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Annie: Abusive boyfriend worries woman's friend

DEAR ANNIE: Two nights ago, I witnessed my best friend being verbally abused by her boyfriend. The boyfriend was drunk and probably doing something illegal.

I listened to him yell at her on the phone all night while we were supposed to be spending time together for her birthday. It was 3 a.m., and he was demanding that I pick him up on my way to take her home. I told him no, because I didn't want him being drunk and possibly violent in my car.

I let my friend know that she can call me if she needs anything, and dropped her off at their house. Although I'm sure her boyfriend will eventually get himself arrested for violating his probation, I feel it is up to me to report him. But if I do, I will lose her friendship. Should I turn him in for the sake of my friend's safety or mind my own business? -- Unsure in Ohio

DEAR UNSURE: We aren't certain what this man was doing that violated his probation. Yelling at his girlfriend isn't enough to warrant a report, unless there is a restraining order preventing him from phoning her. Does his probation state that he cannot drink? If so, you should report him and let the chips fall.

Please be careful. This guy sounds like a loose cannon. Your friend should call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at 1-800-799-SAFE and ask for help.

DEAR ANNIE: I'd like to offer some additional advice to "Can't Stop Crying," who wants to keep the dog confined because "Lassie" scratches the floors, wears down the furniture and leaves dog hair all over. Her husband thinks she's being cruel and refuses to compromise. Now he sleeps with the dog, and she's in tears. Your suggestion to get a trainer to intercede was good, but it won't help with the dog hair.

My savior was an indoor invisible fence. It is a small unit that plugs into an outlet creating a barrier. Our dogs have freedom throughout the downstairs, except for the formal living and dining room. And the invisible fence also prevents the dogs from going upstairs to our bedrooms. We allow the dogs on the family room furniture, which gives them lots of snuggle time with us. The durability of washable dog blankets protects the furniture and can be removed when we have company.

Our dogs are spoiled and happy, and so am I. I'd also like to note that "Crying's" dog probably has become accustomed to sleeping with the husband and it will take a little tough love to break that habit. A friend found that it helped to give their dog a large stuffed animal to sleep with instead. -- M.

DEAR M.: Thanks for the additional suggestions.

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

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