Oh goodness, it’s yet another problem of supposed equality between man and beast:
Dear Miss Manners:
We exchange gifts with one of my closest relatives, and on the attached gift tags from her family to me, my children and husband, they put “from” their whole family (she, her husband and daughter) and the dog.
I am offended that this seems to place the same value on each of my children as their dog. Am I wrong to be sensitive to this? Should I address this somehow? If so, how?
Miss Manners replies:
Your relatives’ dog probably lives at the same address as they do. However, you need address only the lady when writing, if you ask her to extend your thanks to her family.
That this includes the dog should make him equivalent to their daughter, not your children, although it does make your family more distantly related to him. Miss Manners reminds you that having a primitive relative of one sort or another is a common problem most families learn to accept.
In this case, the writer of the letter seems to be overly sensitive, in the sense of reading the cute humor of including the dog in the list of gift-givers more seriously than appropriate. Of course, if the people actually insist that others treat the dog as a family member, then that’s another issue. Yet in such a case, including the dog on the list of gift-givers wouldn’t be the real problem at all, the general demand would be.