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DEAR ABBY: I am writing hoping to avert another tragedy like we experienced last week. Our German shepherd, Leah, was playing with a hard rubber ball the size of a tennis ball. Somehow, the ball slid down her throat. I tried to dislodge it by grabbing and pulling it out, then I tried the Heimlich maneuver. Neither worked. By the time we got Leah to the veterinarian, she was dead. They tried for 25 minutes to revive her.
Leah was a friendly, funny, loving dog, not yet 2 years old. We miss her terribly. Abby, please tell your readers to never, ever let their dog play with any object that fits into its mouth. If it fits, it can lodge in the throat. I don't want anyone else to experience the pain of losing their dog like we lost ours.
-Karen In Center Valley, Pa.
DEAR KAREN: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your beloved pet. However, because you wrote to other dog owners, take comfort in the knowledge that you have very likely saved another four-footed family member's life.
DEAR ABBY: My well-meaning mother continues to give me "classics" from her wardrobe that she no longer wears. I'm a size 6 to 8 in my 50s. Mom is in her 80s and wears 12 to 14. Our sense of style is also not the same.
My problem is, after insisting I take these items, she'll often ask for them back several years later. It becomes awkward when I must explain I gave her clothes away. How can I politely stop her from gifting me these items?
-No Longer Has Them
DEAR NO LONGER HAS THEM: Say, "Mom, these things won't fit me. But I'll be glad to drop them off at a charity thrift shop for you." It's honest, it's practical, and someone can enjoy them.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married three years, and we are both lucky to have families that are kind and supportive. However, there is one recurring issue with his family that I find annoying.
Nobody in my husband's family has a driver's license or owns a car. This includes his two aunts and mother, who all live in the same town we do. As the only driver in the family, I am regularly asked to shuttle relatives to the doctor, the pet groomer, the grocery store, etc.
Abby, none of them have any physical or mental disability that prevents them from driving. We live in a city with a number of cab companies that serve the area. I work hard so I can pay my car insurance bills, my car payments and buy gas to get to where I need to. I'm starting to resent being asked to drive three able-bodied adults who are perfectly capable of driving themselves or taking a taxi.
Am I being inconsiderate? Is there a way to politely convey that I do not wish to play chauffeur?
-Driven Crazy In Massachusetts
DEAR DRIVEN CRAZY: Yes, there is - and because these are his relatives, your husband should be the one to tell them that you have been generous enough and it's time for them to arrange other transportation.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.