DEAR ABBY: A year ago, my family and I suffered a tragic loss. Our 11-year-old Pomeranian dog "Poofy" was injured in an accident and died several days later. Poofy had been my constant companion and best friend since we adopted him as a puppy. As a single woman, I thought of him as my only child. I am still under treatment for the depression caused by his unexpected death.
For two days after Poofy's death, I called into work and explained that I would be unable to come in because of a "death in the family." However, when my employer discovered that the deceased was not a human, everything at my workplace changed! I was given the worst assignments. Newcomers got the better duties. I was constantly yelled at even though I did my best wherever I was assigned. I was treated like a lazy good-for-nothing who had used a lame excuse to miss work. I was even officially reprimanded for my "misbehavior." Eventually I had to leave my job.
Abby, was I wrong to expect sympathy from my employer? -- STILL GRIEVING IN WEST VIRGINIA
DEAR STILL GRIEVING: No, you were not wrong to expect sympathy from your employer. However, you were wrong in not being up-front about exactly which family member had died when you requested time off. And you must also realize that the magnitude of your sorrow might not be understood by those who are not as devoted animal-lovers as you are.