party where you know dogs will be? Throw your own dog-free party.

            If you attend an event where you know dogs will be, but then are rude and offended that there are dogs there… your hosts aren’t the jerks in that situation.

      4. Not Australian*

        That’s not being a poor host, it’s stating their limitations. I have people who can’t visit me because I don’t have a downstairs bathroom: it is what it is – nobody can potentially cater for *every* eventuality.

        1. abca*

          That is a good point. I live in an apartment with no elevator, so people need to be able to walk up one stair to get here.
          But if I got a new colleague for whom that is not an option, I would absolutely go out of my way to make sure they can be included in our regular gatherings. Asking someone else to host these parties from now on, hosting them at the workplace instead of at my home, etc. It’s different for a one off thing, but for recurring events, I would feel awful excluding someone because of this.

          1. Kristi*

            The party is attended by OP’s friends and family. Are you saying they should ask Paul to host those people?

      5. Natebrarian*

        Yes, I agree. You’ve created a situation where a junior member of the department isn’t benefiting from the opportunities given to others. OP doesn’t have to lock the dogs away if they’re going to howl and make everyone miserable, but they should at least talk to the chair about creating some other “community building” events that Paul would feel comfortable at.

        I also wonder about the other dogs. It’s one thing to have your own dogs running around, but now you have a party with “guest” dogs running around too—it just seems like the potential for problems will be significantly higher. I don’t know if this would help Paul, but can OP at least ask guests to leave their dogs at home?

        Also, OP, please stop taking Paul’s discomfort with dogs out on him at work. It’s not okay, and is the sort of thing that can affect someone’s career progression.

        1. mf*

          Except no: OP has explicitly said that she’s friendly and polite with Paul at work. She is not taking it out on him at work.

        2. alienor*

          From the additional details OP provided, it sounds like she’s not upset about Paul’s discomfort with dogs, she’s upset that Paul screamed at and tried to kick her dogs. I’d be hard pressed to be warm towards someone who physically attacked my pet.

        3. Missy*

          Paul is not a junior member of the department. They are the same level and have slight seniority over OP. But this is all a fascinating analysis of the things we read into stuff (like everyone assuming that Paul is Junior and OP is Senior).

        1. Totally Minnie*

          Samwise posted their comment at 1am. The comment from OP clarifying her gender might not have been up yet at the time.

      6. Cake or Death*

        “— Paul and I are the same level. He was hired shortly before me. Neither of us are senior.

        — Our department does have once-a-semester big parties for the whole department plus family plus friends. Senior people (never me, I’m not at that level) host them, and they are publicly announced on the department listserv along with other relevant department social events. My open house is not publicized in that way, and I don’t use work email to communicate about it.

        — More than half the open house regulars have nothing to do with the university whatsoever (relatives of mine or my partner’s; friends outside the academy) so the vibe of the open house is not “why is this committee meeting taking place in Dog Prof’s home.””

        “5-7 department members are regulars or semi-regulars (come every other month, come quarterly, etc). I should note that not even all my good friends in the department come to them. One has problems being around small children (long story) and it’s a small-child-friendly event. She gets it and we see each other socially at other times. Another department friend has an amateur sport thing at the usual time the event is held, so we don’t see her at these when the weather’s nice. Etc. etc. etc. I could go on. I actually got the idea for the open houses because I wanted to see a specific friend outside the academy with small children and an elderly mom, and opened it up to more people after Monthly Nights with Caregiver Friend started to really go well and become a good routine.”

        I mean, but go ahead and keep making stuff up.

        1. House On The Rock*

          Parts of the Commentariate really, really want project so much weirdness onto OP, her motivations, her status at the institution, and the degree to which she may or may not have trained her pets. It’s almost as if they have lots of preconceived ideas about dogs, academics, women in academia, and social obligations! Whatever happened to taking LWs at their word? This is fundamentally a question about how to accommodate a coworker who behaved poorly in the LW’s home!

    12. Bekka*

      I really feel for Paul on this one. I’m fine with dogs provided they’re trained enough to not crowd strangers and follow owner commands to move away. I’ve been knocked down by enough big dogs that if they persist on getting into my personal space I’m going to get increasingly scared. If a colleague invited me to an event with kids and dogs mixing I’d expect those dogs to be the well-mannered kind that keep their distance (since kids and dogs are such a dangerous combo), and would probably be just as scared as Paul when they weren’t. However I wouldn’t have asked the dogs to be put away because I know how sensitive dog owners are about their babies. There’s been a lot of (often fatal) dog attacks in the UK this year but implying a wish for even basic safety from dog owners is met with hostility. Sucks that OP now has a poor opinion of Paul seemingly based on his reaction to this one thing

      1. JSPA*

        Hm, “dogs that keep their distance”… maybe you’re thinking of cats?

        Unless you’re allergic (which I am) dogs sniffing you at close range isn’t a danger, it’s default behavior.

        Friendly dogs generally make friends by coming up and sniffing. Smell is most of how they “see” people, how they meet people, and how they befriend people.

        “I have strong negative reactions to dogs” is fine. Really, it is! But “I nevertheless have strong opinions, despite minimal first-hand knowledge, of how safe, good dogs act” isn’t the best followup.

        1. Kitry*

          Agree 100%. Sniffing is normal, polite, safe dog greeting behavior. Expecting a dog to attend a social gathering without sniffing is like expecting a human to attend a social gathering without speaking.

        2. Paul*

          It’s really common for excitable, big, poorly trained dogs to jump on people. It’s legit to fear being knocked over by a dog.

          1. Rose Window*

            I presume you’re not…”Paul” Paul.

            (If so, I just want to make it very clear that I have sympathy for your situation, though I see no clear solution since every solution is inconvenient or hard on someone. But I sympathise, Paul!)

        3. safari*

          it is absolutely possible to train a dog not to approach new people until invited, or to tell them to move away if they do – I assumed thats what OP meant by their dogs being well-trained, but it doesn’t sound like it is. We used to have a dog at work, in our young people’s health clinic, who sat under the receptionists desk. He would look up and look friendly when someone came in, but wouldn’t get up until the visitor showed interest and receptionist asked “do you want to say hi?” He was a particularly well-trained and amazing dog. But my friend also has a big dog, and another friend is nervous of her – if the dog approaches to sniff, either the owner or another of us say “no” and divert her away, its easily done. We keep the dog at the end of the room away from the nervous friend. Not hard. Doesn’t sound like OP is trying to do this.

          1. Allonge*

            Indeed. I live in a block with a bunch of dogs – I meet them often in the elevators / corridors.

            Most look friendly and are happy to make closer contact when invited but as a default they do not sniff (without intervention from their human, even). It’s very possible.

          2. Lilo*

            We did the mat/corner method of training where out dog was trained to go to her mat until she was released. You absolutely can train a dog to stay back when people come in.

        4. Waiting on the bus*

          I assume this is a difference in how people interpret “well trained”. I do think that we’ll trained dogs don’t go up to strangers to sniff and greet them because none of the well trained dogs I know do that. As someone who had a dog phobia I had to realise that “well trained” is subjective and that if you’re not afraid of dogs, the bar to what you consider well trained is just lower than if you are.

          I assume this is what happened with Paul as well. OP told Paul initially that the dogs are well trained which made Paul think he could attend. But then at the party the dogs exhibited behaviours that fall outside of Paul’s interpretation of well trained and he had to ask to have them removed from the open area (he could have also left but IME that has an even higher chance of causing offense, so he was stuck between a rock and a hard place at that point).

          Asking if there could be a party without the dogs every now and then isn’t an unreasonable request, IMO, especially since it’s such a regular thing. OP saying no is also not unreasonable, since it’s their house.

          Holding a grudge over the whole thing is unreasonable, though.

          1. amoeba*

            Yup, that’s where I fall – as a person who loves dogs and is very happy about them approaching me! But I’d also expect the owner to hold them or send them to their bed or otherwise keep them away from me if I previously indicated that I’m scared of them. Just letting them approach Paul first thing, knowing about his fear, seems unkind.

            1. Blue*

              I don’t think OP knew about Paul’s fear before the open house though! Paul said he’d be fine with it.

              1. amoeba*

                True, I misread that as “he indicated he was scared but would be able to tolerate it”. I’d say it would be general good practice though with new people, until you know their level of enthusiasm about (your) dog(s)…

          2. L-squared*

            I think you are right here. I don’t have any dogs (I like them though).

            If a dog comes up to me and sniffs me, especially when I enter their home, that to me doesn’t mean they aren’t well trained. It just means they are coming to say hi.

            If a dog barks and jumps on me, even in just excitement, that is what I consider not well trained.

            I also think this is a perception thing due to size. A small chihuahua comes up to you and sniffs you without barking? No one cares. A lab or pitbull does the same behavior, all of a sudden people say they aren’t well trained.

          3. L.H. Puttgrass*

            I’ve met dogs that will jump up on you and try to lick your face, and dogs that will quietly sit in the designated spot on their dog bed during an earthquake unless given the command to move.

            Funny thing: the owners of all those dogs thought they were “well trained.”

      2. MsSolo (UK)*

        Mm, the way OP describes their dogs, I’d honestly be more nervous there than I would with someone who talked about having a badly trained dog, because I know the latter wouldn’t be viewing their dog’s behaviour through an affectionate lens. I know a lot of people with friendly dogs (including my parents), and I have been friendlily barked at, friendlily growled at, friendlily jumped on, friendlily knocked over, stole food friendlily from my dinner plate, and friendlily chewed my hands. And, you know, I do believe that these are friendly behaviours, because no actual harm was done, and it was the way the dogs were accustomed to playing with their owners. Why would they think other people wouldn’t want to have paws on their shoulders and teeth in their face? But as someone who is nervous of dogs, it’s deeply, deeply unpleasant, just as being around a puppy is much more anxiety inducing than an adult dog, or a small dog than a large one (or a purebreed than a mongrel, which is kinda linked – most small breeds are hunting dogs, after all).

        1. jellied brains*

          Yeah, in my experience there are two types of dog owners. One kind will fully acknowledge that their dog is well, a dog and has some faults (sorry, he barks at people wearing hats, she urinates when she’s scared, he doesn’t like kids so please don’t let your toddler run up to him, she’s super sweet to people & other dogs but she murders butterflies) and people who think their dog is the goodest bestest most perfectest dog there is, meanwhile it’s just….not.

      3. Thegreatprevaricator*

        As a host, I kinda can’t imagine not trying to accommodate my guests. It doesn’t feel hospitable. If someone has a peanut allergy I don’t say ‘sucks to be you’. If someone has an allergy to cats I will keep the cats out of the room and keep the windows open. I get it’s the persons home, and it’s voluntary, but it effectively excludes someone from taking part in everyday life by not finding a way to accommodate them. It further isolates a colleague. I am assuming that if this person were well liked there’d probably be a way to accommodate them. That speaks to a workplace dynamic that doesn’t sound so fun. On the basis of inclusivity why not expand the locations occasionally? Others will also benefit by having other times and places to socialise with colleagues.

        1. Caramel & Cheddar*

          It took me way too long to find a response like this. I appreciate that you will never make everyone happy, but it’s surprising to me that making people feel comfortable in your home isn’t top of mind if you’re hosting a get together. But then again, a lot of people aren’t accommodating of food allergies either when they host friends or family, so maybe this shouldn’t be surprising.

          1. DCompliance*

            …”it effectively excludes someone from taking part in everyday life by not finding a way to accommodate them”.

            How? It is actually the exact opposite. The OP stated that the whole point of the party was be she was trying to be nice when she noticed a group of people were having trouble socializing. The OP is not required to have a party. The OP is not required to open up her home. She is doing the opposite of excluding.

            In addition, she did accommodate her guests. She gave a warning that she is having a house party with dogs in attendance.

            If someone tells me they are having a clam bake and I have a clam allergy, I don’t say “can you not cook that?”

            Maybe the OP does not have time or money to call bunch of places and host its somewhere else and expecting her to do so is rude.

        2. Ticotac*

          I think there’s a difference between inviting people and telling people they can come if they’d like. If I’m inviting people to a party and one of them has a peanut allergy, I will take that into account and go for something that isn’t Peanut Party. If I’m telling people that they can come to my Peanut Party if they want and one of them says they’d like to but they have a peanut allergy, my answer is going to be “yeah, best you don’t come then.”

          And sure, these aren’t Dog Parties, but they are House With Relatives And Dogs And Children parties. You are free to come if you want, but if you don’t like relatives, dogs, and children, then you should stay home.

          1. Csethiro Ceredin*

            That’s where I land, too. Also, if someone swore and kicked at anything they knew to expect in my home (even an inanimate object) I’d be pretty disinclined to invite them back.

            1. LimeRoos*

              This too! I was thinking the same thing – if anyone swears, yells, and kicks at something in my house, they’re not welcome in my house anymore. Could be a table or my dog, it doesn’t matter – if they show that level of violence, they’re out.

        3. biobotb*

          Why is the socialization of OP’s workplace entirely OP’s responsibility? If other coworkers want a different type of party, no one’s stopping them from throwing that. There’s nothing wrong with the OP saying, “I’m having an open house on Sunday if you want to stop by. If you do, you’ll encounter dogs, kids, and lots of people from outside the department.”

          If that event doesn’t suit other people, they can create their own events. If they did, would you expect them to accommodate the OP by inviting dogs, kids and her not-coworker friends?

    13. Medusa*

      Nah. I despise dogs. You know how I deal with this? I don’t go to the houses of people with dogs. Paul is unreasonable. If he wants a dog-free hang, he is free to organize one himself.

      1. anononon*

        Yep, same here. Dogs are lovely but make me sneeze uncontrollably and make my eyes stream, so I don’t go to the houses of friends who have dogs – and they don’t bring their dogs when they visit me.

        (I don’t like noisy, screaming kids either, so I don’t go and visit my friend who has two noisy, screaming kids. We meet for a coffee somewhere, while her husband has the kids.)

    14. Empress Ki*

      Why should the dogs suffer ? I have been very dog phobic all my life, but I wouldn’t expect it. All I expect is to be warned there are dogs (LW does that with his guests), and then I’d probably not come to the event.
      The choice for the guest are
      a) accepting the dogs
      b) not attending the event

    15. M2*

      It’s OPs house and sniffing and coming up is normal behavior for dogs. Doesn’t say they are barking or jumping on people (if they are they should be put away I think).

      I had a large dog years ago and she was sweet as could be, but some people were still scared of her. I tried to be thoughtful but also she was old so she constantly had to go outside so I Couldn’t lock her away for hours because she would have needed to be let out and go through a main way. I now have a smaller dog and still people are scared. Some people have been bit by a dog and some people are scared of them.

      I don’t you always have to put them away but maybe once or twice a year you could have a no dog event and either shut them away or send them to a doggie daycare for the night. To me having owned dogs it would be like having someone who has a celiac allergy or is vegan, I would try to make accommodations for them and if day someone couldn’t be around wheat at all I would try to have a celiac food only event maybe once a year. Many people don’t like large dogs but won’t say anything about it, so I think even having one or two events a year that you make clear won’t have any dogs will probably allow more people to attend.

      And as a dog owner of your dogs cant be away from you for a few hours when you are home or even when you aren’t then they weren’t trained properly. Crate training from a puppy does wonders.

    16. Llama Identity Thief*

      This is a really tricky balancing act, based on the fact that the dogs (no matter how well- or poorly-trained they are) have PROVEN that they cannot be set aside without making a heck of a ton of noise, and being a disruption to the rest of the party. It’d be one thing if it was only sad for the OP for the dogs to not be involved, but “making their great unhappiness known” would be a vibe ruiner for the party. I have no love for large dogs, as a private tutor they were my #1 occupational hazard, but I’d also hate to be at a party where the dogs are barking loudly and causing disruption because they don’t get to be with the people.

      I like the suggestion I read down-line to see if the dogs can be sequestered to a certain portion of the house. It depends a lot on housing size and setup, because you’d want at least one “hang out” area dog present and dog free, and you’d need to keep the food station and bathroom both dog free. In addition, these are large dogs, which are much harder to properly sequester. If not this, is there any chance that you have a trusted friend, that loves the dogs and the dogs love them, that doesn’t usually come to these house parties, that you could have them take the dogs for…like 1/3 to 1/2 of these parties?

