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by Abigail Van Buren

Abandoned Pets on Roadside Will Rarely Find Good Homes

DEAR ABBY: Over the years, I have seen many letters in your column about dogs and cats, but I can't recall seeing one about a hidden problem -- abandoned pets. My neighbors and I live in a rural section of Washington. We constantly see dogs and cats dumped on our road. Frightened, they run from help. They are chased by predators. With no hunting skills, and no food or clean water, they suffer in unimaginable ways -- dying slowly.

I vividly remember the plight of one cat. Maybe the owners thought by leaving it close to a house, it would find the loving home they could not provide. Day after day, it haunted the roadside. I stopped many times to try to lure it to safety, but it would hide frightened in the underbrush. Eventually, it was hit by a car. It had sat for days on the edge of the road, confident its owners would return to take it home.

Abby, please ask your readers to think twice before taking on the responsibility of an animal. If they must get rid of a pet, take it to a shelter. Dumping a pet on the side of the road is not the answer. People who live in the country have as many pets as they want and can afford. -- PET LOVER IN TENINO, WASH.

DEAR PET LOVER: Your letter is an important one, and it carries a message that has appeared in this column before.

Pet owners should indeed think twice before dumping an animal they want to dispose of. They should rid themselves of the fantasy that it will survive, because it probably won't. If they cannot bring themselves to take the animal to a shelter, then they should call a veterinarian for referral to a pet rescue group.

DEAR ABBY: As chief of staff, secretary and head policy maker of the Long Beach Society of Couch Potatoes, I must say that your correspondent Ann Fink of Florida, with her exercise program for lazy people, neglected to mention a few favorites.

I hereby submit our local program for California Couch Potatoes:

-- Skating on thin ice

-- Casting aspersions

-- Throwing caution to the wind

-- Bending the truth

-- Digging up dirt

-- Flogging a dead horse

-- Going the extra mile

-- Jumping to conclusions

-- Lashing out

-- Upping the stakes

-- Quashing rumors

-- Dancing up a storm

-- Marching to a different drummer

Our group urges that you don't push your luck, for fear that you could end up pushing up the daisies. -- MAX GATOV, LONG BEACH, CALIF.

DEAR MAX: You seem to have an unusually active group of couch potatoes. As with other produce from our great state, California Couch Potatoes are larger and more fully developed than those you usually see sitting in doctors' offices in the other 49.

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

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