Dear Annie: My son and his wife have an elderly cat who scratches herself raw. One night, I noticed that the poor thing had bleeding scabs. I asked how long it had been going on, and they said, "Years." I had no idea this cat was suffering.
My son said they weren't taking the cat to a vet, so I offered to do so and pay for the visit. The vet said it was the worst case of neglect she had seen. The cat has an abscessed tooth that needs to come out as soon as possible, and she also needs a major tooth cleaning.
I took the cat back home and said I would pay the $900 if they would schedule a vet visit. It has been three weeks, and now my son and his wife will not respond to our emails or texts asking when we can have the cat's teeth taken care of. Can you imagine the pain this poor cat is in?
I also happen to be an animal cruelty investigator for a well-known rescue group. I don't want this to come between us, but I refuse to go to their home and face that cat. It just breaks my heart. What should I do? — Animal Lover
Dear Animal Lover: It's possible your son and his wife are simply waiting for the cat to die, but they are not being compassionate about it. Phone them and insist on taking the cat to the vet and ask what time you can pick her up. Then do it. If they refuse your help, please report this to the authorities so the cat can be cared for properly. This is your job. They may not appreciate your interference, but you already are avoiding them, so you may as well do the humane thing.
Dear Annie: Whenever I look in the newborn section of my local newspaper, I am bewildered by some of the names given to these little ones — names that are hard to pronounce and complicated to spell. Some I've never heard of before.
I wish parents would think long and hard about the name they are burdening this infant with. That child has to live their entire life repeating, spelling and pronouncing their name so others won't get it wrong. It's not fair to the child.
When I married, I acquired a difficult surname that no one could spell or pronounce properly. It was enough to tear one's hair out. Upon divorce, I gladly took back my maiden name. — Been There, Done That
Dear Been There: We agree that some names are difficult to pronounce and harder to spell. While there are parents who saddle children with unconventional names as a form of self-indulgence, we believe most parents are simply trying to make their children special and unique. Children who hate their names often find ways to be called by nicknames or middle names.
Dear Annie: Loser Friends said her husband loaned $25,000 to "Cary," a friend on the brink of bankruptcy. Although the husband had good intentions, I am compelled to add some practical financial advice.
Bankruptcy is a financial tool to give a fresh start to someone who is over his head in debt. Had Cary simply found a good bankruptcy lawyer, gone through the proper steps and taken the required money management classes, his excessive debt would have been forgiven, and today he would be rebuilding his credit and his wealth.
The husband not only prevented Cary from getting the help he needed, but he also jeopardized his own future. He will never get that $25,000 back. A better friend would have helped Cary pay for a lawyer and perhaps buy his family groceries from time to time. — Understanding Is Better than Money
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. 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.