Dear Prudence

Help! Our Friends Want Us to Adopt Their Aggressive Dog.

Dear Prudence answers more of your questions—only for Slate Plus members.

Every week, Danny M. Lavery answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.

Q. They want us to adopt their aggressive dog: Some friends of ours adopted a dog a couple of years ago. The dog has some aggression problems with both dogs and people. We have a 4-year-old dog that does not have these issues. These friends recently had a baby, and the dog is no longer working out. They have been pressuring us to take the dog so it has a good home.


We don’t want this dog; our dog is a show champion and stud, and we have plans to take a puppy of his instead of a stud fee. We also don’t want an aggressive dog! We said no, but the friends are very hurt and accused us of elitism. Any advice?

A: Let your friends be hurt. They are only as wronged as they want to be. “We don’t feel safe taking a dog that you yourself believe to be unpredictable around a baby; this dog requires extensive rehabilitation and training that we can’t provide” is a perfectly reasonable answer to “Will you take our aggressive dog?” If your friends can’t see that, then no explanation, however rational, would satisfy them. They are looking to feel persecuted; don’t let them guilt you into endlessly justifying your decision.