LOVE ABBY: I have a friend whom I will call “Whitney” who regularly asks me to pet her for her. She usually asks me a week or less before she leaves. I love animals (I have several myself) so I keep doing this for them. But one problem always makes it harder. Abby, your house is dirty.
I have animals, so I know a bit of dog hair or cat litter goes with it. That is not the problem; it’s filth from people. There’s leftover food on counters, stovetops and cabinet doors, clothes and papers on the floors, and a bathroom that clearly hasn’t been cleaned in years. I refuse to use the toilet in their home and even sanitize my hands after I leave.
This makes it difficult for the pet to sit because I know I should be spending more time with their cats than just scooping litter and filling dishes, but I just can’t bring myself to really spend time in their house. How do I or should I bring this up to her? I fear these requests, but I do not want to leave an animal without basic care when it is gone. – RESISTANT PET SITTERS
DEAR SITTER: It’s time to tell Whitney that you no longer want to pet her for her, and when she asks you why, tell her the truth and encourage her to help clean up.
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LOVE ABBY: My son’s wife (I call her “Carla”) calls me when they argue. The last time my son went to prison for domestic violence. The policeman didn’t even speak to me.
Now my son no longer talks to me and I am no longer allowed to talk to my grandchildren. As for him, he says my husband and I are dead. We didn’t do anything but help Carla. It was my son’s third domestic violence violation. I’ve always had a great relationship with my grandchildren, but I haven’t seen them for over five months. I miss her a lot. Should I stand up to my son, tell him to grow up and let me see my grandchildren, or comply with his request and stay out of his life? – Punished IN MINNESOTA
STUDDED LOVE: You can’t force your son to do anything. Accusing him of being childish will only add more hostility. Talk to Carla and point out that your son needs psychological help. Carla should take the children with her and go to an animal shelter, because without professional help and the desire for change, your son’s attacks will escalate and he could one day seriously injure or kill her. Carla should contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help. The toll-free number is 800-799-7233.
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Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and founded by her mother Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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For what teenagers need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and how to interact with their peers and parents, see What Every Teen Should Know. Submit your name and mailing address and a check or money order for $ 8 (US money) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, PO Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
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