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Dear Amy: The dog I had for over 10 years recently had to be euthanized.
I loved my dog, but being a pet owner often made me feel guilty. I often felt that I had to choose between being with our dog or being a good mother to my kids.
I realize that I was not ready to own a pet when I first got her. I made many blunders that I still regret to this day.
My husband also loved our dog, but I believed that what he loved most was having a dog — any dog. I had this dog before we got married (over a decade ago), and I think I presented myself as a dog person, when actually I was only a “that dog” person.
He has brought up getting another dog for his birthday in a few months, and has been looking at local animal shelters. He said he didn’t enjoy living in a house without a dog in it.
Amy, I loved my little dog, and if I could have her back, healthy and happy, I would. But I honestly don’t think I will ever want another dog, due to the guilt that comes with it.
I believe that if I said I didn’t want other dogs, I would be asking him to make a big lifestyle change, and maybe even change who he is as a person.
Just thinking about getting another dog stresses me out, and thinking about telling him stresses me out.
Dear Dogless: My recent adoption of the world’s cutest terrier has given me some personal insight into what you are describing. The guilt of not being able to make every single day The Best Dog Day Ever is intense, and that legendary unconditional canine love can actually make the guilt-burden seem heavier.
You entered the marriage with a dog in hand/paw, but I wonder if the dynamic would be different if this time around your husband adopted the dog and took primary responsibility for its feeding, care, exercise, and entertainment.
Children eventually graduate from the household, while your dog’s needs increase with time. A dog’s health and happiness is completely dependent on you until the end. And the end, as you know, can be heartbreaking.
If you were the backup parent, you might feel the burden differently. And understand that the rookie mistakes you made last time (and which you still feel guilty over) would not be a factor now.
I hope you will be brave enough to be totally frank with your husband about this and that you will both take ample time to think this over carefully.
If your husband feels very strongly about this, he might want to foster a dog for a few weeks to basically test the waters for both of you.
Dear Amy: I met my biological father only two times, both times briefly, when he came to visit me.
About two years ago, I texted his wife to ask about him. She never replied back.
My mother never told me of him nor talked about him.
I know nothing about myself other than my place of birth.
I wonder often about who I am, about my biological father’s other children, and health information. I’m now 77. Am I wrong for wanting to know these things?
How would I find the answers to these things?
Dear Lost: You are not wrong for wanting to know more about your family heritage!
If you know your biological father’s surname and your place of birth, you could do some genealogical research. Ask your reference librarian at your local library for ways to get started.
You should also consider at-home DNA testing. When you register on a site and submit a DNA sample, you would then be connected with others who share your DNA, if they are also registered. This could potentially connect you not only with possible siblings, but with aunts, uncles and cousins.
I would also suggest mailing a letter and/or phoning, versus texting your biological father’s wife. I’m assuming that she is older than you are, and many older people don’t use text messages to communicate.
Dear Amy: The conversation in your column about strong food aversions brought me back. My father forced me to eat potatoes. I literally sat in front of a pile of cold mashed potatoes after everyone else had left the table.
I finally ate them. Then I threw them back up.
– No Spuds for Me
Dear No Spuds: Mission very much accomplished.