DEAR ABBY: I have been married to "Jim" for 12 years. We recently got a dog, and I knew he wouldn't want her living in the house. I love dogs, and she's a very small breed. I want her to live in the house as a member of the family, but every time I mention it, Jim gets angry and says he just won't come home as often.
My husband drives a truck and is often gone for weeks at a time. This has put a real stress on our relationship. I find his opinion cruel and inhumane. Should I push the issue or just drop it? -- LONELY IN BURLEY, IDAHO
DEAR LONELY: You forgot to mention that your husband is also somewhat selfish. He should be glad that you have a four-legged friend instead of a two-legged one. If he is gone for weeks at a time, it should not be surprising that you would like companionship during his extended absence.
Pets do best when they are a part of the household because they are usually better trained and better behaved, so stand your ground. Your husband should be ashamed of himself for threatening you, because the problem isn't the dog; it's that he's gone so much.
DEAR ABBY: Please do your readers a favor and advise them to keep a copy of their own medical history. When they have any medical work done, such as an EKG, blood work, X-rays, etc., request a copy from their doctor for their records.
According to our state board of physicians, while doctors are required to maintain their patients' medical history for five years, there is no incentive, oversight or penalty to ensure that they actually do.
I found this out when the clinic I went to disbanded, and medical records over six months old were discarded. I lost 20 years of my medical history and learned of other patients in the same boat. Now I ask for copies of everything. -- LEARNED TOO LATE IN MARYLAND
DEAR LEARNED TOO LATE: That's good advice, and I'm pleased to help you publicize the message. The kind of record-keeping you describe has never been easier. I have received samples (in years past) of "workbooks" for filing medical and insurance information that can be purchased at local bookstores. I only wish they had been available to my mother when my brother and I were children. Then we wouldn't have to ask ourselves, "Was it chicken pox or measles? Mumps or swollen glands?"
DEAR ABBY: My teenage daughter, "Dayna," is asked to baby-sit by a neighbor who seems to ask her only when the other teenage girl in the neighborhood is unavailable. This doesn't bother her so much as the fact that the last time she baby-sat, she was paid less than what the other teenager receives. Dayna is friendly with the other girl, and they talk, so my daughter was very hurt when she found out the neighbor thought she was worth less.
If Dayna is asked to baby-sit again, what should she say to these parents without causing a rift in the neighborhood? -- CONCERNED MOM IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR CONCERNED MOM: Baby-sitting is a business. When the neighbor calls, now that your daughter knows what her friend is being paid, she should tell the neighbor that her price has gone up and state what it is. Your daughter is under no obligation to tell the woman why, and if the woman is intelligent, she won't have to ask, because she will know the girls compared notes.
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 $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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