Dear Amy: I live in New York City in a co-op building. The apartment next door was sold eight months ago and has been unoccupied ever since.
I work from home doing some freelance writing, and I teach voice lessons via Zoom. I always have between two and eight voice students — of all ages.
I have wanted a canine companion for a very long time. Three weeks ago I brought home a puppy.
One week later, I was given notice that the apartment next door would undergo a gut renovation that would last for at least three months.
Last week the renovation began and it’s as loud and jarring as you might think.
I can’t take work calls and I can’t conduct voice lessons from my home.
Worse, my puppy is very scared by the banging (who could blame her?) and she’s trembling and anxious.
The big bugaboo? I’m in a very tight financial position and I don’t have the capacity to rent a pet-friendly shared workspace in the area.
To my knowledge, I don’t know of any pet-friendly voice studios.
I also don’t have the financial means to send my puppy to daycare every day. My vet said they could recommend some anti-anxiety medications for her.
Am I totally out of luck here, or am I allowed to ask for compensation to vacate my home during construction hours, as well as money for meds/a thundershirt for my puppy?
— Broke Thirtysomething
Dear Broke: If you rent your apartment from the unit’s owner, you should contact your landlord regarding any rent decrease or compensation while work is being done next door. If you are a co-op owner, you should contact your building’s manager and the co-op board to inquire about any possible redress.
One obvious solution would be for you to move your virtual voice classes and other phone work to evenings and weekends, when the next-door apartment will be quiet.
You could try carrying your puppy in a dog sling as much as possible while inside, and spend a lot of time outside during these warm months.
However, because of the trauma of these sudden noises on your puppy, I highly suggest that you try very hard to find someone to foster this young dog in their own home until the demolition and renovation work next door is completed and your apartment is quieter.
Your vet — or the individual or entity where you got the puppy — might have ideas for individuals to temporarily foster your dog.
Dogs can be extremely expensive. You should realistically determine whether you can afford to take good care of this pup.
Dear Amy: My father, who is 83, keeps trying to get me to mend fences with my sister.
My sister isn’t asking for a reconciliation. She doesn’t call, and is never in touch with me.
This isn’t a recent rift, but something that has grown over the last 30 years.
I chose to keep my distance from her because she constantly puts me down.
I have pointed this out to my father. Frankly, I just want to be left alone.
I do want to keep in contact with my elderly parents, so I stay in touch with them, but what can I say to my father, other than to get flat-out angry?
I don’t understand why he always takes her side.
— Keeping My Distance
Dear Distance: Every parent wants their children to get along. This desire simply goes along with parenting.
I hope you will be understanding and patient with your father.
When your father brings this up, you can respond with “mirroring.” This is simply reflecting back to him his own thoughts, so he knows you have heard and understood him.
You don’t need to elaborate, cast blame, or justify your own actions: “Dad, I know you want us to be better friends, but it’s not happening, and it’s not your fault. Let’s talk about something else.”
Dear Amy: A woman signing her question “Yikes” wondered how to change her lifelong pattern of “love bombing” men, diving into relationships, and then abruptly breaking them off when she came to her senses — years later.
Your advice to her was good, I thought, but upon reading her question I immediately came to the conclusion that she has a very specific personality disorder. I’m wondering how (or why) you missed it!
Dear Perceptive: I don’t diagnose people through these pages.
Mainly — I’m not qualified!
I did recommend therapy, however. That’s where any diagnosing should happen.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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