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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Several years ago, when I was a young lawyer with a prestigious law firm, I received a wedding invitation from an associate. (We're both female.)

Another colleague also received an invitation, and suggested that we pool our money in order to purchase something nicer than either one of us could afford alone. I agreed.

Well, it was a lovely wedding, but neither my friend nor I received an acknowledgment of our gift. Several months later, I asked the bride if she had received it. She replied, "No, I haven't, but it could be among the many packages in the warehouse that we haven't had time to open."

Abby, it's been three years and still no thank-you note from the bride or groom. I'm wondering if we committed a faux pas by combining our resources to buy her a single gift, and she was so offended she felt we didn't deserve a note of thanks. -- PHILADELPHIA LAWYER

DEAR PHILADELPHIA LAWYER: You did not commit a faux pas. The bride did. There was nothing wrong with pooling your funds to buy the bride a nicer gift. Should another occasion arise when a gift is required, a book of etiquette might be appropriate.

DEAR READERS: I recently received a delightful book titled "The Kindness of Strangers -- A Collection of Animal Rescue Stories" published by the Auxiliary for Dekalb Animals Inc., a nonprofit organization in Illinois dedicated to promoting the welfare of animals. One story caught my eye, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:


During the summer of 1987, I was helping my daughter clear some mountain river property she had purchased. As we approached a pile of wooden pallets, we heard a crying sound and saw an injured, starving Doberman dog crawl out from under the stack. After feeding her part of our sandwiches, we attempted to find her owner, thinking she might have strayed. The nearest neighbor told us, "People put dogs like that out all the time -- the best thing you can do for her is shoot her." We stopped our search for her owner.

We brought her home that evening; she was frightened and starving. We fed her and loved her. She immediately took up with my cat and licked the cat like it was her baby. The next day, I took her to the vet and discovered she had several broken ribs and a fungus on her paw, which might require amputation. The vet fixed her up as best he could. As I was paying the bill, they wanted the dog's name for their records. I thought for a minute and said, "Her name would have to be Abby!"

Abby's ribs mended. Her fungus healed after six months of treatment and she gained weight. She became a permanent member of our family.

Last year, my husband entered a nursing home and I now live alone. All my neighbors have elaborate security systems and a few own guns. All I need is Abby. She's the best security I could have. -- NOT ALONE IN ATLANTA

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4900 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64112; (816) 932-6600