Childhood dog bite victim is happy with pet-free life

DEAR ABBY: I’m not a dog person. I’m not even an animal person. I am, however, surrounded by dog owners — my family, my husband’s family, my neighbors. Back in middle school, I was bitten several times by dogs while delivering my paper route.

My husband has been without a dog for five years (since the beginning of our relationship). Over the last six months, he has begun to ask when he can get “us” a dog. I absolutely do not want one. They’re not clean, they make “messes,” and we will constantly have to find someone to care for it when we travel. I have told him this, yet he continues asking. We can’t even agree on a hypothetical breed of dog.

I suppose I could say, “Go ahead,” with the condition that my husband will have to shoulder all pet-related responsibilities. But we both know how well that will work out. What do you think? — WARY IN WISCONSIN

DEAR WARY: There’s a saying, “Once bitten, twice shy.” Because you have been bitten more than once, your reason for not wanting a dog seems logical. Frankly, I think it would be unfair to the animal to bring it into a household in which it wasn’t unanimously welcomed. And if you think your husband would lay the responsibility for caring for the dog on you, you should not agree.

DEAR ABBY: My 62-year-old father has recently started to streak his hair with fluorescent colors. He does it when he goes to his job and coordinates his hair color with his outfits. As far as I know, his employer has not said anything as of yet.

Also, Dad has difficulty with social cues. My mother and I aren’t happy with his “fashion” choices and we plead with him to stop doing this. It’s embarrassing because it looks stupid and ridiculous. He claims he doesn’t care what others think and that he has flair.

Are my mother and I wrong to criticize his “flair”? Isn’t this behavior really inappropriate for a man his age? How can we convince him that he’s making a fool of himself and should stop? Your help is appreciated. — NO FOOL LIKE AN OLD FOOL

DEAR N.F.L.A.O.F.: Repeat after me: We cannot change other people; we can only change the way we react to them. Understand that how your father presents himself reflects only on him — not you. Because you and your mother have tried reasoning with him and he refuses to listen, you all might be happier if you stop making HIS fashion choices YOUR problem.

DEAR ABBY: My wife seems to only want to have sex with me when I’m supposed to be at work. It’s really flattering, but I am at risk of losing my job. We don’t have enough savings to last more than a couple of months if I’m out of work. She wanted me to call in sick today, but I didn’t know how to say no without offending her. Help! — JOHN IN CANADA

DEAR JOHN: Try this. Ask your wife, “Which is more important to you — me in your bed or food on the table and a roof over our heads? I’ll be home by 6 o’clock. Be ready!”


DEAR ABBY: Regarding the letter from “Dumbstruck in the East” (April 22), whose 9-year-old daughter has been getting “proposals of marriage” from a church usher in his 70s. An old man at church said things like that to me when I was about her age. He also was always trying to hug me. It made me uncomfortable and I disliked it. My mother never thought twice about him hugging me. Years later, when I was an adult, I learned he was a pedophile.

Her parents should go directly to the minister and let him know what is going on. If the parents decide to tell the usher his comment is not appreciated, they should say it’s uncalled for and please stop making that type of remark. While his comment may be harmless, you never know for sure. — ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR CAUTION: Readers had various reactions to that letter. Some echoed your sentiments, while others felt differently. Read on:

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.