      It’s specifically the detail of this being academia that I think you can’t just go “ah well, I’m sorry that these parties don’t work for you Paul.” There needs to be some level of socialization that occurs where the dogs aren’t a barrier, for the collegiality aspect of advancement in the workplace. I’m wondering if there could be, for example, a once/twice a semester potluck held within your department’s building(s), that has a lower anxiety cost to entry, and is in a space which by definition should be accommodating to the rest of the department. It might feel like asking a lot on the OP to set this up as well, but this might be the sort of thing you can bring up, get the ball rolling, and then ask if especially one of the regular guests to your party can take over the smaller amount of organization needed time to time.

      1. Beth*

        Having worked in academia, I think you’re overstating the “you can’t just say ‘sorry Paul, these parties have dogs'” thing. Yes, collegiality is important. Yes, there absolutely should be department gatherings where there aren’t dogs. But that doesn’t have to be on OP! OP isn’t the official social coordinator for the department–they’re just a person who invites peers over for dinner sometimes.

        Paul is absolutely capable of doing the same. Or he could invite people to lunch or happy hour, if he doesn’t feel up to hosting at home. He could organize an official department social hour, like the potluck idea you’re describing. He’s got choices here.

        Academia loves to tack on extra ‘service’ to people’s jobs. A lot of the time you do need to suck it up and do some of that, even though it’s not really compensated, for the sake of advancement and collegiality. But OP doesn’t owe Paul a situation where he gets to socialize without having to reckon with either dealing with dogs OR taking the initiative to plan. And they really shouldn’t assign themselves extra duties that probably won’t even be acknowledged, since this isn’t an official department event.

      2. Cake or Death*

        “— Our department does have once-a-semester big parties for the whole department plus family plus friends. Senior people (never me, I’m not at that level) host them, and they are publicly announced on the department listserv along with other relevant department social events. My open house is not publicized in that way, and I don’t use work email to communicate about it.

        — More than half the open house regulars have nothing to do with the university whatsoever (relatives of mine or my partner’s; friends outside the academy) so the vibe of the open house is not “why is this committee meeting taking place in Dog Prof’s home.””

    17. Justme, The OG*

      I have a very large dog and he’s always put away when someone new comes into the house. He’s in a room by himself and then usually sleeps on the couch until we let him out. He’s fine. I think Alison’s advice is off-base and the LW is being unkind.

    18. Underemployed Erin*

      I have seen a recruiter recommend that on LinkedIn people should put in something that does not have an end date as their most recent job. That could be “Freelance” or anything. The concern is that the people who are not currently doing something are filtered out by the various systems that employers use to search.

      That feels different from a recruiter changing a resume in this way.

    19. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

      Hospitality usually entails making an effort to make guests feel welcome and comfortable.

      The LW certainly can do want they want to in their own house, but they are not being hospitable to all of their guests.

      And being less friendly to Paul at work because he doesn’t like your pets as much as you do? That’s…honestly kind of gross.

      1. DataGirl*

        Yes, this is the part that makes me think the worst of OP, and think they are so infatuated with their pets that they are probably not seeing their dogs behavior realistically.

      2. MissElizaTudor*

        Where did LW say she’s being less friendly to Paul at work? I don’t see anything in the letter indicating that, just that she’s not trying to become his outside-of-work friend.

        1. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

          Good point — I read more into that than the LW said. Having re-read the letter, though, I still don’t love treating someone differently because they don’t love your pets as much as you do.

          Maybe the LW is able to be scrupulously professional and friendly at work, but functionally speaking, Paul gets less access to professional networking and relationshio-building opportunities because of an issue that is likely beyond his control.

          1. biobotb*

            Nope. If Paul wants those opportunities, he’s free to throw his own casual, department + outside friend events just like the OP is. She’s not stopping him from making connections to his coworkers.

          2. constant_craving*

            Eh, swearing at the dogs and trying to kick them is not likely fully beyond his control.

            People also keep talking about this as networking, but it’s a party LW throws for her friends and family. Half the guests aren’t work-related.

        2. H3llifIknow*

          Right. The LW commented here that she is still friendly with Paul at work, but she doesn’t want someone who kicked at her dog in her home again and that’s fair. She told Paul she had dogs, and he made the informed decision to attend the event. If he had a true phobia, he should have declined and said, “but I’d love to *insert other activity* sometime,” or something. He chose to go to a home he KNEW had “2 large dogs” there.

          1. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

            I’d rather not get into policing feelings like that. It doesn’t matter if he has a diagnosis from a medical professional or not; even something short of a “true phobia” can result in a lot of discomfort.

            He underestimated the size of the dogs or how uncomfortable he’d feel in their presence. That’s not that egregious an offense.

            Nor does it say anything about him kicking dogs.

            1. H3llifIknow*

              The OP stated he kicked at it. And notice my use of “if” … please don’t “police my language” like that, either. If he has discomfort around dogs it is on HIM to not go somewhere he’s been told “2 large friendly dogs and possibly others will be there” and he was told that and he chose to go and he chose to act rudely by KICKING at the dog.

    20. PhyllisB*

      I have this problem when I go to my daughter’s house. She has two large dogs, but they don’t they don’t really like outsiders. One of them barks his head off whenever I shift position, and the other one growls menacingly every time I move. I love dogs and don’t mind them sniffing me, kissing me or climbing in my lap, but hostility I can’t abide.
      It hurts my daughter’s feelings that we won’t come visit her, but this makes a very uncomfortable visit, and I realize it’s their home, so we don’t go.
      When we do come to town we ask her to come to us.

    21. Menace to Sobriety*

      Hey, I don’t like kids. I find them gross and sticky and sometimes they smell. Can you lock yours away for me when I come to your house? It’s only for a couple of hours and I’m sure they’ll survive being kept in a separate room for a few hours just fine.

      Those dogs LIVE there. Guests are forewarned of this. Guests who do not like dogs can politely decline the invitation. Hosts are not under an obligation to lock away people or pets who live in their home to accomodate ONE person who initially said they were FINE with it. It isn’t unkind. It IS unkind and presumptous to ask someone to accomodate YOU instead of a dozen other people who ARE fine with it instead of just ignoring the dogs and socializing with the people who ARE there. I guarantee with that many people the dogs aren’t in Paul’s space the entire time. He’s being entitled.

      1. House On The Rock*

        Paul reminds me of a former* friend who would invite himself over and then complain bitterly that his allergies were acting up because of our cats. If he came to group events at our house, he’d tell everyone there how uncomfortable he was because of his allergies. We put our cats away, cleaned as best we could, etc. And yet somehow we were always the ones inconveniencing him!
        *former for many reasons, but this didn’t help

    22. moholy*

      So wary because I have heard “sweet, well-trained, old” used to refer to an adult husky who would jump on people (with untrimmed nails), steal food off plates, and barrel through small children as if they didn’t exist.

      Everyone thinks their dog is trained & lovely.

      1. CommanderBanana*

        “Everyone thinks their dog is trained & lovely.”

        Not really. I love my dog beyond all reason. She’s also a barky, nippy, guard-y jerk and I am very clear to people that she’s a jerk, she’s always been a jerk, and she will always be a jerk.

    23. Fear9000*

      Big dog owners can be all kinds of uncharitable. As someone with a dog phobia that gets written off as “overreacting” or “unreasonable” I really feel for poor Paul here.

    24. HannahS*

      I disagree. It’s her house, and her dogs, and I don’t think she’s being unreasonable.

      Listen, I personally dislike dogs. I would never hurt one other than to protect myself, but I’d also be happy to never be around one again. I have no dog trauma; I find many dog owners optimistic and in poor control of their pets, who are animals and behave like animals.

      But…it’s not my house. She’s not the head of the department; there are no power games being played. This, to me, is not different than if one of my colleagues was a marathon runner and started a running group, or was an oenophile and started a wine tasting group. I have a physical disability that prevents me from running and I don’t drink. It’s ok for people to like what I don’t like. It’s not an equity issue, or even unkind, for my colleagues to bond over a shared interest that I cannot participate in. Paul is an adult. He is perfectly capable of inviting people to socialize at a coffee shop, or to join him for a walk. Single men can host dinner parties!

    25. foxglove*

      Oh for pete’s sake put the dogs in a bedroom for a couple of hours. You’ll all be fine. I bet there are others attending who would prefer they were not there also and have just been too polite to say it.

    26. Peanut Hamper*

      Yep, the dogs will survive just fine in another room for a couple of hours.

      And Paul will survive just fine staying home for a couple of hours.

    27. CommanderBanana*

      If someone needs dog-free socializing, it has to be outside of my house. Putting my small dog in a different room just means she’ll try tunneling through the door whilst howling which is more disruptive than her hanging out on my lap. I can’t “train her to be ok with it,” because she will never be ok with it, and I frankly don’t want to spend the time and cause the emotional distress of trying to make her ok with being separated from me on the off chance I might have someone over a few times a year. I think you are vastly overestimating how easy it is to train some dogs.

    28. Beth*

      This is the dogs’ home. They live here. They’re part of the family. OP doesn’t owe their guests a promise that they’ll lock away part of their family.

      If Paul, who is OP’s peer, wants dog-free socializing, he is absolutely capable of inviting everyone to a dog-free gathering. All OP did to kick this off was invite people over dinner one night! Paul is an adult and OP’s peer, and if he wants to socialize but doesn’t want to go to OP’s event, he’s fully capable of doing exactly what OP did when they were lonely.

  3. Sunny*

    OP#4 – I’d be livid if someone tampered with my resume in any way. It’s my name on it, not the recruiter’s. Definitely don’t work with this person again!

    I like Alison’s phrasing, and just pretending that he’s not aware of what they did. Otherwise, it does raise some awkward questions about why he didn’t correct it sooner, etc.

    1. Barrie*

      Recruiters do this a lot. I’ve personally had dates changed and even a whole job removed from my resume- all in the name of cutting down to 1 A4 page of text. Once I get an interview and have direct contact with a company I tend to resend a copy of my “real” resume just so they have the full picture of my experience (and I can’t be accused of lying!).

      1. Blackbeard*

        I’ve had recruiters padding my CV with technologies I did not have experience with but which were asked for in the job description.

        No need to say I do not work with these recruiters anymore.

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        Recruiters, stop doing this!!! I know personally of at least one person who didn’t get hired because their resume listed their job as current when it wasn’t true. I suppose I don’t know for sure that she *would* have been hired if not for that, but I do know that specifically took her out of the running.

      3. The Cosmic Avenger*

        I wouldn’t consider removing a job on the same level as putting down false information. Alison has said that you don’t have to include some things on your resume if they aren’t relevant, specifically jobs that aren’t recent and aren’t related to the one you’re applying for. I generally “only” go back 25 or 30 years on my resume, and I had a lot of different jobs during and right after college, so I’m leaving out quite a few things.

        And even if the job left off was more recent, IMO it’s not the same, as Alison has also said that short stints that don’t help you any more than having a gap can be omitted.

      4. Observer*

        I’ve personally had dates changed and even a whole job removed from my resume

        One is not like the other, though. Removing a job is not the end of the world. Changing a date *is* a problem. A BIG problem. A resume is not required to be an exhaustive accounting of everything you have ever done. But anything that *is* on the resume has to be true and accurate!

    2. B*

      This is why I never, ever send out my resume in Word format. Too hard to ensure no changes are made, even accidentally, like say the employer opens it, their cat jumps on the keyboard when they look away for a minute, and then they think the typos are your fault.

      Always PDF — PDF/A where possible. People can technically still mess with it but it’s a lot more difficult.

  4. Sunny*

    OP #2 – Wow, that is a ballsy move to basically try to steal your book earnings. Are they going to claim ownership over any time you talk about working in a library for the rest of your life? And just so disrespectful of the knowledge and expertise you’re bringing to this project, assuming your creative output belongs to them.

    Sorry to rant, but I’m a writer and this kind of thing really gets me going. Use Alison’s script and don’t give them another thought. Just yuck.

    1. Carlisle*

      Yeah, that’s ridiculous to think they have any right to your money. It’s not like you’re giving away proprietary information about secret library practices or something. I would ignore that suggestion.

      1. giggles*

        I formerly worked at a museum that revamped its ethics and conflict of interest policies while I was employed there. Under the updated policy, which all employees had to sign, any books that employees produced during their period of employment that related to the subject matter of the museum had to be declared as a possible conflict of interest, even if written on the employee’s own time. So as an employee of the teapot history museum, you wrote a book on your own time about the history of music boxes, there was no issue. But if you wrote a book on your own time about teapots, or tea drinking, or famous tea lovers, or any subject that touched on expertise you might potentially have gained by working at the teapot museum, you had to disclose it. The museum’s publishing department claimed first right of refusal for publication, and I believe there were terms related to how much compensation you could accept if they declined to publish it. My sense was they didn’t want staff members profiting from knowledge they gained at the museum, or cashing in on the museum’s prestige to earn more money as an author. (There were also clauses about disclosing any collecting or buying and selling of teapots and tea accessories you did, so as not to profit from your knowledge, or compete with the museum for great deals on pieces that you could recognize from expertise gained working at the museum.) This library may be acting under similar reasoning, that even if OP is writing this work on their own time, based more on research than experience, OP gains credibility as an author of this work through their status as a library employee, and indeed might not have had the opportunity to contribute if not a library staff member. I have no idea how legally enforceable such policies are. I sense, but do not know, that the more robust ethics policy at the teapot museum was related to accreditation in the field. I do know, however, that it created extreme bad will on the part of employees in a field who are compensated more in prestige than in money, and led to people putting personal projects on the back burner until they retired or moved on.

        1. Artemesia*

          This is particularly outrageous given the poor pay that people who work in museums get. I’d never sign this and would put off publication if my agent thought it was a potentially profitable book until I found another job.

        2. Letter Writer #2*

          Thanks for the info. I appreciate all the advice. I wasn’t sure how common this was, but it looks like it occurs sometimes – maybe mainly in museums.

          1. Lils*

            Librarian here. Your employer’s request is *wildly* out of step with library norms and the way the profession works. I’m astonished they demanded this, and your amount of experience gained through employment with them is irrelevant. Follow Alison’s advice and stick to your guns. And congrats on the book!

        3. MigraineMonth*

          This part makes my head spin: “they didn’t want staff members profiting from knowledge they gained at the museum”. I assumed that the purpose of museums was to spread knowledge, not to gate-keep it.

    2. Throwaway Account*

      I work in libraries and a coworker just finished a book about libraries. When she was writing it, we worked in a toxic and very defensive workplace. Even they did not say that the proceeds of her book should go to the library!!

      I’m appalled and you should follow Alison’s advice with a light heart.

      Also, congratulations!!

    3. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      > Are they going to claim ownership over any time you talk about working in a library for the rest of your life?

      I think the subtlety here though is that OP currently works there, and so is presumably writing about it in the present tense. It’s a fine line between “I work for library x” and still writing in your personal capacity, vs appearing to be writing as a representative of the org.

      I’m in tech and don’t know too much about academia, but an analogous situation in tech might be contributing to a book or a conference on technology x, which I use in my work with my current company, but I’m speaking about it in a personal capacity and appearing as “Captain dddd, person who knows about image recognition and has a lot of experience with it at company x which I’m about to talk about” rather than “Captain dddd, AI developer at company x, who works on their image recognition functionality”. And there would still be the impression that I am speaking on behalf of my company, or at least that they endorse the content.

      1. ferrina*

        If Legal had worries about LW being appearing as a representative of the library, they would address it differently than “give us your money”. They would have wording about how they could or could not use the library’s name in the product or promotional materials.

        “Give us money for the reputation you’ve leveraged as an employee of this organization, which you’ve leveraged to create a side project on your own time” makes no sense. It’s like the boss that asked for 20% of the salary from the OP’s last job (I’ll post a link to that in a reply)

      1. Marzipan Shepherdess*

        Well, as certain upcoming trials in Fulton County, GA will show, lawyers don’t always exercise good ethical or even common-sense judgment!

