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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I were walking our terriers one evening when one had to answer nature's call. Being responsible dog owners, I picked up the "deposit" with a bag we carry for such occasions.

It was garbage pickup day and the neighbors' trash cans were out at the curb, so at the next house I placed the bag in the trash can. My wife, family and co-workers all think this was not appropriate -- that I should have carried it home and disposed of it in our trash can.

Abby, we were 15 minutes from home, but given the choice, I would rather not carry that bag and figured a garbage bin is a garbage bin. I'll abide by your answer and admit I was wrong if you say so. -- POOPED OUT IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR P.O.: As long as the bag was securely sealed, I don't think adding it to someone's trash bin was a social no-no. But I do have one suggestion: Keep your water cooler conversation at a higher level and you'll get less poop from your co-workers. Your wife is another story.

DEAR ABBY: My 22-year-old son is involved with a 22-year-old girl who is married. He has moved in with her, her husband and their 4-year-old son. He says he's happy with the arrangement.

I have tried to accept this even though I don't approve. I don't want to alienate my son, but I see no good coming from this lifestyle. Abby, please help. -- DISGUSTED MOM IN HENDERSON, NEV.

DEAR DISGUSTED MOM: You do not have to "accept" the arrangement, and as your son's mother you are entitled to tell him you don't approve and why. But he is over 21, and some lessons have to be learned the hard way. So remain calm and bide your time because, sooner or later, the husband's tolerance will wear thin or your son will realize that he deserves to rate higher than No. 2.

DEAR ABBY: I have a gripe I haven't seen addressed in your column. I receive labels, free gifts and even money from charities asking for donations. Why aren't they using all that money for the charity?

I thought I'd done the right thing by sending annual contributions to one charity. Then I get frequent appeals from them that they have run into extra expenses and want more! Americans are generous people, but these groups are bleeding us dry. I'm on the verge of not contributing to any of them. -- TURNED OFF IN TOPEKA

DEAR TURNED OFF: Charities (and causes) hire specialized companies that analyze what kind of "appeals" generate the most money. They have figured out that people who receive "gifts" feel "obligated" to reciprocate -- hence the labels, notepads, etc.

As to being solicited more than once a year, this is done because many people can't remember exactly when they last donated and, in my opinion, it's a way of taking advantage. That said, with the economy in the shape it's in, many charities are genuinely suffering. The need is great -- so please do not stop giving altogether.

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 only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)