Dear Amy:

I work in a private therapy practice with wonderful people. It's my dream job.

The only problem is one partner insists on bringing her two dogs to the office.

At the beginning, I thought the dogs were cute, as they roamed the office and greeted clients. Then I realized she was making our secretaries responsible for them as they roamed around.

Though many of our clients love the dogs, last year one of the dogs began viciously barking at our clients, especially children. The barking frightened me, especially after an incident in which I had to get between the barking dog and a small child.

I spoke to the partner about it and she made efforts to keep her dogs in her office, but soon resumed letting them roam free. She views her dogs as an extension of her family and refuses to leave them at home.

I'm very worried that the dog will bite someone, especially after it came after me, barking viciously.

I started screaming and the partner who owns the dog found it hilarious. I explained that her dog's behavior was creating a very uncomfortable situation for me.

I need a way to feel safe at my office.

- Terrified Therapist

Dear Terrified: These dogs' status as "family members" should not grant them an automatic presence in the office.

Many people who work in offices have family members - actual children, for instance - who don't get to come to work.

However, I know a therapist who took her yellow Labrador to the office each day and this lovely dog was definitely an important part of her work. Animals can have an extremely positive effect on people, but if this particular dog is frightening people, it's obviously not working out.

Your partners should apply some of the practices you counsel people to use in their lives - that is, stating the truth with clarity, expressing your views respectfully, creating boundaries, and mediating solutions.

If you can't find a workable solution, perhaps an uninvolved party could mediate this with you.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com.