        In this case, however, since it WAS the legal department that came up with this “brilliant” idea, the LW should consult with a lawyer of their own just to make sure that all their own ducks are in a row, so to speak. It would be the height of irony if the LW simply ignored this outrageous clause only to be blindsided when the library started demanding LW’s royalties/fees for the book AND had legal standing to do so since the LW had never challenged that in the first place.

        1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          Definintely she should get her own lawyer to review it and the library’s ethics policies.

          Chief Moose of the DC Sniper case ran afoul of this when he wrote his book. Of course, his book was directly related to the Sniper case so it was more clearly related to his actual job experience.

          This one seems to be in a grey area. Its not directly about the OP’s current experiences, but some of the knowledge she gained to write the book could be related.

    4. happybat*

      I wonder if this varies by country – every teaching contract I ever had gives my employer the right to claim all work I do that is in any way connected to education. I’ve never heard of this right being exercised, but it is in the contract!

      1. Phryne*

        I work in education and we do have a clause that everything a guest lecturer or freelance teacher makes at our request for our programme and being paid to do that becomes our property so we can use the material again even with another teacher or lecturer… but the key words here are for us, at our request, and payed for it… None of which is the case in the situation above.
        We do not claim everything they do for themselves or other empoyers while they also happen to work for us, that would be very weird.

    5. Ellis Bell*

      Yeah I do think there are some opinions out there that writers are just pen-monkeys, and it’s the big idea behind it all that’s really important. I remember Bill Bryson writing something quite funny about all the letters he gets from people with book ideas, who want him to write said book and split the proceeds, even if he does 100 per cent of the writing, and the ideas are nothing new. At least they were willing for Bill to get half!

      1. MassMatt*

        I’ve known a few writers that have said this happens to them frequently. The people making the suggestion have no idea the amount of work it takes to write—not to mention edit, market, and promote.

        And: The ideas offered are usually trite or derivative.

    6. I'm just here for the cats*

      It’s especially odd if the OP also worked at other libraries and has a degree in library science. From their perspective then would every library they worked at have to get a cut?

    7. mf*

      Yeah, as a writer, this made me ragey. If the library wants you to donate the proceeds, they can pay you to write the book!

      1. AnonForThis*

        I work for the county government and also work as an election-day official for the city. I thought that I could volunteer with my designated volunteer hours, but I was denied because being an election worker was “too political”. Which is technically true but seems to completely miss the spirit of that rule.

        Instead, a couple of days a year I am paid minimum-wage as an election worker in addition to receiving my regular salary, then I am supposed to send the amount I earned working for the city to the county. I have no idea how to address the tax consequences of this weirdness.

    8. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I was wondering if the library wanted all the writers who ever researched anything at their library to also give them their profits. All of this is ridiculous, though. I do not donate the profits I make from being a freelance musician back to the non-profit I work for in my day job, nor do I donate any musician profits back to any of the actual music groups I play for. None of that would make any sense whatsoever.

    9. Michelle*

      My boss has authored and co-authored at least 4 books relating directly to our business/company (museum) and it’s never been hinted that he should donate his proceedings to the company. We are also a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

    10. Sara without an H*

      It sounds from the letter as though LW#2’s book project is clearly not work for hire, i.e., done as part of their job responsibilities. So I really don’t get where the library’s legal team is coming from in requiring that any profits be donated to the organization.

      My advice to LW#2 would be to find an attorney with some experience in intellectual property law and schedule a consultation. I’m not a lawyer, but I’d be willing to bet lunch money that the proposed agreement isn’t enforceable, and it might be worth it to be able to tell the library legal team that you’ve taken your own legal advice.

      What’s funny about the whole thing is that academic/professional books of this kind are rarely big money makers. So the amount of author compensation involved here is unlikely to make a real difference in anybody’s budget.

    11. RagingADHD*

      #2 – The legal team know perfectly well that they have zero right to any of your earnings. That’s why they used the words “ask” and “donate.”

      Lawyers don’t use words by accident.

      They are trying to make you feel obligated, knowing it is entirely false. This is, to my mind, even more shitty than if they were outright asserting a claim with questionable / possible merit.

  5. DottedZebra*

    Re: 1 dogs at the party: As someone who is scared of dogs because I was attacked by one (yes, one described as friendly and behaved), I really think the professor is being terribly insensitive.

    It would be kind to have one party out of the 12 without dogs. But you don’t have to, fine.

    But regarding the colleague negatively because they were frightened and unhappy about having your dogs all over them….that’s not fair at all and I hope you change your attitude.

    1. Happy meal with extra happy*

      I’m a dog owner; I love my dog, and my schedule tends to revolve around him to some degree (he does best with a set schedule, for better or worse). That being said, yeah, I think OP is being a bit over the top with not wanting to put their dogs in another room ever. If I’m having a get together with more than a couple people, my dog always winds up in a bedroom because it’s less stress on him, on me, and on my guests.

      1. No Yelling on the Bus*

        I don’t find it OTT to not want to shut your dog away (mine has severe anxiety and will shred anything he can reach if we do). But I do note a lack of compassion in the letter and think there are alternative solutions. FWIW I work in academia and the letter does sort of have a whiff of the dysfunction you find in environments where people are used to being Always Right

        1. NoOneWillSeeThisComment*

          I’m sorry, but my sister’s dogs go absolutely nuts if they’re not within 6 feet of her. This is not the dogs’ fault, it’s hers. It is NOT NORMAL, nor does it justify the really gross understanding some people here seem to have with dogs.
          I have a dog, he’s small and generally a well behaved gentleman. Except he also barks at the mailman (and any diesel engine that sounds like a mail truck) and dogs and sometimes old ladies walking by. He’s not aggressive, but he is scared. At the end of the day people love to pretend their dogs are perfect and somehow at the end of the day not an animal!
          We may treat them “like members of the family” but they are in fact not.
          I appreciate you for seeing through this and recognizing that OP is being less compassionate than they probably should be…but not ever considering separating the dogs is a shortcoming on behalf of the humans in charge of them.

          1. No Yelling on the Bus*

            That’s…. not really true. You can’t train phobias out of animals anymore than you can train them out of humans.

            It’s oddly dissonant to me that the pro-Paul camp here seem to understand Paul’s fear and the need to accommodate it, while simultaneously rejecting the idea you might need to accommodate similar fears in animals.

            My dog’s a rescue, he probably has whatever the dog equivalent of PTSD is, it’s well beyond normal anxiety. There is no amount of training that will change it – we have 2 professional trainers in the family.

            So I can’t agree with the comments here. I don’t know if this is the case for OP’s dogs, but there are certainly legitimate reasons you might not be able to shut your dogs away or train them to behave better.

            1. Always Tired*

              There has also been a lot of “put the dogs away” language like they are a book to be returned to the shelf not… a living creature who also calls the space home?

              I firmly believe the OP is in the wrong to think less of Paul for not liking dogs, but I also think they are in the right about not shutting their dogs away during an event that is already stated to be dog-friendly. There can be other events in public spaces or the homes of others that are no dogs allowed, it’s a simple solution. I have a cat. He is the light of my life, and I adore him. He also has free reign in my house (and before anyone comes after me, he is afraid of jumping on surfaces he can’t see, so he has never been on the kitchen counters nor is he welcome to) and I would not shut him away. I would, however, happily meet people outside my home over it.

      2. Lana Kane*

        The letter says it’s a stress on the dogs, which should be enough on its own but it also then becomes a stress on everyone else.

    2. PickledUnicorn*

      People’s definitions of well-behaved varies wildly as well so I’m very skeptical when people say it. Surely if they’re so well behaved then they will be fine to be locked out of the way for one night every few months.

      1. John Smith*

        I think we’re meant to take the OPs word in what they say and they’ve said the dogs are well behaved. If I was invited to someone’s home and there was something there that made me uncomfortable or even terrified, that’s on me and I would either put up with it or excuse myself. I would never expect the host to make changes for me in their own home – it would be a kindness if they did but it would not be unkind if they didn’t and expecting people to do so is plain rude. BTW, I’m not a dog lover.

        1. Molly Millions*

          I think the issue is, people have different comfort levels for normal friendly dog behaviour (e.g. even well-trained dogs will still shove their noses into awkward places). If a dog is bothering someone, the owner should take the initiative to correct them, because the guest might not know how.

        2. DataGirl*

          “I think we’re meant to take the OPs word in what they say and they’ve said the dogs are well behaved”

          The problem is a lot of owners think their dogs are well behaved but they are not. They think it is cute when their dogs jump all over people, lick them, put their laws on them, etc…. it’s not. I don’t care how friendly a dog is, that is not the same as well behaved. If the dogs are so poorly trained that they can’t be peacefully put in a room for a couple hours, they definitely aren’t well behaved.

          1. Ginny Weasley*

            “If the dogs are so poorly trained that they can’t be peacefully put in a room for a couple hours, they definitely aren’t well behaved.”

            This is such a generalized, “this is always true” statement, that is categorically not always true.

            My parents have a dog that has pretty big separation anxiety. He does not like to be alone. Trapping him in a room away from everyone would cause him to be pretty anxious, to scrape and claw at everything to get out, and just generally panic. HOWEVER, as long as he can see people he does none of the things you mentioned. He won’t jump on people, he won’t lick them if they don’t approach/pet him, and he doesn’t put his paws on people. He is the definition of well-behaved (like, he will sleep in his bed and ignore everyone through the whole party) but he would not be “well-behaved” or comfortable if shut away in a room.

            This could be exactly what OP is describing regarding her dogs and WE SHOULD TAKE HER AT HER WORD.

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        My dog is *mostly* well-behaved, but her only hurdle to passing the Canine Good Citizen test at the end of her obedience courses was that she couldn’t do the required separation from me part. I think it started because of working from home during covid. I could put her in a room for *part* of a party, but I certainly couldn’t leave her in there for the whole event or she’d scratch the door down.

        She also gets overly excited when people come over, so I take the edge off of her beforehand by taking her for some outside play time (ex. I hide treats in the grass in a wide area and let her snuffle-hunt for them; this takes her mental and physical energy down a notch). I finish up by leading her on a short, let’s-meander-into-the-house walk where she is rewarded for following me and focusing on me (basically just a zig-zag stop-start exercise where she gets a treat for sitting in heel every time I stop, and it primes her to focus on me so my job is easier when the guests arrive).

        During the visit, I continue to occasionally reward her for focusing on me; keep her in down beside me when people are sitting or eating; and have her follow me when we’re up and moving about. I try to keep it low-key so it my efforts to occupy her aren’t a focal point of the gathering, but I just let her know that her job is to pay attention to me and leave other people mostly alone.

        I don’t know if that would work for someone who is nervous of dogs like the co-worker is.

        1. Doctor Fun*

          I just want to say thank you — you sound like a really conscientious and empathetic dog steward. As someone with negative dog experiences, who dreads the attitude from many dog stewards who lack awareness of how bad they are at dog stewarding, I wish more were like you.

          (To head off the inevitable “that’s so much work” responses from indignant people… yeah, and? Taking proper responsibility for an animal actually isn’t supposed to be a cake walk.)

        2. Dona Florinda*

          Those are really great tips, I’ll try them! One of my dogs has a similiar problem — she’s fine being home alone and even being in another room as long as she can reach me, but closing the door (regardless if it’s me or her that’s being locked in) is an invitation to chaos and havoc.

        3. Violet Sorrengail*

          I love this! We have a 10.5 month old lab puppy and we do similar things when guests are here. Exercise and training before to get her energy out. Then she is crated in the same room as guests so she can smell them and settle a little before interacting. Once she says hi we recall her back to us and give her a kong or another toy to keep her attention away from guests. She does still try to jump on guests which is not ok so we are working really hard to correct that behavior and if she doesn’t settle down she goes back in her crate.

          For this particular instance I think it would be kind to make 1 out of however many instances dog free. Perhaps once a month? Even if you just put them away for the first hour and then let them out. But, your house, your rules. I love my dog and would quite literally die for her, but I also understand sometimes she needs to be kept away if people are over that aren’t comfortable with dogs. This ensures my guests comfort and my dogs safety.

      3. AngryOctopus*

        My cat is well-behaved. If I have people over into the house and lock him up, he’ll scream at the door constantly. This is not an exaggeration, I had the bathroom redone and he had to stay in the spare room during the day while workmen went in and out. They told me he screamed at the door all day, day after day. And he’s in that room to keep him safe, so he won’t run outside! I’m not going to stress him like that when I don’t have to (people over for a party). If you’re then afraid of cats in any way, that’s going to be on you, sorry. Especially since in this situation, LW invites work people, but it’s not a work party. They invite others they know from various walks of life. It’s a purely social event they enjoy hosting for a wide circle of friends. Paul cannot make it his ONLY touchpoint to the outside world.

      4. Rikki Tikki Tarantula*

        Indeed. In my experience, there can often be a big difference between how well-behaved the owner says the dog is and how well-behaved the dog actually is. Just the other week a dog lunged, snarling at me, and the owner says, “Don’t worry, he’s friendly.” If that’s friendly, I’d hate to see unfriendly.

    3. Not A Manager*

      I would be more sympathetic to DottedZebra if the LW hadn’t warned Paul in advance about the dogs. I think Paul had an opportunity beforehand to ask for them to be locked up, or to agree to meet elsewhere.

      LW is being a bit precious about his dogs, but I just don’t see that he has any obligation to stop being precious about them to accommodate one person in a casual, open-house situation.

      1. KateM*

        Paul hadn’t realized the extent those dogs were attending the event and didn’t want to cause waves?
        We once had a guest who came with their dog, he was quite angry at the coworker who had said oh I’m sure dogs welcome when he learned that one of your kids is allergic, he kept his dog outside only, dog was on leash and sat under his chair most of time. Maybe Paul imagined something similar, instead of freely mingling dogs sniffing at guests (and their food?).

        1. Wes*

          If we assume that’s what happened, Paul lost my sympathy completely when he asked to come to a second party, agreed that he knew the dogs would be free roaming AND THEN TEXTED LATER asking OP to shut the dogs away (and ask other guests not to bring their dogs). The audacity of this dude! Plan your own events instead of asking other people to adapt theirs.

          1. So Tired*

            So you lost respect for someone because they took a moment to think of how to phrase a request??? Some people have an easier time asking things if they can write it out and look it over. This is extremely harsh.

            1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

              So you lost respect for someone because they took a moment to think of how to phrase a request???

              I’m pretty sure that’s not the part that @Wes has an issue with, but that (some? many?) people consider the request unreasonable in the first place.

          2. ferrina*

            Yeah, Paul’s request was the part that raised my eyebrow. It sounds like LW was clear that this is a party where dogs are welcome. If that’s not your jam, skip the party. The dogs are part of the party. You don’t say you’ll be happy to go to karaoke night if no one sings. You don’t get the set the conditions of a friend’s part. I don’t judge Paul for having a strong reaction to the dogs- I think Paul is pretty normal for that. Plenty of people are scared of or very uncomfortable around dogs. That’s not a character flaw. Asking someone else to change the theme or rules for their party isn’t a great look though. Just decline (bonus points if you can gracefully say “Thanks, but I’ve got a fear of dogs. Sounds like this party isn’t the right place for me, but I’d love to hang out with folks some other time!”).

            That said- can LW do a second, smaller event that Paul can participate in? It sounds like Paul might not yet have the social connections to host his own event, so if LW can do a low-lift social gathering, that would be a kindness (maybe happy hour or tapas after work?).

          3. Dona Florinda*

            Yeah, I agree. I’m sympathetic to Paul’s phobia, but asking the host to not only lock her dogs away but also disinvite other dogs (it seems like other guests enjoy the opportunity for a dog playdate) is a bit much, especially since it looks like OP invites other people as well, not just coworkers.

        2. Birch*

          That’s still Paul’s problem and not OP’s. If Paul mis-estimated his own comfort level, ok that happens, but it’s not on other people to fix that for him. He caused way more waves by making this mistake and then making demands of OP than if he would have if he’d just had a conversation with OP beforehand about possible options to socialize. I don’t think we can judge if his response was rude or terrified or how much control he had over himself at that time, but when he realized it was a problem he should have removed himself from the situation, not make demands on OP.

