DEAR ABBY: My sister-in-law bought a pit bull. Because I have small children and am concerned about their safety, I asked her not to bring the dog to my house. She agreed.
However, my in-laws frequently baby-sit our children. Although my mother-in-law promised that she would not allow the pit bull there when my children are at her home, my father-in-law now says that this places him in an awkward position. He doesn't want to choose between seeing his daughter -- who likes to bring her pit bull with her everywhere -- and having my kids there.
He has asked me to reconsider. I feel strongly that I should stand firm, even if it means my in-laws no longer baby-sit, which will be a loss to my children. What is your advice? -- WORRIED MOM IN ANN ARBOR
DEAR WORRIED MOM: Small children should not be left unsupervised with any breed of dog. Children are unpredictable and could unwittingly do something to frighten or agitate the animal.
It would be nice if you and your sister-in-law could coordinate the visits of the kids and the dog. However, if that is not possible, unless you are absolutely certain that your children would not be injured, it's better to err on the side of caution and stand firm.
DEAR ABBY: Our 27-year-old college-educated daughter, "Peggy," has announced her engagement to a high school dropout with an abusive past and a rap sheet longer than my monthly grocery list. He supports two teenage children from a previous relationship and has been in and out of jail for assault and battery and DUIs.
Peggy has lived with him for the past year and has stopped speaking to us because we won't pay for the wedding. She and my parents feel we are wrong for not supporting her and paying for the wedding. What is your opinion on this? She is marrying him against our wishes. -- UPSET PARENTS IN VIRGINIA
DEAR UPSET PARENTS: Please inform your daughter -- and your parents -- that a wedding is a GIFT, not an obligation on the part of the parents. For all of the reasons you have stated, you have ample reason not to pay for the wedding.
DEAR ABBY: I have a friend in her early 40s who is dying of cancer. "Claire" had a Class II pap test years ago, but she never went back for a recheck.
Claire now has only a short time left. She leaves an adoring husband and three teenagers. Please remind your readers once again how important it is to follow through as instructed by their physician. My friend's death might have been prevented. -- GRIEVING IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR GRIEVING: Sometimes people with many responsibilities place themselves low on their list of priorities. Your friend may have been one of those -- or she may have been afraid to return to the doctor. But one thing is certain, whatever bad news the doctor might have to deliver, the WORST is that because the patient procrastinated the condition has become so advanced that it's impossible to treat.
P.S. Test results are usually available in about a week. If a patient hasn't heard from the doctor's office by then, the patient should contact the doctor.
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-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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