Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Brother Neglects Responsibilities of Dog Ownership

DEAR HARRIETTE: My brother and I live together in a two-apartment house. I like our arrangement. Even though we are both adults, we are young, and it feels safer having him around. He has a dog -- a puppy, really -- that he got about a year ago. Because my brother is still in school and working, he is not often home when it’s time to walk the dog, so I have become the default walker. I walk the dog when I get home from work. He often sleeps in my apartment because my brother gets home late. In those instances, I walk him before bed, too.

I love the dog, so I don’t really mind. But recently I learned that there have been some robberies in the neighborhood. I’m worried about walking the dog at night. What can I do? My brother has left the responsibility up to me. -- Walking the Dog

DEAR WALKING THE DOG: You need to talk to your brother and explain the situation. Remind him that this is his dog, after all, but now that there is a safety concern, you feel uncomfortable walking the dog at night. Tell him you need him to step up and figure out how he can be a more active participant in caring for his dog.

For the nights when he isn’t at home and the dog needs to relieve itself, use a long leash that allows the dog to walk around just outside your door without the need for you to go on an actual walk. This isn’t ideal, but is should keep you safer.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I reconnected with a college friend whom I really love and was close to back in the day. We used to talk and get together all the time for years, but time passed and life got in the way, I guess. Anyhow, now it’s rare if we connect in any given year.

It was so nice to talk to my friend. I want to do better. We are getting up in age, and I would hate to be in a situation where something bad happens and we don’t even know because we lost touch. Do I say all of that to her, or just make it easy and stay in closer touch? -- Rekindling Friendship

DEAR REKINDLING FRIENDSHIP: Why not go for the heart-to-heart truth? Tell your friend how much you miss your bond from years back. As a maturing person, you have a greater appreciation for the people who have been important in your life over the years. Express your desire to stay more closely connected to her. If she agrees, set reminders for yourself. I love smartphone calendars for that reason. You can put a reminder in there for every quarter so that you don’t let too much time go by. At that reminder mark, contact your friend and invite her to do something together. You both may find this reconnection to be pleasant and important at this stage in your life.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)