      2. Fierce Jindo*

        I don’t think the LW needs to lock up their dogs (I wouldn’t lock up mine in this situation), but I thought they were really lacking in empathy regarding the dinner. They can’t understand why Paul would feel awkward declining dinner at someone’s home and tried to tough it out?

        Note that LW judges Paul for asking too LITTLE the first time AND ALSO for asking too much now. That Goldilocks attitude to another person is unkind.

        1. JSPA*

          It’s the timing. You don’t first say “yes,” then say “but.” The time for a conditional acceptance is when you’re accepting. “I’d love to, but I’m apparently not as okay with dogs as I thought I was. Any chance I could text you from outside, and have 20 dog-free minutes to acclimate, to say hi, then meet them in a more controlled way, and see if I can manage better this time” is problem-solving. “I realize I prefer to have my choice of party, but in your house” is entitlement.

          1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

            “I’d love to, but I’m apparently not as okay with dogs as I thought I was. Any chance I could text you from outside, and have 20 dog-free minutes to acclimate, to say hi, then meet them in a more controlled way, and see if I can manage better this time”

            This sounds like a great solution!

      3. KC*

        This suggests to me that Paul didn’t know what he was getting into– perhaps the dogs were larger or more rambunctious than he was expecting. Probably the best solution is just to do some events elsewhere, but it might be good practice going forward to be more forthcoming about the dogs and their behavior.

        I like dogs just fine, but sometimes”very friendly” dogs can be hard to tolerate, especially if they do a lot of licking, pawing, or crotch sniffing. I feel for Paul! I sometimes have a weird effect on dogs that makes them act crazy, and being written off as rude for asking an overly friendly dog to be restrained does feel uncharitable.

        1. Wes*

          I felt bad for him about the first party because maybe he really thought he could tolerate the dogs. Inviting himself to the second party and asking them to change it is where I lost all compassion for the guy.

          1. Allonge*

            I don’t know – it sounds like the parties OP hosts are open invite, and Paul asked if it would be possible to have one without dogs. It’s not that outrageous (except maybe in strong ‘guess’ cultures).

            1. Captain Vegetable ( Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

              But the open invite is key- because this party is one where invitations aren’t issued, other dogs will randomly show up with their people. He’s asking her to change the format of the party, which is a huge ask. “Put away your dog’s, widely advertise that no one else should bring a dog, and kick out anyone who does bring a dog but didn’t get the notice (because of the open and casual nature of the event previously)” is a huge ask.

            2. Billy Preston*

              Yeah, it seemed like an ok request. And I don’t get why people are so offended he asked. He asked, OP can say no. No need to be upset either way.

            3. Beth*

              I can’t imagine any culture where it’s polite to say “I know you invited me to event X, but I don’t like X. Can you host event Y instead, at your house and with your labor? I don’t want to do the work.”

    4. Free roaming pet snakes*

      I don’t think the LW1 is regarding the colleague negativity because they were frightened and unhappy about the dogs – it is because LW clearly stated that there will be those dogs and that they will definitely not be locked away and Paul failed to know his own comfort level well enough to stay away, or ask beforehand if it’s possible to lock the dogs away, or instead suggest dinner elsewhere, or….

      Instead Paul showed up and put LW on the spot to find a solution and caused a stressful situation for LW, where LW had to decide to send Paul home, to lock the dogs away or to find another solution. That was very impolite of Paul.

      The amount of people here in the comments being outraged about somebody clearly stating BEFOREHAND that there will be dogs (and in case of the open house parties not just LW’s dogs) and daring to throw parties like that is absolutely baffling.

      LW gives enough information so people can opt-in if those party circumstances suit them, dogs are just another circumstance.
      What if LW would indeed lock his dogs away but a guest would be severely allergic to dogs – nobody would be outraged if LW wouldn’t hire a professional deep-cleaning crew to find every last dog hair.
      What if LW announced to play only Heavy Metal to his open house parties and somebody knowingly shows up and demands LW to play something else? Exactly – that’s rude!

      Just because some people’s neurochemistry sees dogs as a big danger doesn’t mean that they can first ignore any warnings of the dog danger and then be pissed that indeed the animal that their brain recognizes as a threat is also a guest at the party.

      You have free roaming pet snakes in your house? Thanks for the info, I’ll be elsewhere!

      1. Glen*

        you… think that “exactly how big and discomforting the dogs are to a person scared of dogs” is something that can be communicated with such absolute precision that Paul couldn’t possibly have been genuinely mistaken?

      2. Glen*

        I would also point out that at no point is he described as “pissed”. Only terrified. I think it is incredibly unkind to assume he knowingly put himself in a greatly distressing situation to, what, cause the letter writer an inconvenience?

    5. Open Window*

      Caveat: I completely agree that OP can do whatever they like while in their own home.

      I’m allergic to dogs so I avoid them even on the streets. The number of people who wildly underestimate the gregariousness of their dogs is astounding. I’ve told people I’m allergic and they respond with “It’s OK; he’s friendly,” and allow the dog to approach me and attempt to do what dogs do. I’ve had to detour into the street and it appears very rude, but my safety comes first. If someone invites me to their home, I must ask if they have dogs first so I can plan around that.

      OP, please be very clear when you send invitations that you have two very large, gregarious dogs that will be out at all times (dog lovers will be ecstatic; others will know to self-select out). Also, please be very clear with yourself that if you have colleagues who fear dogs or are allergic to dogs, you’re essentially cutting them off socially if you only plan events in your own home. It’s not equitable. You can do whatever you like in your home, but please consider holding events occasionally outside your home if you truly want to connect with everyone; otherwise you will be just establishing a clique.

      As for Paul, he may have been assuming the absolute best when he agreed to visit you. If you did not tell him that you would allow the dogs to jump on him, smell him, and be uncontrolled, that fact could very well could have triggered his phobia.

    6. lunchtime caller*

      I agree with this, I know dogs who can destroy a room if they’re too anxious so to me it’s very fair to not want to shut them away, but it’s also fair for a colleague to not have enjoyed the experience around them. If he’s generally a colleague you like then perhaps offer the occasional coffee etc, but otherwise if people don’t enjoy your parties they can throw their own.

    7. Introvert girl*

      I’m neurodivergent. I normally never go to parties as crowds of people make me uncomfortable. But dogs on the other hand calm me down. If I was working with LW 1 and she would invite me to her house the way she did her coworker, I would probably go, knowing dogs would be there. When I would get overstimulated, I would be able to go and hang out with the dogs.
      You see, there are a lot of different people, with different quirks, there will always be someone who will feel uncomfortable with something.

    8. Mermaid of the Lunacy*

      I am uneasy around dogs (attacked by one three years ago, which didn’t help matters.) But I can understand people want to let them roam free at their own house. I try not to let my phobia become a problem for my hosts. If I’m that worried about it, I just shouldn’t be at that party.

      All that said – if your dog is becoming a problem for me, even if it’s being “too friendly” I’m not going to put up with that. “Oh boy! No no no, don’t do that to me!” “No, you can’t have my food, go beg someone else!” (nudge dog away with my leg) “Yes, you’re very cute. Go see someone else now!” Usually the hosts get the picture and will call the dog away when it gets too close to me. And if they don’t, I just ask if they can do something to stop the behavior.

      If a host’s child was climbing on me or trying to eat my food or demanding my attention when I was trying to talk to other guests, I would expect the hosts to redirect that child so I could enjoy myself. It should be no different for dogs.

  6. Lurker*


    In museums, for example, if someone is asked to speak on a panel, or give a lecture due to their job position and/or knowledge from their job museums will often expect any honorariums be donated (or paid directly) to the museum. This is for lectures that are given outside of work hours, or during business hours. Since LW2# specifically says there are some facets of their job being discussed in the book, it doesn’t strike me as that odd to ask that at least some of the compensation be donated/paid to the library. But asking for all the compensation is a stretch.

    1. Fierce Jindo*

      Wow! I’m a university professor and we certainly don’t have this norm even though all our lectures are in some sense because of our job. We have a very entrepreneurial mindset about our work products, for better and worse. (It’s different—VERY different—if the research might result in a patent, though.)

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Sorry if this is derailing, but one of my Computer Science professors was strongly encouraged by the college to patent their new machine-learning algorithm. However, the person hired to write the patent application seemed to think it was a physical machine (rather than a computer algorithm) and tried to patent all the screws and bolts.

    2. Throwaway Account*

      That is … very strange and probably a museum habit that should change. It is not typical in libraries although they also tend to suffer from the same vocational awe that other non-profits suffer from.

    3. Molly Millions*

      I would guess, in a situation like the one you describe, the panelist would be relying on research/documents/resources from the museum for their presentation, which is different from sharing best practices from personal observation (which is what the LW seems to be doing).

      1. Lurker*

        Not necessarily. You could be asked to be a speaker because you’re an expert on Italian Renaissance (just making up an example), but the talk isn’t related to any specific research you’re doing for a museum. But you were asked because of your knowledge of that period *and* your affiliation with the museum.

        IME, Employee Handbooks generally outline what type of payments are expected to be donated and what kind aren’t. Like if you worked in the AV department at a museum, and were asked to do AV for a friend’s party that payment is fine to keep for yourself. But if you were asked to do a talk on AV in exhibitions because the museum you work for is know to have the best AV in the industry, then payment might need to go to the museum. (Again, this is just an example.)

    4. AnotherLibrarian*

      I have heard of being asked to decline honorariums if they are being offered by companies with which my university does business ie: you can’t accept an honorarium to speak at a Ebsco event if you do business with Ebsco (or ever might). I don’t know how wide spread this is in museums, but the policy at my public uni evolved do avoid issues with the state’s ethics rules. Either way, writing a book on personal time using the professional expertise developed over many years stopped being your employer’s business the moment they decided you could not use work time for it, as far I’m concerned.

    5. Overnight Oats*

      wow, I did not know this. as a university faculty member in the US (State University) I am required to report compensation or remuneration that I receive for speaking engagements, books, consulting, etc. as potential conflict of interest. Those duties cannot supersede my work duties and there are definite rules governing my requiring my students to buy my books, for example. But there is no expectation that I will donate my income from speaking engagements or book sales or consulting to the university. That might be a condition set up for a particular situation to mitigate conflict of interest, but it would be very unusual.

    6. eeeeeeee*

      In that case, the prep time and/or talk would likely be on work hours, their affiliation with the museum would be part of the conversation, etc. This wouldn’t be the case if they were speaking on their topic of expertise in their role as, for example, a consulting expert in a side-hustle. (Assuming, of course, that their museum is okay with side hustles, there’s no conflict of interest, etc.)

      The librarian’s work is trying to have their cake and eat it too. Either she’s allowed to use work time for this project, and her employer is therefore entitled to proceeds, or she’s not. In which case, they’re not.

    7. ferrina*

      I’m not familiar with museum industry, in my industry, sometimes the expectation is that you will give talks as part of your role. It may occur in business hours or at odd hours (we are non-exempt, and there are times when we are required to work an evening or weekend). We often work on the material during working hours. I’m not sure what the rule is with honoraria- I’ve never been compensated extra for the talks I’ve given. It’s considered to be part of my role and what I’m already compensated for. It’s also often affiliated with the organization- i.e., I’m there both as an individual expert but also with my organization in the limelight and as a pseudo-representative of that organization.

      In LW2, writing a book is not a normal part of their job and not included in their compensation. Legal expressly forbids them from working on it during their working hours. So- LW is supposed to work on it in their free time, not leverage organizational resources, and still give their pay to the organization? I’m not a librarian either, but this seems bonkers- the company gets no risk, no investment, but all the reward.

    8. mf*

      The difference here I think is that speaking or giving lectures is typically a part of your job in certain museum positions. Producing a book is NOT a part of your job when you’re a librarian, and it’s not something that the LW is doing on behalf of the library.

    9. Missy*

      I actually suspect that the donation is less because their expertise is from the museum but in an attempt to skirt around any rules about outside employment. I work for state government. If I want to work for compensation at all outside of my business hours I need to get permission from the head of the agency before I can even start working. Technically this would include if I babysat for someone and accepted money. I wonder if OPs workplace has a similar rule and legal is worried that they began this before permission, but think they can get around it if the money is donated (and therefore there is no compensation). It doesn’t mean that is the only solution, only that there may be more hoops to jump through because of a rule like this about any outside employment/compensation. The fact that they work in a library and it is a book might make it more difficult because then legal is going to have to somehow guarantee that even though Teapot Publishers paid them money the library isn’t going to buy more books from Teapot Publishing.

      As a lawyer I would assume this request from legal was more of a way for them to avoid a potential headache bypassing any question of compensation. I’d ask specifically if there would be any reason why you couldn’t keep the compensation yourself and what procedures would have to be in place. (For example, maybe you would have to recuse yourself from any position that makes purchasing decisions for 5 years).

    10. Artemesia*

      Yikes. Given the crappy pay museums provide, this strikes me as outrageous. It ought to be considered a perk of their job. In Academia people often have fairly low salaries but are also allowed to consult or publish and benefit from that. The conflict of interest policies are very explicit about what might be disallowed, but most private efforts for pay are expected and allowed. (at my university you could work X% of your time on your consulting or whatever)

    11. ariel*

      I work in the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, museums) field and have heard of government employees not being allowed to accept compensation, but never a private non-profit. OP2, I hope the language that Alison suggests works, because this sounds like side hustle work more than an extension of your specific position! I hope your org is reasonable. It may help to check with others in your area about if they’re required to donate back their payments for publishing.

  7. Jennie*

    #1 – Your dislike of Paul comes across strongly in your letter. Mentioning that you consider him “socially awkward” is just cringeworthy. You have big dogs, and it’s your house and your rules, I get that. But sometimes we need to show a little compassion. Not everyone feels comfortable when dogs approach them. I’ve personally had more than one large dog jump on me as their owner says “Oh, he’s just SUPER friendly and loves everyone” as I’m trying to get their dog off my shoulders. Our friends who have dogs have many different ways of handling house guests that don’t involve locking their dogs up in separate rooms, including keeping them on a leash that you’re holding on to until things quiet down and your dog is ready for a nap.

    1. Happy meal with extra happy*

      The number of times I’ve waited or turn around while walking my dog because someone else has their dog off leash…. “Oh, he’s friendly!” Well, that’s great, but my dog’s not!

      (He’s great with people but can be leash reactive/aggressive with other dogs, so he only gets to have people friends, which I’m perfectly fine with.)

      1. theothermadeline*

        Both of these are valid points for surprise situations, which is not the case in this letter. I may have an open house and send out a notification for it to my whole workplace, and if someone who I am not close with and particularly tied to asked me to do something that inconvenienced and stressed a member of my family just so they would attend, I’d say I’m sorry but that’s not possible let’s get together another time.

      2. Lilo*

        There’s no worse phrase than “Don’t worry, he’s friendly”. I had an owner say that to me after their giant dog jumped on me and left my work clothes all muddy. Jumping can also be super dangerous, my grandma was knocked down by a dog and broke her hip, which, like many older people who suffer falls, was the beginning of complication after complications that caused her serious decline. So if these dogs are Jumping that’s a huge issue.

        1. JSPA*

          All of this is way off topic, though.

          “why someone could reasonably not be comfortable around large dogs, despite the fact that these dogs are used to being at parties around small children and frail elderly family members” that’s not relevant to the question.

          If it were hedgehogs, or butterflies, or cats, or canaries, or for that matter, girl scouts selling cookies, the answer would be the same. You’re told “[x] will be present and engaging with the guests”? Make your decision on that basis.

        2. IneffableBastard*

          I am so sorry about your grandma! People should be more mindful about their animals.

          My own mother rehomed a puppy she had adopted against my advice. The dog knocked her down and she realized that she does not have strength or energy to take care of an energetic dog anymore. The puppy had stayed with her for just a few weeks and now lives with a family full of young, capable people who are experienced dog tutors and will train her properly.

