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by Abigail Van Buren

Motel's Policy on Pets Is Really for the Birds

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I went to Pennsylvania the last week of December and slept in a motel room that we noticed had an unpleasant odor. It was not from smoke. We had requested a smoke-free room and got one. However, I had an allergic reaction to something, and had a difficult night.

The next day I mentioned it to the maid, and she told me there had been a "cute little doggy" in the room the night before. I then told the manager about my allergy to dogs. She did not apologize. She said, "Well, we like our pets ..." Needless to say, we will never frequent that motel chain again.

My husband and I do not hate animals, Abby, but we don't want to eat or sleep with them. Maybe others feel as we do. We know that people who eat and sleep with their dogs would smuggle them into a motel any way they could. The few motels that enforce the "No Pets" rule should be commended.

Thanks for listening, and for printing this. -- ABBY FAN, FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.

DEAR FAN: Your mistake was in not mentioning the fact that you have an allergy to dogs when you requested the smoke-free room. Just as there are smoke-free rooms reserved for guests who suffer from a sensitivity to cigarette smoke, there should be rooms available upon request for those who have pet allergies. Try it next time you and your husband are traveling.

DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Mourning in Texas" prompted me to write. "Mourning" was disappointed about the small number of floral arrangements sent to his late wife's funeral.

You were correct in stating that many people donate money to charity in order that "something good" may come from the sadness of a loved one's death. However, we should all remember that floral arrangements sent to a wake or the home of the grieving are also "something good" -- and useful.

Too often, people hesitate to send flowers thinking they'll be thrown out after the funeral. But what is important is the message of condolence that flowers convey to the grieving family during those extremely difficult few days. Flowers are for the living -- they say, "We loved her, too. She had value to us, and we care that you are grieving."

This is not to say that making a charitable donation isn't worthwhile, but to remind people that sometimes flowers speak volumes.

May I share with you what my husband and I do at such times? When we attend a funeral or a wake, we take a card and a single rose. One week later, we send a "thinking of you" card. A month later, we send a colorful arrangement of flowers to the family of the deceased to let them know they are still in our thoughts and prayers. I cannot tell you how often we are told, "Thank you for thinking of us. It feels as though everyone's world has gone on and no one remembers we are in pain, but you remember."

Abby, it makes us feel wonderful to let someone know they matter. -- FLOWER FANS, LONG ISLAND, N.Y.

DEAR FLOWER FANS: That's a terrific plan of action, and one from which many can learn. Too often, after the funeral and all the offers of "What can I do to help?" -- there is only silence.

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