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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Recently on a very hot day, I saw two dogs left in parked cars with the windows up. It's that time of year when people need to be reminded never to leave pets or children alone in vehicles. It could be deadly.

When riding in an air-conditioned vehicle, it's easy to forget how quickly the temperature rises once the vehicle is turned off and sitting in the sun. Even on a comfortable day, the temperature climbs quickly and becomes a hazard in only a few minutes. A quick trip to the store could be fatal.

Also, I would like to remind people that animals need shade. Doghouses in the sun do not provide the shelter pets require. It can be hotter inside the doghouse than outside. What a difference could be made by simply placing the doghouse under a shady tree. And please, provide plenty of cool, fresh water and food in clean bowls that cannot be easily tipped over. Remember, a metal bowl conducts heat and cold.

Animals have feelings just like people. Please have a little compassion, and don't keep a dog tied up in the yard day in and day out without giving it some attention.

Please be on the lookout for helpless animals that are left in these situations, and notify the owners or the proper authorities. These animals cannot defend themselves. Their lives and well-being depend on YOU.

A final thought: Please neuter or spay your cats and dogs. Neutered animals make better pets, and this would alleviate the tragedy of thousands of unwanted animals who die each year. -- AN ANIMAL LOVER, FREDERICKTOWN, OHIO

DEAR ANIMAL LOVER: Many readers will appreciate your timely reminder that pets, as well as children, are vulnerable to the heat of summer. Neither should be left unsupervised in a locked vehicle, even for a few minutes. To do so would invite tragedy.

DEAR ABBY: I'm 71 years old and feel good, but I follow the same routine every day.

Abby, I arise between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. every morning, read the newspaper, do the crossword and Jumbleword, watch soap operas for an hour and a half, and then go to bingo.

I have a male companion living with me who works several days a week. Even when he is off work, he tells me to go ahead and go to bingo because he knows I like it. He's very good to me and gives me his whole paycheck.

Abby, I look forward to bingo and consider it socializing, but I am stuck in a rut. I wonder why I'm so regimented. Is this normal? I think I should sign this ... BINGO ADDICT

DEAR BINGO: Bingo! Your signature says it all: I suspect that what you are hooked on is the rush you get from gambling. However, since you're hurting neither yourself nor your companion, I wouldn't classify this as a "problem."

If you like, test yourself for addiction. Make plans with your companion or a friend to go to the movies on a bingo afternoon and see if you are able to carry through with your plans. If you can't resist canceling in favor of bingo, you may be bingo-compulsive, but not necessarily a problem addict.

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