DR. WALLACE: I really, really need your help! My best girlfriend just moved to Florida with her family. She had the cutest little dog in the world. Every time I visited her house, we would play with her puppy. I loved this little guy, and he appeared to love the attention I gave him whenever I was over there. The day before my friend and her family moved, my friend called me and asked me to come over to her house because she had a big surprise for me. While walking there, I couldn't imagine what the surprise might be. When I arrived, I couldn't believe my eyes. She had her dog dressed in a little sweater, and she said she was giving him to me because she knows I love him and would be a good pet owner.
I've had this pup for a week, and now my mother is telling me that I have to find another home for him, and if I can't, he will have to go to a local animal shelter. My mom says having a dog is expensive and that our family is not rich. I'm 14, and I have no way of earning money at the moment. Next year, I'll be able to earn money by babysitting, especially if COVID-19 goes away by then or if there is a vaccine. Dr. Wallace, please tell my mom to let me keep this little dog! I love my mother, and I respect her advice, but I love this little guy, too! He is only a little less than 1 year old and is very healthy. — Wannabe Dog Owner, via email
MOM: If possible, please allow your very worried daughter to become an extremely happy young lady by saying three words: The dog stays. I trust this puppy will soon wind his way into your heart and bring the entire family much joy and companionship. He will become a faithful, loyal family member for many years to come. In a short time, you will likely love him as much as your daughter does.
DAUGHTER AND WANNABE DOG OWNER: You now have work to do on your end, young lady! The issue your mother raised is one of finances, and it's up to you to chip in to help finance the expense of pet ownership — if you are fortunate enough to have your mother agree to let you keep this little guy around.
Start by promising your mother that you will be willing to forgo all holiday and birthday gifts so the funds that will be saved can be used to support the cost of food, pet licensing and vet visits.
You should also focus on ways you can help earn a little money to contribute to these pet costs. Look into recycling cans, newspapers, plastic bottles and anything else that can earn you a little cash and keep our planet a little greener as well. This would be a wonderful way to help your cause and our environment.
Another thing you might be able to do is set up a neighborhood car wash to raise some funds. You could photocopy some flyers and give them out to all of the neighbors on your street. You sound like a wonderful young teenager, and I wish you all the best in your endeavors to fund what sounds like a wonderful little dog.
TAKE GRANDMOTHER'S ADVICE AT THIS TIME
DR. WALLACE: My parents are divorced, and I live with my mom and my grandmother. I'm 16 1/2 years old. My problem is that ever since the divorce, my mother has been very grouchy. She constantly blames me for every little thing, and she is often rude and unkind to Grandma and me.
Last night, I was talking to my boyfriend, and my mother walked by, took my cellphone from my hand and hung up the call! I was so embarrassed I broke into tears. When my boyfriend called back to find out what happened, he had to leave a message because my mother wouldn't let me answer my phone.
My father is living in a beautiful new apartment, and he wants me to come live with him and his new wife. I would have my own bedroom and live in a nicer neighborhood. Mother said I could go if I want to; she doesn't really care. I talked to my grandmother, and she said I should live with my father until my mother "gets her act together." I could also attend my same school next fall if it reopens. If not, my dad has some good computers, so I could do my schoolwork via videoconference with my teacher and classmates from his house.
But there will still be one big problem: If I do decide to live with Dad, I know I'll feel guilty about leaving my mom's house. — Torn Over Where To Live, via email
TORN OVER WHERE TO LIVE: Based upon what you've shared in your letter, it makes sense to take your grandmother's advice. If it turns out that your mother needs and wants you to come back when she "gets her act together," you still have the option to return to her if you want to.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: vlaaitje at Pixabay