DEAR ABBY: I am an older woman living an isolated life in a tiny apartment, but I try to keep myself busy. I am forced to live here due to tight finances and poor health. Rather than depending on medication or counseling, I think having a small dog would lift my depression and bring me much happiness.
Because of my restricted income, I cannot find an apartment complex that will allow dogs. The owner of my building claims he doesn't allow them because of fleas, but isn't there something you can give dogs to remedy that problem? -- A DAILY READER
DEAR DAILY READER: It's a fact that pets can have a therapeutic effect on chronically ill people. And you are correct that there are medications available that have practically eliminated flea problems -- if the dog is kept inside or in a restricted area. If the dog is taken out where many other dogs have been, it could be exposed again; however, with care, fleas should be no problem.
Call a veterinarian and ask for information about flea protection; then approach your landlord again. If he (or she) still refuses, contact the nearest senior center or agency on aging for assistance in negotiating with your landlord. If no compromise is possible, perhaps they will help you find an affordable apartment where pets are allowed.