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.
DEAR ABBY: Perhaps "Disgusted" is blessed with a loving family. How wonderful! However, my husband's children are rude, obnoxious and selfish. We hear from them only when they want something.
Our pets, on the other hand, are loving, affectionate, and always glad to see us. I hope their names are in my obituary, and his children's are not! -- GEORGIA ANIMAL LOVER
DEAR ABBY: Regarding the reader who thought it was sacrilegious to list the names of the deceased's pets in the obituary -- let's blow his mind. In Las Vegas, there is a pet cemetery where human remains can be buried right next to their pets who have gone on ahead. I know, because I have a friend who took that route. -- MARION PAYNE, LAS VEGAS
DEAR ABBY: I know the family "Disgusted" wrote about. The man died suddenly and unexpectedly. He and his wife had no children; instead they bred champion dogs. The dogs were an important part of their lives.
I'm sure the obituary was a great comfort to family and friends, and I applaud the afternoon newspaper that chose to run it, especially after the morning paper had declined.
There are many definitions of "family" other than what appears in Webster's Dictionary. I see no reason why "man's best friend" should not be included. -- TEXAS CAT LOVER
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.)
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