DEAR HARRIETTE: My father's dog died suddenly last January. He was not prepared for the dog to pass and was devastated. Since he is older and does not have any children living with him and his wife, the dog became a replacement for a child. I understand mourning a death, but it is almost fall, and the dog's food bowl, tennis ball and leash are still in the house. I am not sure how to proceed. There are talks of getting my dad a puppy, but the other dog's belongings are thrown about the house. Should I suggest a memory box of some sort? Is it insensitive? I really feel as though it is time to move on. -- Dog Days Are Over, Denver
DEAR DOG DAYS ARE OVER: I love your idea of a memory box. You may also want to consider hosting a memorial service of sorts. For starters, suggest to your father's wife that you want to help the family heal from this loss. If she agrees, you can suggest it to your father together. Create a small service where you invite the people who are closest to your father who also loved the dog. People can say something about the dog and how much they loved it. Then, the items can be placed in a beautiful box that you secure, and it can be put in a special place. If both your father and his wife want a puppy, arrangements should be made to secure it shortly after this service.