DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been together 39 years, and we generally get along very well. We’ve always had dogs and cats, and we currently have two of each. While my wife loves all animals, I’m a dog person. I don’t dislike cats, but I don’t really care for them. The cats and I tend to ignore each other.
We have one who’s 20 years old. While he doesn’t appear to be in any pain, I suspect he has dementia. He has poor balance. He stumbles into walls and cabinets and has fallen down the stairs a number of times. Recently, he has been peeing in my den and garage. That, I can’t ignore.
I think it’s time to put the cat down. My wife is calling me cold and heartless. I think when I’ve lost my mind enough to pee in my den or garage, I hope someone will be compassionate enough to help me go. I’m starting to hate that cat. — FAVORS DOGS IN EL PASO
DEAR FAVORS DOGS: That poor animal should be examined by a veterinarian to determine why he is stumbling and falling, and whether the problem can be remedied. (The elderly dog of a friend of mine kept running into things and ultimately had successful cataract surgery.) As to the cat’s inappropriate choice of a place to relieve himself, the problem may be as simple as a curable bladder infection — unless he has picked up on the fact that you would like to see him dead and is doing it to get back at you.
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DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, “Tom,” and I just spent the weekend with his older brother, “George.” George spent most of the weekend mocking and mimicking me, and he even made fun of my chronic health condition. Tom kept telling me not to be so sensitive and to ignore George’s “sense of humor.” Afterward, I told Tom I wouldn’t remain silent in the future, and I wished he had said something like, “That’s enough, George,” on my behalf.
Tom insists it isn’t his place. He thinks I should accept George as he is “since we all have our faults.” While I want to maintain my relationship with Tom, I need to limit my exposure to George, whose behavior I regard as abusive. Does this seem reasonable? — TIRED OF THE TEASING
DEAR TIRED: Reasonable, yes. Whether it is possible may be questionable. I agree that George’s behavior was abusive. It’s a shame Tom was afraid to stand up to his older brother, but because he wouldn’t intervene, you would have been within your rights to stand up for yourself, tell him his ridicule wasn’t funny and leave.
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DEAR ABBY: I am 48 and married to a widower in his early 60s. Not long ago we moved into a 55-plus community. The problem is, every time we meet someone, they ask my husband why he robbed the cradle. I’m sick of hearing it. My husband is a warm, caring, loving man, who just laughs and says, “Yep!” How can I rebut those comments when they come, because my husband doesn’t seem to be able? He wants everyone to like him, so he never makes waves. — NOT FROM THE CRADLE
DEAR NOT FROM THE CRADLE: The comments aren’t meant as an attack on your marriage. The next time someone says it, pipe up and say, “We were BOTH old enough to know what we wanted!”
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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
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