Dear Annie: Both of my parents are in their mid-80s. My father has become rather frail, but won’t admit it, and my mother requires a walker to get around.
Over the past 30 years, they have had several lovely dogs.
The last one, “Rex,” passed away last summer. I believe lack of exercise and a poor diet contributed much to his declining health.
Rather than make sure Rex got regular walks, my father allowed the dog to forget his house training.
Although Dad did his best to “clean up,” the accumulation left in the carpets created an overwhelming stench.
My housebound mother became so embarrassed that she stopped receiving visitors. My father gradually lost his sense of smell and taste and, to this day, does not believe anything was wrong with the situation.
Rex’s passing was a relief to me. He was a big dog in a small house and posed a danger of tripping or toppling my mother, who is very unsteady.
Also, without a large dog, it would be easier for them to move into an assisted-living arrangement should the need arise.
Unfortunately, I’ve learned that my father wants to adopt a puppy. This sounds totally irresponsible to me and once again puts my mother in harm’s way. And, it’s not at all fair to the dog. Talking to my father is like talking to Attila the Hun in a bad mood. What can I do? — Dogged Out
Dear Dogged: Talk to your mother.
Ask her how she feels about having a puppy underfoot.
If she doesn’t want a dog, she must tell your father quite firmly that it’s completely out of the question.
If she will not do this and your father acquires an animal and is unable to properly care for it, call the local humane society.
Dear Annie: My father has worked hard his entire life and has a lot to show for it. He served 30 years in the military and retired with many honours. Over the years, he has become very savvy with his finances and created quite a nest egg for himself. I respect and admire him deeply.
I am in my early 20s. I graduated from college, found a wonderful career with a good salary and live very modestly.
The problem is, my father refuses to allow me to pay for anything when we go out, whether it’s dining at a restaurant or going grocery shopping.
This makes my younger brother and me uncomfortable. We have repeatedly tried to take my father out to dinner for special occasions and birthdays, but he always grabs the cheque.
When I tell him how much this bothers me, he brushes it off and says I should be saving my money. How can I show my father that I have reached a point where he does not have to pay for me every time we go out? — Confused
Dear Confused: Stop trying. It makes your father happy to treat you. It is a testament to his parenting skills that you and your brother are eager to show how self-supporting you are, but he isn’t going to let you. Instead, treat him to other things — tickets to join you for a play or concert, or a home-cooked meal at your apartment. He’ll be delighted.