DEAR ABBY: I'm a longtime reader with a question I have never seen in your column: Why don't they put something in pet food to keep dogs and cats from getting pregnant? Then people could control the pet population and it would stop the killing. -- HARRISONBURG, VA., READER
DEAR READER: Your idea is intriguing. However, the reason that contraceptive pet food doesn't exist may have something to do with the cost. Also, the effective dose might vary according to the size and weight of the animals. If a Great Dane wasn't feeling particularly hungry one day, it could wind up a "little" bit pregnant. (Conversely, a Chihuahua with a large appetite could end up sterile for life.)
Seriously, I took your question to Dr. John Winters, a respected veterinarian in Beverly Hills, Calif., who told me there are research trials going on involving oral contraceptives to control the wild animal population, such as coyotes. If one day it is made available for domestic pets, it would have to be by prescription only and dispensed by a veterinarian to ensure the dosage is correct.
DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Les," enjoys cooking and inviting friends to join us for dinner. I respect people's likes and dislikes when it comes to certain foods, but Les does not. We have discussed it on many occasions and he feels people should be "open-minded, not picky or finicky." We are having two guests over for dinner soon. One does not like onions and the other doesn't care for mushrooms. I reminded Les of this, but he's determined to prepare his spaghetti sauce with lots of onions and mushrooms. This upsets me. As the hostess, I'm embarrassed. Am I wrong to feel this way? -- JUST THE SOUS-CHEF, DES MOINES, IOWA
DEAR JUST THE SOUS-CHEF: That your husband would deliberately serve guests something he knows they dislike shows him to be self-centered and unwilling to extend true hospitality. I don't blame you for feeling embarrassed.
Don't be surprised if your guests eat very little of Les' spaghetti, and prepare for it in advance by having a large salad and garlic bread on hand so they won't go away hungry. In time, your problem may resolve itself, because a person would have to be a glutton for punishment to accept a second dinner invitation at your home.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married 35 years. The children are grown and on their own now. I am healthy, but find I have absolutely no interest in my spouse -- sexual or otherwise. Habits of his that I overlooked in earlier years really turn me off now.
Don't say "get counseling." I don't want to become close or intimate with him again. I'm not the type to cheat, so I guess I'll just be thankful for the good years I had with my young children.
I have chosen to stay in this marriage so my children and grandchildren won't have to split time visiting. After so many years, staying is just easier. Has anyone ever written to you with a similar situation? -- UNFULFILLED IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR UNFULFILLED: Yes, usually after the crisis that happened because the woman's husband felt abandoned and looked elsewhere for the caring and affection he wasn't receiving at home.
The relationship you have described isn't a marriage; it's an "arrangement." If this is what you and your husband are willing to settle for in order to spare your children and grandchildren the inconvenience of visiting you separately, then you both have my sympathy.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)