DEAR ABBY: I am an older woman living an isolated life in a tiny apartment, but I try to keep myself busy. I am forced to live here due to tight finances and poor health. Rather than depending on medication or counseling, I think having a small dog would lift my depression and bring me much happiness.
Because of my restricted income, I cannot find an apartment complex that will allow dogs. The owner of my building claims he doesn't allow them because of fleas, but isn't there something you can give dogs to remedy that problem? -- A DAILY READER
DEAR DAILY READER: It's a fact that pets can have a therapeutic effect on chronically ill people. And you are correct that there are medications available that have practically eliminated flea problems -- if the dog is kept inside or in a restricted area. If the dog is taken out where many other dogs have been, it could be exposed again; however, with care, fleas should be no problem.
Call a veterinarian and ask for information about flea protection; then approach your landlord again. If he (or she) still refuses, contact the nearest senior center or agency on aging for assistance in negotiating with your landlord. If no compromise is possible, perhaps they will help you find an affordable apartment where pets are allowed.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I just celebrated our 10th anniversary. Our problem is that most people -- including our families -- think it was our sixth anniversary. We were married quietly because we were short of money. When we had enough saved up to have the wedding we wanted, we got "married" again, and didn't mention the first one. We felt that if people knew we were already husband and wife, they wouldn't view our ceremony and reception as special and might not attend.
We didn't really lie. We just never discussed our quiet marriage ceremony, and no one ever asked how long we've been married. When someone does ask, we don't hide the facts.
Abby, should we come clean? -- NOT QUITE TRUTHFUL IN GEORGIA
DEAR NOT QUITE TRUTHFUL: Allowing others to believe a falsehood while withholding the truth is akin to lying. The date of your marriage is nobody's business but yours; however, since your conscience is bothering you, tell your family the truth. There's no way to sugar-coat the deception, but I suspect your family and friends will be understanding. You may be surprised to discover you're not the only couple who have fibbed about the date of their marriage.
DEAR ABBY: You recently pointed out to your readers the importance of senior citizens getting their flu shots and pneumococcal immunizations. Abby, please remind them that it is also important to keep their tetanus vaccinations current. People tend to forget that a tetanus booster is needed every 10 years after the initial immunization.
Thank you for helping to keep seniors -- and others -- healthy. -- MARY SHINN, IMPERIAL COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT, EL CENTRO, CALIF.
DEAR MARY: Thank YOU. Readers, may I remind you to also keep a list in your wallet of all immunization dates and medications you take, as well as drug allergies. In case of an emergency, this information can be vital.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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