DEAR ABBY: This concerns "Name Withheld," who wrote: "I invited my sister-in-law over for dinner. She came and brought her dog. After dinner, she took a plate of leftovers, set it on the floor, and let her dog lick the plate clean. I was appalled!"
You, too, were obviously "appalled" because you suggested that "Name Withheld" should buy her sister-in-law a couple of doggie dishes.
Abby, a dog's saliva is antiseptic -- that's why dogs instinctively lick their wounds. I would much rather have my dog lick my spoon than take a taste off a spoon that has been in a human mouth.
Aren't dogs wonderful? -- JAN IN ORANGE, CALIF.
DEAR JAN: Dogs are indeed wonderful, but Dr. Erwin David, my veterinary expert, says: "Dog saliva is by no means antiseptic. Several species of bacteria have been found in the saliva of clinically healthy dogs; so for hygienic reasons, I would advise Jan to keep her dog dishes and people dishes separate."
DEAR ABBY: This is in reference to "In a Quandary" -- the person who saw an older woman who resides in a retirement home shoplift a couple of inexpensive items (a lipstick and bottle of nail polish) in a shopping center store.
As a court reporter for more than 20 years, I have seen it demonstrated over and over that shoplifting is very often a sign of stress -- especially in older people. It covers all social strata: movie stars, executives -- people with plenty of money in their pockets at the time. A little investigation will usually uncover the recent death of a spouse, illness, depression or some other emotional distress.
The same is true of exhibitionists -- as in the case of Pee-wee Herman, for example. I couldn't believe that no one came forward with this bit of information. Check it out. We need to put our arms around these people and ask, "What's the problem?"
To haul them out publicly and label them "criminals" is ignorant and unsympathetic. -- KAY D., SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR KAY: Orchids to you for pointing out that good people will often behave uncharacteristically under pressure or stress.
DEAR ABBY: In a recent column, your "Chuckle for Today" read:
When George Jessel took Lena Horne to a famous restaurant, the doorman asked, "Who made your reservation?" Jessel replied, "Abraham Lincoln."
Abby, it was George Jessel, all right, but it wasn't Lena Horne. It was Sammy Davis Jr. And it was not a famous restaurant; it was a hotel.
Over the years, that incident has been attributed to Harry Belafonte, Milton Berle, Joey Adams, et al. -- WESTPORT PETE
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