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by Abigail Van Buren

Companion Pets Are Some People's Surviving 'Family'

DEAR ABBY: "Disgusted" would have had a heart attack if she had attended a wedding I did in Pasadena, Calif., years ago. The daughter of a well-to-do family was being married in an elaborate church ceremony. When the minister asked, "Who gives this woman in marriage?" the bride's father answered in a rather loud voice, "Rex and I do." "Rex" was the family dog who had been considered a part of the family for more than 10 years.

The father had joked about saying it -- but no one was sure he actually would. Well, he did, and there were many smiles in the congregation -- including the bride's and groom's. -- AMUSED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR AMUSED: I'm surprised the guests didn't howl with laughter. (I couldn't resist.)