DEAR ABBY: I am 77 years old, and this is my first letter to you. After reading an obituary in our local newspaper, I decided to write and ask your opinion of it.
Abby, it listed the names of the man's survivors and then listed his three dogs by name. I consider this sacrilegious. It elevates animals to the level of human beings. Our values have been turned upside down. A criminal receives a longer sentence for abusing an animal than he or she does for abusing a human being! This is wrong.
I am a dog lover, but when I die, I certainly would not want my dog listed as a survivor along with my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
You have my permission to print this, but please withhold my name. -- DISGUSTED IN INDIANA
DEAR DISGUSTED: Most pet owners cherish their animals, and these animals return that love unconditionally. They become part of the family, and many owners love them as they love family members.
It is a well-known fact that animals contribute to the health and happiness of their owners. This symbiotic relationship benefits both humans and animals. Although it is unusual, I see no harm in pets being listed in an obituary.
DEAR ABBY: My fiance moved from Idaho to be with me in Connecticut. We have been together for one year and we get along great, but he hates the East Coast and wants to move back to Idaho. He told me he is leaving in June -- with or without me!
The problem is I have two sons, ages 18 and 19. They are pretty independent and have lived on their own for the last year or so.
I am torn between moving to Idaho to be with the man I love, or remaining in Connecticut for the sake of my children. What do you think is best for everyone involved? -- CONFUSED IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR CONFUSED: Your sons have proven to be responsible young men living on their own. If you feel they have the emotional maturity and financial resources to continue, by al means go with your fiance to Idaho.
Talk candidly with them about your plans and assure them that you will always be available to them by telephone, and they are welcome to visit you.
A final word of advice: I am concerned that your fiance may have control issues. He presented his decision to leave Connecticut as an ultimatum. Before you marry him, make absolutely sure you are in a 50/50 partnership.
DEAR ABBY: You recently reran a letter in your column from the mother of a 13-year-old girl regarding the "frank talk" she had about sex with her daughter. Now that we've seen the letter about "female accountability," where is the letter that teaches male responsibility? This is the new millennium. That letter should be revised to make it gender-neutral. -- OLGA IN LAKE COUNTY, ILL.
DEAR OLGA: Perhaps. I agree that males are as responsible for contraception as females. However, in matters of contraception nothing should be left to chance. I tell women to assume that the responsibility is theirs -- because it usually is. These days a woman can't be too careful. And neither can a man.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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