Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Giving an adorable puppy as a gift seems like a cute idea at holiday time. It can be a great idea, but it can also be a disaster if the recipient isn't committed to caring properly for the pet.

Abby, we have a wonderful dog we were blessed to find through a rescue program last year. She's 3 years old and perfectly trained. I'm grateful she was given to the rescue program rather than the owner keeping her and neglecting her.

Recently, while surfing the Net, I read the following heartbreaking poem. Please print it. Perhaps it will save some beautiful animal a life of misery and neglect. -- JUDITH ROBINSON, CINCINNATI

DEAR JUDITH: I have seen the poem before, and it truly is a heart-wrencher. I, too, hope it will spare a loving pet a lifetime of neglect. Read on:


I wish someone would tell me

What it is that I've done wrong,

Why I have to stay chained up

And left alone so long.

They seemed so glad to have me

When I came here as a pup.

There were so many things we'd do

While I was growing up.

They couldn't wait to train me

As companion and as friend.

They told me they would never fear

Being left alone again.

The children said they'd feed me,

Said they'd brush me every day,

They'd play with me and walk me,

If only I could stay.

But now the family hasn't time.

They often say I shed.

They won't allow me in the house,

Not even to be fed.

The children never walk me.

They always say, "Not now!"

I wish that I could please them.

Won't someone tell me how?

All I have is love, you see,

I wish they would explain,

Why they said they wanted me

Then left me on a chain.

CONFIDENTIAL TO 'DYING ANGEL IN JOHNSON CITY': You need more help than your pastor, his wife and the members of the church are trained to give you. However, help is available. Pick up the phone and ask the operator to connect you to the Johnson City Emergency Rescue Squad. After you have made the call, please write again and include your address. You are in my prayers.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600