DEAR ABBY: As an animal lover, I'd like to share my story so that others may learn from my mistake.
I have had the best companion of my life, my dog Chelsey, for about seven years. Two years ago, I met "Mr. Wonderful," we fell in love, moved in together, and then the honeymoon started to deteriorate. I learned that Mr. Wonderful had a mean streak in him that I was unwilling to live with. As we arranged our breakup (settling bank accounts, dividing up furniture, etc.), Mr. W. made a very big issue out of how close he'd grown to Chelsey, and he insisted that he keep her. Against my better judgment, I let him have her.
Big mistake! To make a long story short, Mr. W. took Chelsey out to a rural area and dumped her. Mr. W. didn't want her -- he just wanted to get in one last dig at me.
So there I was, blindly thinking that the two of them were living happily ever after. Meanwhile, some kindly country folks found Chelsey and took her to the city animal shelter, where she was chosen "Pet of the Week." For this honor, she made a short appearance on one of the local TV stations' news broadcasts. I almost had a cardiac arrest when I saw my Chelsey on TV described as a "stray" found eating out of trash cans.
Abby, let this be a lesson. When you're breaking up with someone, don't let him have your beloved pet! -- PAT IN FIRCREST, WASH.
DEAR PAT: You and Chelsey are both very lucky -- first to have been reunited against great odds, and second, to have the pathological "Mr. Wonderful" out of your lives before he caused more damage.