DEAR ABBY: Will you please explain to your readers that doctors do not practice medicine 24 hours a day? Each time we reveal to people that my husband is a psychiatrist, we have to put up with unfunny jokes about how he's going to analyze them, or insinuations that all he does is sit on a couch and ask, "And how do you feel about that?" How should we respond to these misconceptions? -- NOT LAUGHING IN IOWA
DEAR NOT LAUGHING: The attempts at humor are not a reflection on your husband or the psychiatric profession. They are a clue that the person may be afraid that if he or she opens up and talks with him, he may realize that he or she is "crazy."
Your question takes me back to my childhood, when our family lived in the Midwest and the first psychiatrist moved to the city and opened a practice. For months, no one would talk to the poor man for exactly that reason.
When people "joke" that your husband is going to analyze them, he should smile and say, "Don't worry -- I'm off duty." (If I were in his shoes, I'd be tempted to ask, "... and how do you feel about that?")
DEAR ABBY: I am being marred in the fall. Ever since I was 11, I have had a wonderful beagle. She sleeps in my bed and I take her everywhere. She cuddles with me and has been there for me during some of the most terrible times in my life. I treat her like she's my baby.
Abby, I want my dog to attend my wedding. One of my best friends -- one of my bridesmaids -- says a dog shouldn't be allowed to attend the wedding. I say she should be. Who is right? -- BRIDE-TO-BE IN ALABAMA
DEAR BRIDE-TO-BE: I have heard of dogs not only attending weddings, but also being part of the bridal party. However, whether your four-legged companion will be welcomed at your wedding may depend on how the person who officiates feels about it -- and that is the person you should consult.
DEAR ABBY: I am at a loss as to how to deal with family members who constantly text others while supposedly visiting us or when we're having dinner out together.
I personally find it rude, but I am reluctant to ask them to put it away. Do you have a snappy comment for me? -- NON-TEXTER IN A TEXTING WORLD
DEAR NON-TEXTER: What your family members are doing is extremely rude. The message it sends to you is that your company is boring and the person would rather be elsewhere. (Indeed, the person who is texting IS elsewhere.) Tell your family members that when they visit, you would prefer they keep their electronic devices off until they leave. (If this happened while I was hosting a meal, I think I'd ask for separate checks and tell them why.)
DEAR READERS: For those of you who live where Daylight Saving Time is observed, I offer a gentle reminder. Don't forget to turn your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed tonight because Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. tomorrow.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)