          About the clothes, I remember that when I was a teen I had a white fleece jacket with silver buttons that I loved. Fleece was a novelty in my country, and that jacket was gorgeous. I visited a classmate, they let their dog jump all over me, and even after washing, my jacket was ruined.

          I am a dog lover, I’ve had several dogs, but letting dogs jump on people is a big NO.

        3. Mister_L*

          Re: There’s no worse phrase than “Don’t worry, he’s friendly”. Ever heard (literal translation from my native language): “He just wants to play”? Usually used in roughly the same situation.

    2. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      It’s unfair to dislike someone for being afraid of dogs.
      However, the impression of Paul being “socially awkward” could well be accurate – we are supposed to believe OPs.

      Paul is also trying to ban all other guests from bringing dogs, which could prevent other coworkers from coming if their dog can’t be left alone for hours.

      A guest should not try to dictate the terms of a party when attendence is totally optional.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I read the mention of social awkwardness as being connected to the rest of the sentence: “Paul is pretty socially awkward, he is recently divorced, and I think he’s trying to make an effort to get out of the house more and make more friends.” To me that all reads like part of an explanation that Paul has cause to be making a particular effort to be social right now, not something intended to be pejorative.

      1. Crazy Horse*

        Hi, Alison! Because today’s comment section has become so polarizing and unruly, I’d like to request that you might possibly cull through the comments and post the OP’s further postings and responses from down here in the comment section on a different independent blog post of its own. OP’s additional comments add so much needed context to the situation but most people will never see them because they are buried under hundreds of other comments and sub threads. If everyone DID see and read the OP’s additional comments, it would go a long way toward eliminating the quite literally hundreds of comments and derailings that are completely missing the mark and causing people to waste so much time and energy typing these long essays that are rendered totally irrelevant or untrue when presented with the complete context of the situation. It would also allow us as readers interested in the comments to not waste so much of our own time wading through the ones that are, as the OP rightly calls them, “fan fiction” that have nothing to do with the issue at hand. Too many people are using this comment section to chastise the OP and throw all kinds of ridiculous speculative scenarios out into the mix that become even more outlandish given the additional context and actual reality of the OP’s situation. This is not helpful to the OP and is a huge waste of time for everybody, while also unfairly hijacking the comment section away from the other letter writers whose own questions are being steam rolled by the whole dog debate.

    4. hbc*

      It sounds like OP is being *more* compassionate because of Paul being socially awkward. If he was a social butterfly, I doubt OP (or any of the commenters) would be worried that he only goes to 17 events a month rather than 18 because of the dynamics of OP’s household.

      1. Heather*

        No amount of compassion for the socially awkward will ever be sufficient for the consensus of this comment section.

      2. learnedthehardway*

        If this is the OP being MORE compassionate, I would hate to see what his level of empathy is for the average neurotypical person with a dog phobia.

        Not very impressed with the OP, honestly. If you can’t or won’t contain your animals, make that super clear in your invitations so people can opt out. Phobias aren’t something people can control.

        (My youngest sister has a phobia of dogs. When she was a teen, she BEAT UP our middle sister for not getting a dog away from her, while in a panic over a dog that was completely friendly. She didn’t mean to do it, and she felt awful afterwards, but her fight/flight/freeze instinct took over, and she fought. You can’t reason with someone who is panicking.)

        1. Observer*

          If you can’t or won’t contain your animals, make that super clear in your invitations so people can opt out. Phobias aren’t something people can control.

          Well, the OP *did* make it clear. So, even without the additional detail that Paul actually swore and *kicked* at the dogs, means that the OP is in the clear here. Adding that detail? I’m not a dog person, and my default reaction would probably be along the lines of “Well it’s your house, so your rules. But the nice thing to do would be to confine your dogs.” For a guy who *knew* about the dog and the reacted that badly? Nope. And he never even apologized or acknowledged that he did not handle things well.

          You don’t have to be a dog person to understand that there is a limit. And Paul has faaaar exceeded that limit.

          and she felt awful afterwards,

          That’s one of the problems here. Paul does NOT seem to care or feel badly about his behavior.

        2. Usurper Cranberries*

          Excuse me? How on earth is telling people that your dogs will be there and inviting them to bring their dogs as well not clearly stating that dogs will be present and loose? You are going out of your way to invent ways that the letter writer is wrong, while complaining that they lack compassion.

  8. No Yelling on the Bus*

    LW #3 – I am not permanently remote for the same reasons but we’re hybrid and I was missing more days in office, then more meetings, and was worried people would have questions…. Then I passed out in a staff meeting (fainting is one of my symptoms). After that, people were like, “Oh dear lord please DO NOT COME INTO WORK” I tell people I need to lie down if I want my brain to work (the truth), and that I can function fine that way but things get tricky if I have to sit/stand. We have a very supportive office culture so maybe the script would be different in a more Autobot Not Human type of job.

    Thank GOODNESS for flexible work arrangements. My brain is my job, my entire job, and it works fine when I’m horizontal but not so great when I am vertical. I am thankful to have a job that really values my brain, whatever state it needs to be in to work.

    1. LRL*

      I’m curious, No Yelling on the Bus, about your experience with nosy coworkers.

      In my experience, Alison is greatly underestimating people’s curiosity about personal information! I’m also permanently remote and saying “oh, I’m permanently remote due to a medical accommodation” seems to be taken as an invitation to review my medical records.

      1. Mangled Metaphor*

        Nosy people gonna nosy.
        it’s almost as if a little information is too much.
        “Not something I’m prepared to discuss” tells them nothing. They go away completely dissatisfied, but have nothing else to work with.
        “A medical accomodation” gives them a nugget, and now they want more!

        Personally, I’d stick to the first wording.
        (or, depending on the devil in me, go full tray of raspberry puddings and say “Oh, I’m fully remote because my dragon needs round the clock attention and the leopard can’t be trusted in the kitchen alone!”. YMMV…)

        1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          Nosy gonna nosy is exactly right.
          But that doesn’t mean you have to indulge it. If someone starts querying further, you return akward to sender. I am not interested in discussing that. If they keep pushing you state explicitly you are not going to discuss it and they need to stop.

      2. I'm just here for the cats*

        Yeah, I think regardless of what the OP says, whether its a medical issue or says something bland, if someone is that nosy they are just going to be nosy no matter what.

        I think the OP could just say I’m 100% remote. And if someone pushes back then they can say “it’s an accommodation.” And if there’s any further issues they can say “I’m not talking about this anymore. If you have concerns or questions about working remote yourself please talk to boss.” and then immediately end the conversation and send email to the boss.

      3. No Yelling on the Bus*

        I don’t have nosy coworkers, believe it or not (we’re like, really good at boundaries, and it’s amazing). But I do think the comments here about “nosy gonna nosy” are probably right. I do know people personally who insist they need to know WHY if we expect them to accept something, which is garbage reasoning.

        I think in the instances that have toed the nosy line, I’ll say something like, “I have to be camera-off while accommodating a medical condition, [supervising executive] is in the loop and we agreed this is the best plan.” Making a nod to the higher-ups usually helps to shut down any tendency for people to swerve outside of their own lane.

        But I also am in the camp of “I don’t owe an explanation to anybody” (except my boss and direct reports, or close collaborators I have a good relationship with). So as a general rule, people know that I would have already told them if they needed to know. There’s a real tendency when chronically ill (or maybe just ill) to feel like you need to EXPLAIN, because it feels like a moral failing and you need to correct the record, but you don’t. If it’s a GENUINE problem, somebody will address it with you and then your obligation is to minimize disruption to the workflow or work environment.

        “Hey – you’re off camera a lot lately and it’s not a good look for our client meetings, would you mind being camera on?”
        “Let’s chat offline about that” and then maybe, if it’s really an issue, somebody else does your client meetings and you do the email follow up.

        Barring that, I think Alison has really good advice on tone. If your tone is “No worries! It’s all under control!” for the most part people don’t ask more. Again, your obligation is to minimize disruption to the workflow or work environment. If you’ve already done that and your supervisor signed off, they don’t have a right to further info.

  9. Balto the Wonder Siberian*

    The one twist is that academia can be a very political place, and OP says that Paul often agrees with him on questions facing the department. He probably needs Paul as an ally. That is particularly true if OP is untenured and will, when up for tenure, be judged on collegiality.

    So even though it is terribly unfair to the dogs, and even though Paul is acting churlishly towards the dogs, and even though I don’t trust people who dislike dogs, I would probably accommodate Paul once a year. I certainly agree with Alison that OP should take Paul out to a nice dinner.

        1. Fierce Jindo*

          Right? I don’t mean that pejoratively, just… I’m recently tenured myself, and you carry yourself differently. OP has been tenured for a long time.

    1. Fierce Jindo*

      Re: not trusting people who dislike dogs: I live in a neighborhood with many immigrants from places where dogs are wild, not pets. Many are very afraid of my lovely beast. Judging them for that would seem remarkably crappy on my part.

      1. Prunella*

        Yep. That’s like saying: “They have a fear of heights. I don’t trust them.”

        Fear of dogs is often a lesson learned. Don’t mock that. Don’t take it personally.

        1. Prunella*

          On second read-through, the dislike seems more suited towards the demands he put on OP’s second invitation. I can understand that. It would have been better with a conversation where he explained that he misjudged his own reaction to the dogs, but that he enjoyed the rest of the party and was wondering if OP sometimes had dog-free parties he could attend. Another commenter suggested one dog-free room and I think that sounds like a good compromise but I don’t know how that could be enforced. A permanently closed door also keeps people out.

          1. Glen*

            the LW explicitly describes him as being rude about interacting with the dogs, while he was terrified of them, at the party. Pretty sure that’s where the dislike stems from and it’s pretty impressively shitty if so.

            1. Ticotac*

              Based on other comments, Paul’s being rude was shouting and kicking the dogs when they came over to sniff him.

      2. LifeBeforeCorona*

        When my daughter was 4 she was chased and bit by a large dog and it took years for her to get over her fear of them. She eventually married a man who owned a Rottweiller who decided that she was the best thing to ever happen to both of them.

      3. Ellis Bell*

        It’s pretty unlikely that those neighbors would claim to be all cool with dogs at a party in advance though? Saving the terror for the most inconvenient moment? Or that they would feel able to make suggestions about what is possible to do with dogs at future parties? When people have no experience, and no ability to be around dogs it is a much more clear cut scenario. This is a more unfortunately murky situation were Paul didn’t realize he was out of his depth until it was too late. He also doesn’t really understand what is/isn’t possible or pleasant for OPs household, which is fair, why would he? But misunderstandings breed awkward sauce. OP is best embracing clarity from this point on: “I can do x, not y”.

      4. Totally Minnie*

        Yeah, as someone who is uncomfortable around large dogs, it’s really disheartening to hear people say they don’t trust me because of that when they know literally nothing else about me.

      5. Ticotac*

        In another comment LW1 said that Paul tried to kick the dogs and shouted at them because they came over to sniff him

    2. Molly Millions*

      Considering the LW seems very well-liked, I was also concerned that Paul might end up frozen out if his colleagues pick up on any chilliness towards him (“Should we include Paul in this lunch?” “No, it would be awkward because LW will be there”). Which wouldn’t be fair, over something so minor.

      It’s not a character flaw to be uncomfortable around animals – phobias/allergies/traumas are often entirely out of a person’s control, and what LW saw as hostility might have just been a lack of knowledge on how to interact with a dog.

      1. Rose*

        There’s no indication what so ever the OP would freeze Paul out. She’s debating changing her party for him which would be inconvenient for her and some of her guests. All this fan fiction about OP being meaner than she actually is is not helpful.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        The OP posted above, and not only they are on the same level, OP is not in any kind of senior position, Paul even has some seniority on her for the length of work.

        1. No Yelling on the Bus*

          Yeahhhhh but likability matters a ton in academic departments. They’re deeply insular work environments, like a traditional clan-structured society as opposed to a modern day democracy. So the seniority almost doesn’t carry as much weight as being (A) incredibly good at bringing in funding, which can make people borderline untouchable or (B) being really popular with your colleagues.

      2. biobotb*

        Removed — please see rule at top.

        Those are you who are ignoring “please stop at 6” and going way beyond that (I’ve seen some with 20+ comments), I’m removing a bunch of your comments to get you down closer to 6 when I see it. – Alison

    3. Doctor Fun*

      Thank you for being an example I can point to for deeper definition when I say that I actually have no problem with dogs themselves… it’s the fanatic owners who demand fealty from all for their precious pets and who take deep offense at anything less than demonstrative adoration that I can’t bear.

    4. mf*

      I picked up on that too. If OP wants to cultivate or maintain Paul as an ally, then she should attempt to find a way to socialize with Paul. But that’s not something OP is obligated to do, and only she can know if the trade-off is worth it.

    5. ferrina*

      I like the point about the politics. It sounds like OP isn’t invested in having any kind of relationship with Paul, but if they were, there’s a clear middle ground. OP can have a separate event that Paul can attend. It can be a low-lift, like a happy hour where you invite friends in the department, or a larger event, like a BBQ at a local park. Maybe organize apple picking at a local orchard? Dogs get to enjoy the party, and Paul gets something he can participate in.

      I do wonder if some of this is about emotional lift. If Paul isn’t doing the emotional lift to cultivate his own relationships, I’d also get testy about Paul trying to dictate my event just so he can cultivate a social life. It’s not about the dogs- it’s about Paul deciding that what I’m doing isn’t convenient for him and trying to dictate my social events to fit his expectations. (If Paul has tried to do his own social events and he just doesn’t have the network or social capital yet, and LW is a social, political or organizational leader in the workplace, then I’d lean more toward organizing a separate thing where Paul can make those connections. But definitely don’t change the dog-friendly annual party you host)

    6. Head sheep counter*

      Why in gods green earth would someone owe someone a nice dinner out? This is a colleague. I do not owe my colleagues … much outside of work. My needing to pay for an fancy dinner out because you can’t socialize in the way that I offer… is a interesting take.

      I can see encouraging a different casual outing to some place other than my house. One where we’d go dutch.

  10. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP4 (falsified resume) – if he doesn’t say anything, they will find out one way or another. I would get in ahead of it, with something like “I’ve just been told by the agency as I was coming into this interview that they changed my resume compared to the one I sent them [and detail of what they changed]”. This will say far more about your integrity and also about the recruiter, as the company needs to know the recruiter is doing this.

    It might also prompt them to go through other people hired through that recruiter to see if this is part of a pattern (I bet it is, by the casual manner the recruiter presented it as “oh btw”).

    Company also needs to “break up” with this recruiter or at least have a serious conversation with them. Misrepresenting someone else’s resume materials is a very serious thing, allied to forgery.

    1. Cattos*

      Yeah, I rarely disagree with the advice but I disagree with this one. I don’t see how OP can avoid coming clean about the actual dates of their employment.

      1. BRR*

        Same here. I think Alison’s advice is ok but the best advice would be for the lw’s husband to proactively reach out to the hiring manager and state that they’ve been made aware the recruiter changed X on their resume and they wanted to correct that prior to the interview. The company is extremely likely to learn about it anyways so the lw’s husband might as well bring it up if it’s a deal breaker for the company.

      2. AngryOctopus*

        100%. OP has a decent reason for being fired, even though it’s a situation that nobody likes to discuss. It gives them a chance to really talk about the work environment and what both they and the company are looking for. And the recruiter changing the resume is a huge problem! The recruiter should be able to say to the company “I know person X hasn’t worked since Y, but in speaking to them I can see that they’ve kept up with [knowledge] and are ready to jump back into the workforce”, not “oh, it looks bad for me if you’re not employed, so I’m gonna change the dates on your resume”. What if the company does an employment confirmation check? What if a reference mentions the firing? There are so many ways this can backfire on OP if they ignore it, AND both OP and the company should want to cut ties with this recruiter. What else are they changing for other people? It’s a huge concern.

    2. Unidentified Flying Observation*

      Yes, the OP needs to come clean, for their own sake.
      And saying it in that way (although not strictly honest) at least gives them the chance to do the interview, which is only fair considering how much they’ve good-faith invested in the process of applying, and how much they were messed around with.

