Living

Annie: Depressed dog owners disagree on how to heal

DEAR ANNIE: My wife and I are in our mid-70s and have no children. However, we have had pets, mostly cats, for all of our 50 years together.

About 13 years ago, we bought an 8-week-old female Boston terrier puppy. A few months later a friend called us about a female Boston terrier that he could not keep and offered it to us. We took it on a trial basis, and since it got along well with our dog (and our two cats), we ended up keeping it.

We loved them both like they were our children. They rarely barked, got along great with adult and child visitors and loved being in the car. They were the best pets we ever had. We loved them. Both dogs were under the regular care of a vet. About a month ago, Spunky died in her sleep. It was devastating to lose her. Then, two weeks later, Petunia died. We are truly heartbroken.

I want to get another puppy or young dog as soon as possible. However, the problem is my wife. She misses these dogs as much as I do, but feels we are too old to get another dog. What do you think? -- Grieving for Our Pets

DEAR GRIEVING: Our condolences on the loss of your beloved animals. Multiple studies have shown that seniors greatly benefit from having pets to love and care for. But do keep in mind that puppies are generally more work than older dogs. Your wife may not feel up to the task. Please discuss it with her and consider the possibility of adopting an older dog.

DEAR ANNIE: Last month, a dear friend died. He lived in another state, but he was buried here. His family had once been a large part of our community, but none of them has lived in our town for 30 years.

His widow spent a great deal of money on funeral arrangements and meals for the crowd that she expected to attend. I told her that only a few people would remember her husband, but she didn't listen. In fact, only a handful showed up for the service, including the men pressed into service as pallbearers and the women who helped serve the meal afterward. The widow could not believe that cousins, nieces and nephews from out of state did not pay their last respects to her husband.

I feel terribly guilty that I couldn't do more to curb the widow's expectations of a grand send-off for her husband and prevent her heartbreak. Maybe this letter will remind others to listen to the people who reside in their former hometowns before they make plans. Then I will have done something to avert such future disasters. -- An Avid Reader

DEAR READER: There is no reason for you to feel guilty. You did your best to dissuade this woman, but she was in denial.

To write to Annie's Mailbox, send to c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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