DEAR ABBY: One Sunday, our two elderly dogs (14 and 15) were outside in the yard when a sudden rainstorm came up. One of the dogs ran inside, but the other, "Windom," didn't. We assumed he had taken refuge in the doghouse or under the porch. We live in a rural area and the dogs rarely leave the yard, so when Windom still hadn't come to the door a half-hour later, we began looking for him.
On foot and by car, my husband and I, along with our teenaged son who has a handicap, searched a two-mile radius. No luck. The next day we resumed our search, this time combing the wooded area around our house. Still no luck. On Tuesday, fearing the worst, we continued to look -- checking the ditches up and down the roads. By Thursday, we no longer expected to find him alive.
The following Sunday, one week from the day Windom disappeared, I got up early as usual and went to Mass. I prayed our beloved Windom had not suffered. Although I had accepted the fact he was dead, I still prayed for an answer. All I wanted was to find him and bury him.
After church, I was sitting at the breakfast table with our son when the phone rang. The caller said he had found our dog! My husband was in the shower, and I began running around like a chicken with my head cut off -- grabbing my keys and dashing for the door. Our son hollered the good news to his dad, who of course wanted to come with us. We all hopped into our pickup and headed for the address the man had given.
Only God knows what happened in that week Windom was gone. Somehow he had traveled from our rural home to a busy main road 6 miles away. When Windom left our yard, he was a 65-pound, long-haired mixed breed. After his excursion, he had lost 18 pounds and was an exhausted, dehydrated mess. His hair was so matted and thick with burrs, I had to take him to a groomer and have him shaved. On his first day home, all he wanted to do was sleep and drink water.
Abby, in all the excitement, we failed to get that kind person's name. However, we want him to know how grateful we are that he took the time to stop on that busy road to help a lost dog find his family. We'll remember him always in our prayers. -- ROBERTA JONES, FORESTVILLE, N.Y.
DEAR ROBERTA: While you're at it, you should thank God your dog was wearing current identification and didn't lose his collar. Your experience should serve as an important reminder to pet owners everywhere.
DEAR ABBY: I am a college student who is doing fairly well in school. I'm a good person who is on the right road to success. So why am I always falling for the wrong guys?
I get out of these bad relationships in time, but then I'm left with the pain and hurt they've given me. I can't seem to forgive myself for being so gullible, and this causes me to treat men -- even the good ones -- like they're all bad. What do you suggest I do, Abby? -- GULLIBLE SWEETHEART IN MACON, GA.
DEAR SWEETHEART: First of all, I recommend a "time-out" from men, during which you review those qualities that make your heart beat faster. Then ask yourself if you are holding men to higher standards than you would like to be judged. Too many women make the mistake of judging men by their looks, their athletic ability or their wallets -- and entirely overlook kind, sincere, intelligent and sensitive men who would make excellent "catches."
Having been beaten up emotionally time after time, no one can blame you for keeping your defenses up. However, not all men are abusive, self-involved, dishonest users -- and the price you pay for keeping up your guard can be walling yourself off emotionally. Remember, dating is a learning experience. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
TO MY JEWISH READERS: Hanukkah begins at sundown. I would like to wish a happy festival of lights to one and all!
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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