      1. Artemesia*

        Where I worked someone with a prestigious job was fired after being employed for several years for a falsehood on their resume which was in fact not as egregious as this. In fact I would not even view it as a falsehood. Getting hired with a lying resume is a time bomb that can go off any time.

    3. Myrin*

      Yeah, I was surprised by the advice because my instinct very much would’ve been to get into contact with the hiring manager right now and clear this whole thing up. Then again, I don’t really know anything about recruiters and honestly don’t really understand the business (I’m told they exist where I live but I’ve never met one in the wild and only occasionally hear about them from a distance).

    4. Sparkles McFadden*

      I would say: “The recruiter said he changed one of the end dates on my resume and I wasn’t sure if anything else was changed, so here’s my official resume.” You’re being upfront about it, and being truthful…and you really *don’t* know if the recruiter changed anything else.

      1. ferrina*

        That’s how I would handle it! I’d be too stressed wondering if the lie would end up hurting me in other ways, like if they knew other people in the industry. I’d come clean just so I could know I did all I could.

    5. crookedglasses*

      I agree. It seems like the options are to proactively clarify now, play dumb if it comes up, or if it doesn’t directly come up in the hiring process live in fear that someday down the road it will. I don’t think they need to reach out prior to the interview, but specify at the first chance they get in the interview.

      “I feel a little awkward broaching this, but I just learned from Recruiter that they changed some dates in my resume. My stopped working at Company A last summer, and since then I’ve been blah blah blah”

    6. Jiminy Cricket*

      I agree. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t even sit in an interview knowing that the interviewer was holding a lie about me in their hands. I would have to say something ahead of time and let the chips fall where they may.

    7. learnedthehardway*

      Agreeing – if the company gets to an offer stage and does references with the “current” employer, they will find out that the OP was let go and when. The OP needs to disclose that they are no longer with the company.

      That said, there’s no point in muddying the waters right now, if the OP left the job within the the last month or so. Just say that you have been recently released from your employment and disclose the circumstances. The employer will appreciate the candour and you won’t have raised issues that will derail your own candidacy (eg. about whether you or the recruiter falsified the date).

      If, on the other hand, the OP was let go more than 3 months ago, then you really should tell the employer when you really left and that your resume was altered without your input. At that point, you don’t have a choice but to say that your resume was altered by someone else. Hopefully the employer will believe it was the recruiter (ie. the truth), but it’s likely that the recruiter will claim that this is a surprise to them.

  11. anywhere but here*

    LW1 can do whatever they want in their own home. If the guests don’t like it, they don’t have to attend. LW1 is already being incredibly courteous by opening their home to a group of colleagues and *making food for them* once a month. Let’s take them at their word that the dogs are well trained and that when Paul reacted poorly to the dogs, they were just sniffing him. It’s also not surprising that LW1 would be irritated by Paul’s about-face on okayness with dogs. They warned him ahead of time and then had to lock up their dogs anyway! If Paul wants a dog-free party to happen, he can do all of the work that LW1 does (every single month!) and throw one himself.

    This isn’t someone barely controlling (or failing to control) a misbehaving dog in public. This is a person opening their home to guests and setting boundaries on what they are willing to accommodate.

    1. somehow*

      “If Paul wants a dog-free party to happen, he can do all of the work that LW1 does (every single month!) and throw one himself.”


      omg, THIS. ^^^This right here.^^^

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Yes! This!

        Paul has a ready solution.

        And I think OP being good at holding boundaries is a root cause of these gatherings being successful to date.

      2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        Not everyone can throw a party. He might not have room for one. Or he might be like me and you plan and do all the work and no one shows up.

        This doesn’t mean OP has to accomodate Paul at his house. But the solution is not just that Paul throw his own party.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          None of Paul’s problems re the insurmountable barrier of throwing a party are on OP to solve.

          That is what is really frustrating me with this letter–that Paul’s social woes are OF COURSE on someone else to solve.

          (Also–maybe this is just me–“OP should solve poor Paul’s social problems” = OP female, and “OP is holding firm boundaries which are frustrating to other people” = OP male.)

          1. Kaiko*

            I think it’s more, “there’s a barrier that Paul is encountering, as a guest, and OP wants permission to maintain the barrier, as a host.”

            OP, this letter sounds like you’re looking for permission to exclude Paul. While you owe him nothing and can do whatever you like in your home, you took on the “burden” of the host-role all on your own, and it sounds like part of the issue is that one of your guests isn’t having a good time and you’re dealing with it by excluding him.

            I have no doubt that your dogs would prefer to be where the action is. I would also say that having dog-free zones in your party would allow many people to be comfortable. I don’t mind dogs, but I don’t want them around when I’m eating. I don’t mind dogs, but my kid does. I don’t mind dogs, but I do mind dogs that jump. Dogless party zones can allow guests to choose to interact with your dogs, rather than assuming that as the default.

            1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

              “OP…you took on the “burden” of the host-role all on your own, and it sounds like part of the issue is that one of your guests isn’t having a good time and you’re dealing with it by excluding him.”

              Genuine question, where is the line where accommodating a guest crosses over to unreasonable? Does a host have to…

              …change the day/time if an invited guest can’t make it?
              …not invite some friends because other friends don’t like them?
              …come up with some solution because some guests have a dog who has incontinence, so can’t be left alone and have other guests who have a phobia?

              At what point is it okay for OP to frame it as, “To all my guests, here’s are the parameters. You’re welcome to join if it suits you, but I understand if it doesn’t” without it being labeled and judged as exclusionary?

        2. somehow*

          And not everyone has the space to separate dogs. Not everyone wants to tell others “Nope, can’t bring your dogs anymore because Paul.” And what if Paul throws a party and no one shows up? How does that translate into “Therefore, LW, it’s up to you to outfit your space to accommodate me”?

          Also, if Paul can’t throw his own party, why can’t he can reserve gathering space at a local venue, etc.? It’s as though Paul is helpless as a kitten, which is mind-boggling.

      3. i like hound dogs*

        Yes! OP has dogs. If you don’t like dogs, don’t attend.

        I think it’s so entitled to expect her to adjust her gathering to suit your needs. Frankly, I’d have soured on Paul as well.

        There are plenty of places I go where I feel very uncomfortable for one of a variety of reasons. I either deal with it or I don’t return. That’s what I can control.

          1. NottaPetlover*

            I’m not a pet person, but these people are nuts. If the host makes rules, you follow them or stay at home in pyjamas. The earth does not rotate around Paul.

    2. Martin Blackwood*

      Yeah. Everyone’s getting on OP for feeling sort of negative about Paul over a headachey incident, but everyone pulls back on socializing after something pet peeveish happens! OP still works with Paul just fine, and the fact is, inviting someone to your house again despite the fact you have no desire to socialize with them is pretty generous. OP is allowed to have these feelings. That said, because OP also says “If Paul had just said that he wasn’t a dog fan, I would have made a dinner reservation somewhere else,” I think it’d be kind to say “sorry, September’s dinner is definitely a my house with dogs, but pick a restaurant/patio/etc for October’s dinner, I’ll make sure people know about it!”

      1. Rose*

        Honestly op should not even do that. Tell him if he plans something she’s happy to go.

        I am a woman with a large circle of friends. I cannot count the number of times in my life when other people have told me that it is my responsibility to make sure X man who I’m not friends with doesn’t feel lonely/excluded from my friend group and help them socialize. I cannot count the number of hours I’ve spent planning events and coordinating friends for the benefit of someone who is not even my friend.

        It gets very, very exhausting very quickly. Having a lot of friends as an adult is a lot of hard work! You have to really prioritize spending the time and making the effort. I know it’s harder for some people than others to be social, but guess what? I have hard things in my life too. I’m not obligated to be every lonely persons social director. And I’m going.

        If OP or I have the bandwidth to help an acquaintance who is struggling socially, great. But can we stop making it the job of every more outgoing woman to ensure all any men everywhere are comfortable and happy and included? It’s an huge ask.

    3. glt on wry*

      LW1, if you did want to compromise a tad for Paul, would it be possible to make one dog-free room or area for the non-dog people? This party sounds kind of buffet-style with guests wandering around and socializing, so if you had one room that you could keep the door shut for Paul and whomever and allow the dogs to still have access to the rest of the house, would that work?

      1. RagingADHD*

        I don’t think penning up the non-dog people away from the rest of the party is going to help anything. Particularly because it sounds like Paul is the only one who would be in that room. By himself. Which kind of defeats the purpose of going at all.

      2. Office Lobster DJ*

        Excellent suggestion! If everyone is wandering around anyway, can an area be gated off? I love dogs, but even I might appreciate a dog-free area when I’m balancing my food and drink.

    4. SaltedCaramel*

      I agree and would like to add that OP1 was also open to try and have the dinner somewhere else, if Paul had been comfortable. Of course, it’s possible that Paul didn’t realize how much the dogs would scare him – that’s okay! You can’t always predict your reactions! But you also cannot make demands about somebody else’s house and pets just so that they host you – because they have no obligation to do so. If anything, it seems that most of the other guests are either okay or consider it an added bonus because they can bring their dogs.
      OP1, given that you still seem to want to give Paul the opportunity to socialize, how about next time your get-together is brought up, you suggest that you also do something dog-free as well? Obviously, somebody else (Paul?) should organize it, though.

    5. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I agree with this. I’m a little surprised that no one else hosts. It doesn’t have to be in someone’s home– there are many ways to provide hospitality for a group of people if you don’t have room.

      I will add that as a dog owner who lives in an apartment, I flat-out tell people that if they are allergic to dogs or very afraid of them, we should meet somewhere else.

    6. Ash*

      And it’s not even a work event! LW says it’s open to their friends, family AND coworkers. This is a personal party at their home. Not a gathering at a restaurant for work.

    7. Artemesia*

      they CAN do whatever they want in their own home. The question is, should they? Or make some attempt in what is clearly a work related networking event to be inclusive at least some of the time.

      1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        “…what is clearly a work related networking event.”

        I don’t read the gatherings as a work-related networking event at all. OP described it as:

        “…an open-house affair. I make a lot of food and invite all my friends…A lot of my friends are fellow professors (some from my department, others not) and about a quarter to a third of the department comes to the event regularly.” (Emphasis added).

        I read this as a social event where both colleagues and social friends are invited.

  12. Molly Millions*

    Something LW1 might want to keep in perspective: a lot of people are afraid of/awkward around animals for reasons outside their control (especially if it’s an actual phobia/trauma from a dog attack, or perhaps a germ phobia). And people who don’t have experience with dogs might not know how to interact with them; e.g. dog owners know how to gently correct a dog that’s bothering someone, while a non-dog person might panic and react more harshly than necessary.

    It wasn’t reasonable for Paul to ask LW to lock up the dogs in their own home – that said, someone who’s not familiar with dogs might not realize how much of an imposition that is. (Allison’s script was perfect).

    But it would be unfortunate to let this “sour” the work relationship if Paul’s an otherwise nice guy who’s just afraid of animals. Especially because LW seems very well-liked and influential in their workplace.

    1. No Tribble At All*

      This, this, this times a thousand. I used to be terrified of all jumpy dogs (now I just moderately dislike jumpy dogs) because I didn’t know how to correct them. If you don’t know that dogs trying to sniff your crotch is Normal Dog Behavior, it seems really invasive and gross, and it can be embarrassing to ask how to get the dog to stop because you’re talking about your crotch!! in public!! Paul is wildly out of his depth in a situation he doesn’t like. I’m honestly proud of him for getting out of his comfort zone and attending these parties.

      The kindest thing for OP#1 to do would be to offer to co-host with Paul at a neutral location (brewery, etc) for one of these parties.

    2. Seahorsesarecute*

      I wonder if the OP and Paul would want to get together with the dogs at another non party time? Gives Paul a chance to get used to/learn how to give directions to the dogs and the dogs learn that Paul is not a person to jump on or slobber on or try to sit on his lap without the added pressure of a crowd of people around.
      I do also like the idea of suggesting Paul host his own non dog get togethers where the OP offers to help with advice on organizing it and for sure goes to the first one he has. That shows the group it’s another option, not a choose who to be friends with kind of thing.

      1. M2RB*

        I really like BOTH of these. Personal story below to illustrate how having one-on-one time with a friend & her dog helped me overcome my own trauma-based fear of big dogs. The second suggestion of helping Paul host his own gatherings is a great idea – this gives Paul the opportunity to make his own friends and get practice at being a host (especially if his ex-spouse was the one who had primary hosting experience/duties during the marriage).

        Personal story: I used to be very intimidated by big dogs due to a minor but still scary incident when I was a kid. I wanted to get over that fear, and a dear friend of mine had a very large dog. We would hang out – just the two of us and the dog – and she would play with him, both gentle play and then as time passed, more and more rough play. I was so scared at first when they played tug-of-war and he’d growl so loudly, but watching him and learning to read his body language made a huge difference – I learned to watch for the wagging tail and the not-curled lip. I am comfortable enough now that I have even been able to help friends who were training their stranger-aggressive dog to not be so reactive to new people.

  13. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

    #4 Drop that recruiter asap! Falsifying your employment history could lose future job prospects and ruin your reputation.
    He would probably have no scruples about lying to you as well.

    1. AngryOctopus*

      Yes! What if something you really wanted to do wasn’t part of the job, but the recruiter really wanted you to take the interview, so they lied about it? That’s going to make for a SUPER uncomfortable interview where you’re excited about X and the company isn’t hiring someone for X. Waste of everyone’s time!

  14. werts*

    Well, as someone who is a bit more negative than the average person on dogs (and cats, oops) and who has many unasked-for-opinions on what is responsible pet care, I think LW1 is totally in the right.

    Paul had every right to ask for the dogs to be put in another room, but LW has every right to say no! It’s their house! And Allison is right that if LW was a supervisor, head of department, etc etc, it would be different, but they’re not. They’re just being very generous by offering their home as a casual social spot and there are certain limitations that their home has.

    This isn’t LW insisting to bring her dogs to a park outing, or bringing her dogs to a restaurant, or anything else like that. It’s their house! And I agree it would be nice to offer to plan a not-at-your-place get-together, but you also don’t need to be the one planning all the casual social events.

    1. JustKnope*

      I’m with you 100%. Paul hasn’t done anything wrong, but the OP is also well within rights to decline the request (kindly of course).

    2. Thistle Pie*

      This reply is exactly what I was thinking. People are reading a ton into this in both directions. Paul wanted to socialize and tried to with the dogs present, but was uncomfortable. It’s ok for him to ask if the dogs can be put away. It’s ok for LW to not want to. Maybe there is a compromise that the first hour of the event is dog-free and beyond that the hounds will be let loose. Or maybe LW doesn’t want to do that, and I think that’s ok. I also don’t think LW should judge Paul for how he reacts to dogs.

    3. mf*

      Fully agree. Some people are suggesting that OP plan another dog-free event but it sounds like OP is already doing a lot of social organizing. Planning social events is a lot of work, and I don’t blame her if she’s not willing to do more of it solely for Paul’s sake!

  15. Not necessarily Paul*

    My autism is expressed, in part, as a phobia of uncontrolled physical contact. This includes, amongst many other things, most interactions with dogs. This is not quite as simple as a “fear of dogs”. If a dog actually is well socialized enough NOT to jump on people, I can coexist in the same room. But I will cringe away even from the usual “sniff test”, and generally the dog doesn’t react well to my response either.

    1. Jackie Techila*

      Ok, how is this related to this situation? For whatever reason the dogs will continue to roam. Paul can feel whatever way he wants to about them – so can you – but clearly the root motivation of Paul’s feelings isn’t changing the fact that OP doesn’t want to lock their dogs. There’s no “oh if it’s a phobia I’ll do it but it is not so dogs stay free”.

      1. Cattos*

        It’s related to the situation because OP has developed quite a negative reaction to Paul based on his dislike of dogs. It can be good to remember that people dislike dogs for many reasons, some of which may be entirely non-moral.

