Mom Is Done with Dog Sitting

By Amy Dickinson | September 22nd, 2023

And with being a doormat, too

Senior woman on a couch with a dog. Credit Seventyfourimages. After 6 years of daily visits, a woman is done with dog sitting her grown children's dogs and wants her own time. See what "Ask Amy" advises.

A woman’s grown children have taken advantage of her willingness to help with their dogs, but now she is done with dog sitting. See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson advises.

Dear Amy:

I am 82 years old, in fairly good shape, independent, and retired from a nursing career.

My children are adults. My son and one of my daughters each have a dog. I am the official dog-sitter, and it clouds my happiness.

I don’t want to be selfish, but I want peace in the years I have left.

I have been visiting one dog every day for the past six years while my daughter is at work. She is afraid the dog will be lonely! I have also visited my son’s dog very often.

They both travel a lot for leisure and here I am, ready to watch the little critters.

I’m done with dog sitting. My question is: how do I stop the run-up sitting and get my life back?

Please, help me!

– Helpless in Montana

Dear Helpless:

Six years of daily visits? So the dog won’t be lonely?


I assume that at one point, many years ago, you agreed to this. Perhaps you even enjoyed your daily commitment for a while, or pretended that you did.

You are 82. One of the privileges of age is the right to live your life the way you want to, and to truthfully state your preferences.

Try a version of this: “I’m letting you know that I’m retiring at the end of the month. This should give you time to arrange for daycare for the dog.”

If you can plan a two-week vacation starting at that time, it would drive the message home.

Want to get even more life tips from Amy? Read more of her advice columns here!

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart – ranging from a mom who is done with dog sitting to dark family secrets and DNA surprises. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

©2023 by Amy Dickinson

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