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

by Abigail Van Buren

Companion Pets Are Some People's Surviving 'Family'

DEAR ABBY: "Disgusted in Indiana" was outraged because listing a pet in an obituary "elevates animals to the level of human beings"? What a mistaken idea.

Animals don't tell the "bad things" they remember about their friends. Animals don't push to be first in line for the reading of the will. In fact, all this man's animals will do is to honestly mourn their loss without regard for material gain.

I agree with "Disgusted" that not "everybody" be listed in the obituary. I say, name the dogs and omit those high and mighty "elevated" human beings. -- DISGUSTED WITH PEOPLE IN L.A.

DEAR DISGUSTED WITH PEOPLE: You're entitled to your opinion, but I'm not for excluding any soul who mourns for the deceased. That letter brought phenomenal response. I'm only sorry that space limitations prevent me from printing more of them. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I am 79, an only child, as was my husband. We were childless. Our pets were our "family." In my husband's obituary, I listed myself as wife of 58 years, and his three furry companions as survivors. A friend once described our pets as "furry people." I agree. They don't lie, cheat, drink or abuse; they only provide love and companionship. -- LILLIAN STAFFORD, FRESNO, CALIF.