        1. Jackie Techila*

          Op said they “soured a bit” on Paul so no, that’s not quite negative. Paul had them change their behavior in their own house, the dogs barked/howled through dinner and now the relationship between the two is…professional and cordial but they are not close friends. Where is the negativity coming from? It was an awkward social situation and now OP doesn’t wanna deal with it anymore, pretty simple.

          1. Myrin*

            Yeah, I actually don’t think OP comes across as particularly unempathetic or negative and I’m surprised many commenters view it that way.

            She recounted the events, gave some background information, and stated her preferences, and all in all seems to have thought this situation through quite a bit. I think Alison’s advice is perfect here and a lot of handwringing in the comments would only apply if either several or one significant part of this situation were different, which they aren’t.

          2. Falling Diphthong*

            This! It is totally normal to pursue a chance to know an acquaintance a little more, and on doing so decide that you want them to stay as an acquaintance.

            I feel like there’s an element here of “OP has figured out socializing! It is now incumbent upon them to plan, fund, and host social gatherings that will best suit the preferences of this one person they don’t particularly like.” And that’s the sort of thing that makes people stop hosting.

            I suspect the success of the gatherings to date has been largely down to OP being clear about what things they would be open and flexible on, and what things were firm boundaries.

        2. biobotb*

          No, they’ve developed a slightly negative reaction to Paul based on his behavior toward their dogs, despite being warned about their presence beforehand. And while people may dislike dogs for many reasons, that doesn’t mean the OP has to throw dog-free parties for one person.

      2. Not necessarily Paul*

        OP is focussed on the apparent inconsistency of Paul initially being willing to attend regardless of dogs, but then being freaked out enough to ask for the dogs to be relocated. If, and I do stress if, Paul is like me, then there is actually no inconsistency. I am not claiming Paul is autistic, and I am not claiming OP should separate the dogs from the guests: Their house, their rules. But I am saying there is scope to extend more understanding towards Paul. I personally would be very cautious about attending functions at OP’s house; but I do recognise that’s my problem.

        1. Not necessarily Paul*

          It also sounds like (i) this event is Paul’s main opportunity for socialising at present, and (ii) Paul recognizes the necessity of socialising, but (iii) — extrapolating from OP’s description of “social awkwardness” — Paul does not have the energy for planning and hosting similar events, nor the connectivity to attract attendance at same. So the stakes are quite high. Granted, Paul’s subsequent requests are not entirely rational; but they are consistent with that level of desperation.

        2. biobotb*

          But the “sniff test” is so common, that yes it would still be strange for him to be so afraid of it he can’t stand being around dogs that do it, but would still choose to come to OP’s house (without warning her that he can’t even handle dogs approaching him).

    2. Bit o' Brit*

      Mine is expressed by breaking down when surrounded by too many people I don’t know. Do I get to tell OP they need to limit their open house invitation to a number of people I find tolerable?

  16. Anony for this*

    Why do you all argue with the OP#1 instead of with Alison!? Her advice was, “you don’t need to lock your dogs away if you don’t want to.”

    Why gang up on the OP about how he manages his own home and his own dogs instead of telling Alison she is wrong and your phobias or allergies trump the OP’s right to use his own home the way he wants to.

    I love AAM and the community here but stuff like this puzzles me. We have phobias and allergies and dogs in our family and we know how hard it can be to ensure an allergy or fear free space. And I had a reactive dog (abused in a previous home) and endured my share of off leash dogs who were “friendly.” But we don’t tell anyone how to manage their own homes!

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Pretty much. We see this come up a lot in reasonable accommodations discussions where its an ‘all or nothing’ stance conflicting with a ‘we can’t change the entire job/workplace for you’ stance.

      There’s always going to be something one person finds reasonable and another doesn’t. In this case a reasonable solution would be what Alison suggested: occasional events that do not have dogs, in another location.

      Feelings about who needs to lock their dogs away feel good to vent, and crikey have I ranted here in the past about things, but we need to approach things like this as more of a technical problem than a ‘who’s feelings are right’ problem.

    2. Mangled Metaphor*

      The comments fall into to camps: dog people and non-dog people (for myriad reasons). Everyone puts their own personal spin and bias on a situation, and that leads to the conflicting comments.
      Personally, I’m curious to know whether OP1 accommodates their children having play dates at their house if the child’s friend is very allergic? Do they hold the co-workers who do not and have never attended a party at their house (possibly for aforementioned allergies or phobias) in the same regard as those who do, possibly unconsciously? People are nuanced and complex, and I will never get the answers to my questions, even though I am aware that my bias regarding them informs how I would respond to OP.

      For the record, I am not a dog person (perfectly nice animals, I just have a sensitivity to smell and unless they are all literally straight out of a bath, all dogs have a smell, even your beloved pooch), and still lean towards OPs side – Paul’s initial reaction may have been the result of in the moment panic – I think of big dogs like Mastiffs and German Shepherds, and then I met a Great Dane and holy moly, was I unprepared! His subsequent request to have *other guests* not bring their dogs, is unreasonable.

      1. Another anon for this*

        From the letter ‘I’ve made it known that I won’t shut them away for the event, even if someone has allergies or phobias’.

        1. Mangled Metaphor*

          which is why I’m wondering about circumstances other than the specific once a month event.
          If tradesmen are on site installing windows, are the dogs corralled to another room to keep them, and the tradesmen safe?
          If they have free reign over the house normally, their displeasure over being shut in one smaller space for the duration of Paul’s initial visit is an understandable one-off. If they complain about being removed from “the action” every time, even if it’s just one room they’re not allowed in, the dogs aren’t as well behaved as OP believes.

          1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

            At least for my dog, if there are tradespeople in the house, the dog does get shut up in another room – with me. I don’t need to be present while they’re working, just to let them in the door and then to pay them when they leave. But if I’m hosting a social thing, I can’t go hang out with my dog in my bedroom for the duration. My dog is fine with being alone during the regularly-scheduled alone time, but objects to be locked up for more than a few minutes during regularly-scheduled “pack” time, and I can’t blame her. This is her house, too.

          2. I'm just here for the cats*

            People coming to work on the house is different than a party. The OP does not have to tell us or anyone else the specifics for each type of visit. For all we know their partner takes them someplace when someone to fix things. Or they keep the dogs outside.

            Also, There is not mention that the OP has children, so I don’t understand where the playdate thing is coming from in your earlier comment. They say they and their partner host the dinner and kids are welcome.

    3. IceQueen who loves dogs*

      Because there is a connection to the LW’s employment. It is not just about how they manage their own home, they have invited colleagues over on a regular basis and have therefore created, as someone earlier mentioned, an adjunct to the workplace. This is about how they interact with a colleague outside work hours and the conditions that apply to that interaction. The LW can continue to do what they like in their own home but if they continue to host work-related social events, whether they make any attempts to include Paul (or not include him) is a reflection on them. They may not care about this, I suspect they are seeking confirmation that they don’t need to do anything. They don’t need to do anything extra to accommodate Paul. But that doesn’t make them right or make Paul wrong. It’s a little more nuanced than that.

      For context, I’m a dog lover. And in hosting parties, I am conscious of my dog’s behaviour and how some of our guests may feel. And when we have needed to, we have arranged a dog sitter.

      1. Mockingjay*

        “This is about how they interact with a colleague outside work hours and the conditions that apply to that interaction.

        This is exactly the issue. Remember the letter a couple years ago from the boss who ran a men’s only golf event to “reward” employees and the women in his office wanted something more inclusive, but he didn’t want to change it? The consensus was very clear that including all means including all, even if he had to change the event.

        Alison’s suggestion is perfect: occasionally meet elsewhere. Problem solved. No need to debate dog preference, or whether people might feel uncomfortable in a colleague’s home, or any other possible issue. OP1’s goal is to foster interaction and cohesion – that’s not limited to one venue (OP’s home). People could take turns hosting, rotate restaurants. There are lots of options to get people to meet and mingle.

        1. biobotb*

          The letter you’re referencing is different in just about every way. Firstly, those events were coworkers only. This LW has many non-work friends at these events. Those events were coordinated by the boss. LW is not the boss, certainly not Paul’s boss. The boss issued individual invitations to those events, this LW is hosting open houses that people are free to attend or not.

      2. AngryOctopus*

        But these are social events where work people are invited. It’s clear from the letter that lots of work people don’t attend at all! OP is just saying “hello work friends, I host a social event at my house once a month. It’s dog friendly, please feel free to bring your dogs!”. Paul can feel free to arrange a non-dog outing somewhere! And my bet is that many work people also won’t come to that! Because they don’t want to, and it’s not an obligation!
        As for the feeling differently about Paul socially–we’ve all worked fine with someone we don’t like personally. OP is not obligated to like Paul in any social way. They appear to still work together fine. If anything, OP is feeling a little guilty that they DON’T like Paul more. But it’s OK to not want to be social with everyone you work with! You feel bad because of Paul’s divorce and his social awkwardness, but that doesn’t mean you have to accommodate his requests. It’s your house! If he wants something different, he’s free to plan something the other 29(ish) days of the month!

    4. Phryne*

      Because it seems to me OP wrote in a AITA letter hoping to be absolved from the consequences of their actions. OP can do whatever they want in their house, but actions have reactions.
      Why did OP write this letter? The action is in the past, they made up their minds about it, but something is nagging at them and now they want another opinion on it. Possibly because they want their opinion confirmed, possibly because they are genuinely wondering about what they did and its consequences. But now that their question is on a forum, people will give their opinion on it and OP will have to deal with the fact not everyone is going to agree with them on this.

      1. Anony for this*

        I don’t think the OP wrote an AITA letter, OP asked how to respond given that the OP was unwilling to shut their dogs away. Maybe I read it wrong, but I think this is a current situation.

        I’m trying to follow Alison’s request to not keep posting here, so I’ll expand this to respond to others in this subthread.

        Mangled Metaphor, I don’t care about what the OP does in other situations, they are free to appear as inconsistent as they like in their own home!

        IceQueen, it is not a work event and Alison was clear about that.

        So I still have my original question – why not argue that Alison got this wrong and it is a work event so her advice is wrong. Why not argue that Alison got this wrong, OP is TA and her advice is wrong.

        Thank you Keymaster, “we need to approach things like this as more of a technical problem than a ‘who’s feelings are right’ problem.” And I feel like all too often we need to think of Alison’s advice in general when we respond here!

    5. mf*

      Yeah, I’m pretty shocked by these replies. I was raised to understand that making demands in other people’s homes is the height of rudeness. Making polite requests is fine, but that’s different from demanding and expecting someone to accommodate you in their own home.

    6. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I think people are also missing/ignoring that this is not a “work party”– it’s OP’s friends, some of whom happen to work at the same place.

  17. takeachip*

    LW1, You’ve told Paul he’s welcome, but he doesn’t want what you’re offering. That’s not on you. There are all kinds of reasons that anyone might not be able to attend a social event –scheduling, location, don’t want to be around alcohol while in recovery, etc. In an “open house” situation like this, you can’t take all of that into account and please everyone. At this point, Paul is being pretty rude and demanding by repeatedly asking you to put the dogs away. You’ve already told him twice what the deal is and he’s not accepting your answer, and he’s pressuring you with this recent text. That’s not cool and you shouldn’t feel guilty about not giving in.

  18. Anonymous Dog Fearer*

    On #1 – I’m not saying OP /has/ to lock up their dogs, but I will say that dog owners sometimes overestimate what behavior is ‘polite’ on the part of their dogs, and what behavior is ‘rude’ on the part of phobia-havers. I am curious to know what ‘greeting’ entails aside from sniffing, because the dogs on the street who I think of as well-behaved and non-scary are the ones that don’t, like, touch me or move suddenly towards me. And I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a dog jump on me and try to lick my face while I cowered backwards, terrified, and their owners declared “Don’t worry, he’s friendly!” I think they think that the only problem anyone could possibly have with a dog is if he bites? But that’s not the issue for me; I’m autistic, I have chronic pain, and I hate being touched without warning. If your human child was running towards me and poking/grabbing me, I would also be frightened and, honestly, as a guest, I would expect you to stop your child from doing that.

    I don’t know. I guess I feel like if you have a dog phobia, you’re constantly running into problems in society, but if you’re a dog owner, you’re mostly left alone. It feels like one side of this debate has won all of the ground, so is it such a big deal to make accommodations to people who are different from you for one evening? You don’t /have/ to, of course. But is it really such an insult to be asked?

    1. WS*

      Sure, I have a dog phobia and I get really sick of all the “friendly” dogs in my town. And I have sympathy for Paul on the first visit. And I don’t think it’s rude of Paul to ask. But it’s also not rude or harmful for OP to say no. There is also nothing stopping Paul having a dog-free gathering of his own.

    2. Language Lover*

      I think it’s a little entitled to ask someone to change the vibe of the party they’re doing all the work to put on every month.

      They were very clear about what their party vision was It feels like it’s a very wide invite list which included whole households, and while coworkers are invited, a majority don’t even go.

      I wonder if people’s feelings would change if it weren’t about dogs. Let’s say the party was around a televised football game every month where tailgate type food is being served, including beer. So what if Paul were either a recovering alcoholic or deeply religious man who doesn’t want to be around people drinking and requests an alcohol-free party?

      I bet many party throwers would feel that’s quite an ask and be a bit put off by the request. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with an alcohol-free party but that’s not what was envisioned by the party-thrower or expected by the regulars.

      That’s how I see this dog situation. The OP has a vision of a party they want to throw and put the effort into throwing every month. And this guy is making a request that changes it. And sometimes quite significantly. And if OP’s dogs are anything like my dearly departed dog, it’d be an added stress. (He was fine by himself but locked up in a room when there were people over? Oh that did not work for him and constantly begged to be let out. ) I don’t know who’d want to deal with that and host at a party that isn’t mandatory for anyone to attend.

      1. metadata minion*

        I don’t drink and so maybe this is throwing off my picture of how central beer is to football-watching, but it seems totally reasonable to me to ask — not demand, but just ask if it’s possible — for there to be one party out of the series that didn’t have alcohol.

        1. AngryOctopus*

          I think it’s pretty unreasonable for someone to say “hello person who throws the tailgate party. I like attending them, but I don’t want to have alcohol at them. Can you stop serving alcohol for one of them to align with my wishes?”. You can’t ask someone to change the way they throw a party just for you. Do you not like alcohol or just don’t imbibe? Don’t drink! Are you a recovering alcoholic? It’s probably OK to ask a close friend to change their party for you, but not a work acquaintance, so I’d advise just not attending this event. Is it an ACTUAL work event? Make sure that some of them don’t include alcohol! There are different levels for how close you are with a party thrower.

          1. Another Academic Librarian*

            I find this viewpoint quite shocking, actually. Your example seems to me to be a very polite and reasonable request. Changing details to include people you care about is… normal?

            1. Gerri's Jaunty Hat*

              But asking to change the fundamental nature/ character of a party so that you can attend isn’t normal. If your friend throws BBQs and you want to bring Impossible Meat for yourself to attend, that’s great! If your friend throws BBQs and instead you want them to throw a salad party so there’s no meat nearby you, that’s unreasonable. Just don’t attend if the baseline characteristic of the event is something you’d want changed.

        2. Catwhisperer*

          I think for a lot of football fans, football is an excuse to hang out with friends and drink. I’ve been to football parties where the game was on in the background and almost no one actually watched.

        3. The Person from the Resume*

          It’s pretty unusual. I don’t like to drink myself, but I am not put out by it. I would expect any sports party to have beer/alcohol.

          Maybe it’s where I live. The common local religions are not teetotalers. I basically expect any party to have beer/alcohol unless it is a children’s party. When I host since I don’t drink and don’t know nuances of an average generic beer that is popular with many, I tell people to bring their own beer, wine, alcohol. I also ask/remind/beg people to take their leftovers home because I don’t to store or throwaway leftover alocoholic beverages.

        4. Antilles*

          It’s a very normal and expected part of a tailgate party. I’ve been to dozens of tailgates, watch parties, etc and I legitimately don’t know if I can remember a single one that was completely alcohol-free. You can certainly go and choose not to drink, but it’s pretty much guaranteed there’ll be some a cooler of drinks and beers in hands.
          In fact, it’s so commonplace that other attendees would be caught off guard if they showed up and there wasn’t any drinks – it’s just so different than the usual expectation of a tailgate party…and also some of those unknowing attendees would probably show up carrying their own six-pack/cooler.

