Dear Annie: Six years ago, our daughter left her dog with us. We've grown to love "Lassie" and would never give her back now. But she wears down the furniture, scratches the floors and leaves lots of hair all over.
Last year, we were blessed with grandkids, so now our living room is gated off from Lassie. We keep her in a large crate, which is very comfortable and that I refer to as her "apartment." She seems to like it, so when she is not playing outside, I put her in the crate so she doesn't roam the entire house.
Well, my husband is having a fit. He says I am cruel to "cage an animal." I now sleep alone in my bedroom while my husband and Lassie use the rest of the house. My husband has no interest in my feelings on the matter and refuses to consider a compromise. What do you think? — Can't Stop Crying
Dear Crying: According to the Humane Society, crating a dog is a perfectly appropriate way to train the animal not to destroy the house. The crate becomes the dog's "home." Even so, it is not recommended that you leave the dog in the crate too many hours at a time, because all animals need exercise and human interaction, and you don't want the crate to become a punishment. The point is to train Lassie not to scratch the furniture or do other destructive behaviors.
But a certain amount of wear and tear is to be expected from any animal companion. If you are trying to prevent Lassie from leaving hair around the house or wearing down the furniture through normal usage, you are being unfair. Of course, your husband is being equally unreasonable by banishing you to the bedroom while he cavorts with the dog. Tell your husband that you are willing to rethink the issue if the two of you can discuss it with a dog trainer and both promise to abide by the professional advice given.
Dear Annie: My sister has been in long-term care for more than a year as a result of several strokes and a broken hip.
I recently ran into her brother-in-law. He asked me how she was doing. He said he didn't know where she was staying. So I told him. This brother-in-law lives one mile from his nephew, my sister's son.
Please, people, don't forget about your loved ones. Don't give excuses. And if you decide to visit, refrain from carping about your lot in life. My sister can't tie her shoes, dress herself, cut a piece of chicken or use the bathroom without assistance. I guess you could say she's in her own kind of prison without parole. — Her Sister
Dear Sister: A lot of people are reluctant to visit relatives or friends in nursing homes because they don't know what to say or how to spend the time with someone who may not be communicative. They feel awkward and avoid going. So here are some suggestions: Bring photographs of people they know, play music they grew up with, read from a favorite book, ask whether you can take them for a walk. Once you see how simple it is and how gratifying it can be, you will be more inclined to go again.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.
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