DEAR ABBY: My niece, "Vicki," will be 18 in a few days. She works part-time and has started college. Her mom, my sister, lost her husband last year.
Vicki did some research on finding herself the right pet because my sister has allergies. With her own money, Vicki purchased a little garter snake.
Unknown to us, Grandma had an incident with a snake as a child. Grandma has now threatened to never visit Vicki! She said, if anyone gets sick, don't call her. Vicki now feels she must choose between Grandma and her pet, and she's heartbroken.
My niece doesn't drink, sleep around or use drugs. All she wanted was something to love after losing her father. We don't think her grandmother should make her choose, feel guilty or threaten a fractured relationship. Please advise. -- SUPPORTIVE AUNT IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR AUNT: Grandma's reaction is extreme, to say the least. A compromise would be for everyone to agree that when Grandma visits, Vicki's garter snake will be kept out of sight and confined to its little "herpetarium." But if Grandma can't accept that, Vicki will have to visit Granny at her house.