        5. YetAnotherAnalyst*

          I don’t drink, but I would find it rude to ask my host not to serve alcohol at an informal gathering of coworkers. I wouldn’t even expect alcohol to not be served at actual work parties outside of work hours, and I do avoid them in part because of that.

          But maybe another example works better? I have migraines triggered by some scents. I expect my office to accommodate me and not have air fresheners in the restroom. But I don’t expect my coworkers to accommodate me and remove their air fresheners if they invite me to a party at their house. And if I misjudge the risk and get a migraine at their house, I excuse myself politely rather than make a fuss.

        6. i like hound dogs*

          I think a lot of people would be put out by that request, since football and drinking kind of go hand in hand, lol. I’m not a big drinker but that usually just means I peace out of places where lots of people are going to be drinking lots of alcohol (also not a fan of crowds).

          But if YOU arranged a different event that didn’t involve drinking … sure!

      2. L-squared*

        I love that analogy.

        I made a similar one about having easy access to bar space, but I like yours better.

        Yes, everyone may not want to be around alcohol, but I also don’t think it would be an appropriate ask when someone is throwing it as a non work sanctioned thing

      3. Gust of wind*

        For me the distinct difference is the requirement of physical contact, that was not explicitly stated before hand. But it seems like that is a simple misunderstanding. Because a lot of people in this thread, thought it was implied and a lot of people did not understand that either(like me). But I also think asking for the dogs to be shut away is a rather extreme measure if there is a different compromise to be found.

      4. Balto the Wonder Siberian*

        Exactly! The whole point of this party is for people to bring their dogs and for the attendees to socialize with lots of amazing dogs.

        Every year in April I do a big political salon (I’m part of the Blob) with about 20-30 people at my home to discuss an important foreign policy question, and I am sure to invite some experts in the field. (For the past two years we’ve discussed the Ukraine war.) We have east European foods. Dogs are expressly invited as guests and are given a big gourmet Kong stuffed with Greek yogurt, applesauce, and peanut butter. The topics of conversation are twofold: foreign policy and all things DOG. Dogs are the key to bipartisanship in DC.

        If you don’t like foreign policy, east European cuisine, or dogs, this is not the event for you, and I’m not changing the format unless you’re literally Tony Blanken or Henry Kissinger, the latter of whom is a dog lover in any event (can’t say about the former).

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Except we’re not exactly talking about “in society” here, we’re talking about “in the dog owner’s home.” If there’s anyplace that a dog owner shouldn’t be expected to make extensive accommodations, it’s in their own home :-P

  19. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

    #1 If Paul wants to socialise with more of his coworkers in a dog-free space, he should copy the OP and have an open-house party where – as host – he can set the rules he wants.

    1. The Person from the Resume*

      This is where I come down too.
      (1) This is not a work party. (It’s a bit misleading that this is a work advice blog.) Per the LW, about half the people at the party are from her office, the other half are not. And not everyone from her office attends.
      (2) This is explicitly a dog friendly party. Other guests are invited to bring their dogs to.

      It’s a bit easier said than done to host your own party. I’m a host, and it’s hard work. Frankly I joke one of the reasons I do host is that I can control the most aspects of the party (which means the host gets to decide that dogs are welcome and will roam the party). But if you host you can make it exactly the party you want. You just have to be careful to ensure the party you want is also one other people will want to attend to. Hosting is something the LW does willingly, but obviously she’s also good at it and practiced at it.

      I’m not sure what if anything the LW should do to encourage or assist Paul to throw his own party. She could offer to deconflict and say if he wants to host in November, she’ll take a month off(, but since it’s not an office party that leaves out about half the guest list). She can agree to come to his party if invited because it is always good to know for sure that some people are coming when you start hosting these thing.

  20. Jackie Techila*

    Op 1
    Here it comes, all the stories of all the people that had themselves or someone they know one time was attacked by a dog. And every single person that’s missing the point of the letter.

    Op needs a way to deal with the fact that they won’t put away their dogs while keeping a friendly professional relationship with Paul. That’s it! Alison did a great reply on it – politely say no, encourage other types of engagements. Everything else is just gonna be ‘but my dog is fine’ and ‘all dog I’ve ever met were aggressive’.

    In any case, it’s gonna be hard to argue that someone should change their behavior AND their guests behavior – considering that there are guest’s dogs there as well, in their own home.

    If Paul had a phobia would he show up to a house party where dogs would be present? That’s just people projecting ideas that are not there. Just keep it focused on the issue…

    1. Skippy*

      I think the problem is that the LW seems to be letting Paul’s fear of dogs cloud his judgment of Paul as a person.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I think that’s unfair to OP–OP doesn’t have to be friends with everyone. Just as if on moderate acquaintance, Paul was tiring on any other topic, and OP–who seems to be good at boundaries–decided they didn’t want to put effort into deepening any bond with Paul, and keep it at work pleasantries instead.

        1. AngryOctopus*

          And OP seems to work fine with Paul, so there’s not really a problem. There are plenty of people I’ve worked with who I don’t wish to hang out with outside of work, or be friends with. There are even people I actively dislike that I can still work with. You’re not obligated to be friends with everyone, just friendly.

      2. Head sheep counter*

        I think kicking and cursing at her dog… might influence how she feels but… she’s still trying to be open to some socialization. Which is a lot more than I would do under the same circumstances.

  21. Roland*

    OP3 I’m glad to read you have found an accommodation that works for you and your company can work with! Just want to say that if any coworkers are weird about it, that doesn’t mean that you explained it badly. Sometimes people are just weird about accommodations that they see as “unfair” (just see the recent non-Christian holidays thread) but please don’t internalize it. That’s their problem, it’s not a reflection on you.

  22. Cattos*

    OP1 (dog)—Reminds me of a pattern we sometimes see in AITA posts. There’s one way of being NTA that is “I have the RIGHT to do this” and another way of being NTA which is “I did the kind/accommodating/non-rude thing.”

    OP for sure has the right to have dogs in the party, his house, his rules. But also it’s a bit much to always exclude Paul from these work functions and would be kinder to have the occasional dog-free event. (Note—not every event.) This is especially true if these events have become the default mode people from work hang out, or if Paul is more junior to OP, especially depending on tenure status.

    1. Mrs Marple's Favorite Niece*

      The thing is thought that these aren’t work functions! OP says only a quarter to a third of the department comes, and it’s also open to his other outside of work friends. This is not a case of Paul being the only one excluded- he’s actually in the MAJORITY of the department by not attending. So I don’t think its fair to imply that OP is basically shunning Paul by not accommodating him.

    2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      That’s how the letter read to me, too. (N.B. I’m not a dog person, but many people important to me in life are to one degree or another).

      AITA? Yes.
      Is Paul TA Yes.
      Can I feel good about digging in my heels? Sure.

      It’s not just dogs, though; I’ve seen the same reactions to pet guinea pigs that do stay in a cage during the event.

    3. Nobby Nobbs*

      I mean, is forcing a house full of guests to listen to a couple of dogs yelling, approximately, “help me help me help me mommy has disappeared into another room and I will NEVER SEE HER AGAIN if you don’t let me out now I will DIE I am SUFFERING help me help me help me” at the top of their lungs for hours on end really kind and accommodating to anybody but Paul? Because that’s not exactly my idea of a fun party, and I’d probably make a polite excuse and leave. Maybe they could hold the next one at Paul’s house instead?

      1. CommanderBanana*

        I’m pretty sure my dog things I’m mainlining delicious foods without sharing OR in mortal peril if I shut a door in between me and her. I can’t even shower without her positioning herself so she can stare at me through the open bathroom door (I have a glass shower wall). She’s a companion dog breed that was literally genetically engineered to need to be on her human at all times, so separating her from me when I’m home is basically like separating a newborn from its mother.

    4. Another Academic Librarian*

      Agreed. Of course it is OP’s right to decide not to corral the dogs, as it is their event and their home. (Though this seems odd to me, as in my experience hosts with dogs are usually very careful to keep the dogs in another part of the house.)

      However, it can ALSO be true that OP is making a conscious decision to exclude Paul by not being willing to consider other options. OP says they don’t want to seem unwelcoming… but if they aren’t flexible about the presence of their dogs at these events, they might just need to own this decision and become more comfortable with the fact that they are not willing to be welcoming to Paul. And Paul may have feelings about that.

      It’s sort of like people who try to use “freedom of speech” to excuse saying whatever they want. Yes, you have the freedom to say what you want, but that doesn’t mean that you have freedom from other consequences — depending on what you say, people may be offended, and they may think less of you.

  23. duinath*

    i do feel if everyone around the other letter writers could loan op3 some of their AUDACITY it might fix a few things. but yeah, you don’t need to explain anything, just answer very simply when someone asks when you’re coming back that …you’re not. the circumstances are none of their business, and i think alison’s suggested wording here was perfect.

  24. Keymaster of Gozer*

    1. When you remove the high running emotions from it and get down to the technical issues and solutions the dogs thing is rather simple.

    OP hosts dog friendly events at their home. People are even encouraged to bring their own dogs.
    A person accepted the invitation knowing this, but then couldn’t feel comfortable there.
    That person asks if the dogs could be shut away next time.
    OP says no.

    Solution? Have an event every so often where there’s no doggos. A cafe, picnic outside the labs when the weather’s nice, wherever works.

    This isn’t too dissimilar to the questions we have to ask if an event can accommodate my disabilities. There’s some locations round here where people love going but I can’t handle. So my friends go to pub X regularly but every so often have a tea and Diablo 3 event at their house where I can go.

    Remove the emotions and who’s right or wrong. Look for reasonable accommodations.

    1. bamcheeks*

      I think that would be A way to go, but these aren’t work events and OP isn’t obliged to offer an accessible alternative. They could if they wanted to, but this whole thing is voluntary.

      They also shouldn’t hold it against Paul for asking, though. Organising a non-work event with work crossover and then holding it against your colleagues for not embracing it in precisely the way you want to is ridiculous.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        It’s not required no, but it is nice. Like my example with my friends – they’re not required to come up with an event that I can get to, and I truly wouldn’t hold it against them if they didn’t, but it’s nice that they did.

        As to whether he was rude for asking? Depends on his reaction to being told ‘no, that’s not possible’. If it was a calm acceptance that the dogs won’t be locked away and thus the event wasn’t suitable for him then no, he wasn’t. If he tries to argue about it and about how he was in the right and his request MUST be carried out then yes, he was rude af.

        A question was asked, the answer was no, the ongoing situation has differing options depending on how the people involved in this agree what is reasonable and what isn’t and that is information we’ll never have.

      2. Big Pig*

        It is hard as someone who has to make accommodations for children all the time without having any anger towards people who come to your home and dictate to your dogs. Dog might be just a dog to you but he is my baby. He lives here and his comfort in his home is more important than yours, you are warned beforehand and free to leave.

        People forget that pets are basically prisoners in gilded cages so we have to put their comfort first in those cages. Paul should have left and organised a dog free event which LW could opt out of if they wanted.

        1. bamcheeks*

          It sounds like you have pretty specific ideas of how guests in your home should treat your dogs, and that’s absolutely your right! But I don’t think that’s compatible with inviting colleagues over for dinner. You simply can’t expect someone who isn’t close to you to know that you’d consider leaving less rude than asking if the dog could be closed in elsewhere, and I think it’s unfair to put your colleague in a position where you’re judging them for not knowing that.

        2. Allonge*

          People forget that pets are basically prisoners in gilded cages so we have to put their comfort first in those cages.

          That’s an interesting attitude to the (very optional) keeping of pets. It’s also optional to host events, or anyone, really.

          I guess my point is, OP and you are entitled to think this way but it may cause conflict.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      If these were work gatherings I’d agree with switching it up occasionally.

      But it’s okay for people to, say, host a gathering focused on Sports Things every few months, and make separate plans with any close friends who aren’t into that. And ideally those friends would also take a turn at planning and hosting.

      I suspect an underlying problem in this letter is that Paul isn’t sure how to expand and deepen his social circle, and has latched onto attending OP’s gatherings as the way. And then on trying to get the gatherings someone else hosts to better match his preferences. (I don’t think Paul is particularly unusual in this. But I think the answer he’s hit on isn’t the right one, and OP can have boundaries and spend their social energy on other people whom OP enjoys more.)

      1. The Person from the Resume*

        This is an excellent point.

        The LW is hosting a dog-friendly party at her house for friends (not a work event). The LW chooses to host and gets to pick how she hosts. It would be odd to to say I’m going to host my party somewhere else (where you have to pay for food and drink) to accomadate someone who is not a particularly close friend.

        It would be different if this a work party or a party celebrating Paul, but it is not.

      2. penny dreadful analyzer*

        I think you’re spot on here re: Paul wanting to expand his social circle, which is kind of awkward because a lot of the proposed solutions assume that Paul is attending because he wants to socialize with his co-workers, and thus they are courses of action that would lead to Paul socializing more with his co-workers–including a lot of suggestions of things that apparently are already happening, like actual departmental parties. My suspicion is that Paul would like to make some non-work friends, and since LW’s party already has a nice blend of work and non-work friends, he wants to find a way to make it work for him to attend. Paul hosting his own event also wouldn’t work here, because Paul would presumably only be able to invite people he already knows.

        This puts things in an awkward spot because it is still not OP’s job to turn an established dog-friendly party into a non-dog-friendly party in a house where dogs live in an attempt to accommodate a non-dog-person over the dog people (no matter how much people try to claim that to be “more” inclusive–it’s not more or less, it’s just exclusive of different people), even if there’s a shortage of other events that would hit that sweet spot of “comfortable number of people I already know, but also provides a path to making friends outside of my established scene” for Paul.

        1. OP Dog Prof*

          My partner (who has been reading along with mixed indignation and amusement) was saying something similar about Paul wanting to meet non-work friends. He thinks Paul is on the hunt for someone new to date and thinks he might meet someone at our open house. He also thinks Paul does not like the solo-parenting he has to do now and would like to abdicate responsibility for his small child at our place for a while on his custody weekends. I don’t know any of that for sure! But they sound like reasonable guesses to me.

    3. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Actually just read the updates from OP and would like to change this to ‘Paul is being an arse, ban him from your house, do other social things with him if you feel like it but you are under NO obligation to socialise with him ever again’

      (I’d say the same to anyone who came to my house and acted hostile about my cat)

  25. Jessen*

    The one thing I wish I had access to is more information on the relative seniority of LW1 vs Paul. In my (admittedly limited) experience in academia, events were largely hosted by senior members of the department, mostly because they were the ones who had enough space to do that. I don’t know if it would change the recommendation if Paul is significantly more junior; it might certainly mean he couldn’t really organize something on his own in the same way.

    1. Lily Rowan*

      OP has posted elsewhere as OP Dog Prof saying she and Paul are at the same level, and are not at the level that host official department events.

  26. 40ish*

    An angle that I believe has not been covered yet: tenured professors are often forever colleagues. So even if they are not obliged to, it could be smart to accommodate Paul in some way.

  27. Bit o' Brit*

    Re: #3

    What is the correct response to “I have a medical accommodation”? Since any follow-up question or comment is apparently offensive, and assuming this is a social exchange rather than pre-ample to a work conversation so “anyway, work thing” isn’t an option, what do you do on the receiving end of that statement?

      1. Bit o' Brit*

        Move on to what? I’m autistic with severe social anxiety, none of this is natural to me. Hence asking.

        1. duinath*

          general small talk topics, if there wasn’t a specific topic in play beforehand (in which case you can just go back to that) you can talk about the weather, sports teams (so i’m told), tv shows you have in common, have you talked to (friend we have in common) lately, etc. but if i were you, i’d cut it off one step before this, because at this point in the hypothetical conversation, you’ve been told they’re permanently remote and asked why. i would not ask why. so when they say they’re permanently remote, just say oh, okay. and maybe talk about a time you were remote and how you found it, or ask how they like it, for instance.