DEAR ABBY: I have a beautiful wife, a dog and an 8-year-old son I love to watch sports with. My son loves sports, but he has trouble accepting a loss. He'll take out his disappointment by beating the dog.
My wife doesn't want to get rid of "Patches" because she has had him since college. I don't want to put my son through counseling because he said he'll hate me forever if I do. I'm afraid if the problem isn't controlled, my son's life goals may be affected. What can I do? -- GOOD DAD IN CLEVELAND
DEAR "GOOD DAD": Stop trying so hard to be your son's sports buddy, and try harder to be a parent. At his age, he should be able to handle disappointment and control his anger and aggression. Do not wait another day to get him the counseling he needs! Children who hurt animals often go on to hurt other children. Your son should be evaluated by a mental health professional ASAP. By getting him the help he needs, you could be saving not one but two lives -- his and Patches'.