Arrow-right Camera


Pet Owners Fiercely Dedicated

Tue., Dec. 2, 1997

Dear Ann Landers: This is for “No Name in San Bernardino,” who objects to pets running loose in the house. We have four dogs, two cats, two parrots and two desert tortoises. Our closest friends affectionately call our home “The Zoo.”

Yes, on occasion our dogs do drink from the toilets. So what? That water is always clean and cold. Our cats also eat on the kitchen counter. With four dogs, you can imagine what would happen if the cat food were on the floor. I can assure you that my kitchen, including the counter, is clean and germ-free. I use an antibacterial counter spray, hot water, antibacterial dish soap and paper towels every day and replace the dish towels frequently.

People have animals because they give love unconditionally. If you are a responsible pet owner and keep your animals healthy, they are no more apt to spread disease than humans. As a matter of fact, when was the last time you caught a cold or the flu from your dog? - Glad She’s No Friend of Mine in Calif.

Dear Glad: The cheering you hear in the background is from pet owners worldwide. They are a fiercely dedicated lot, and if you don’t like their dog, cat, raccoon, iguana, snake, squirrel or canary, you’d better keep it to yourself.

Dear Ann Landers: Our beautiful 40-year-old daughter has become increasingly heavy. Her husband also is overweight, and their young son already has flab and a small pot belly.

“Trudi” is aware of the problem and would like to do something about it. The conclusion of family members is that food may have become the family entertainment and perhaps even a substitute for compatibility. The obvious detriment to her health and self-image is of concern to all of us. Can you suggest anything we might do to help Trudi accomplish her goal of losing weight and regaining her self-esteem? - Worried Father in Illinois

Dear Father: The best favor you can do for your daughter is love her and never mention her weight - just tell her how great she is and what a lovely husband and son she has.

When and if she gets serious about shedding the excess poundage, she will do so on her own or get help from her doctor. Family pressure will only create resentment and resistance.

Dear Ann Landers: I am a 14-year-old girl and have a friend who is dominating my life. “Julia” calls me so often, my family has started making up excuses why I can’t come to the phone. She invites me to her house every day. I usually decline because her brothers are foul-mouthed and Julia constantly gets into fights with her mother. Every time I go there, I come home feeling upset.

I no longer enjoy Julia’s company, but she makes me feel so guilty that I wind up making plans with her anyway. I feel sorry for her because she doesn’t seem to have any other friends. What makes it even worse is that she gets angry and jealous when I go out with other girls and don’t include her. Frankly, my other friends don’t like her. She’s overly critical and says hurtful things.

I don’t know how to get out of this relationship. I don’t want to harm her obviously fragile self-confidence, so I lie about how much I value her friendship. When I think of how stuck I am in this situation, I end up in tears. Please tell me what to do. - New Jersey

Dear N.J.: You are very kind to remain friendly with Julia, even though she is domineering and difficult. You need not let her run your life, however. Make dates with other girls, and if Julia doesn’t like it, too bad.

Tags: column

Click here to comment on this story »