Dear Amy: I know you are an animal lover, which is why I would appreciate your opinion on this.
I am a veterinarian and always express my sincere condolences when a customer loses a pet – I will send a card, make a donation to an animal charity and often follow up with an email or phone call.
Recently I lost my beloved dog and am a little shocked by the reactions of people I’ve known for years.
A very small number have expressed their condolences. The general attitude was that I should ‘get used to it’.
Amy, a vet never gets used to it. It’s such a powerless feeling not being able to heal your own pet, even though you know logically that everything possible has been done.
I try not to worry about this, but it’s hard.
Dear Grace: I’m so sorry. Any person who has lost a beloved pet mourns the loss of a companion and bond of friendship that is very difficult to describe, but should be easy to understand. Losing this connection brings a special kind of heartbreak.
To quote the late great poet Mary Oliver, whose collection “Dog Songs: Poems” (2015, Penguin) is a tender, moving and funny tribute to the dogs that romp through her life:
“Because of the dog’s cheerfulness, ours is magnified.
It’s no small gift.”
You shouldn’t interrupt your own grief to keep educating people about animal loss, and yet – if the people in your world aren’t giving you what you need right now, maybe you should let them know.
You might say, “My own experience of treating animals has not hardened my heart to the suffering and death of any pet—especially not my own dog.
I will never get used to this kind of loss, and I hope you can understand that. In fact, I could use some TLC myself right now.”
Dear Amy: I started dating my husband in 2012. We’ve been married for six years now.
We have both been married in the past and have grown children.
He and his ex were married for 13 years. They have two boys that I helped raise. They are now adults.
My husband’s ex-wife is a wonderful person, really. She’s very close to my mother-in-law and stays in her life, which is fine.
My problem is that I’ve only just started meeting the “family” and I still don’t know them all.
Whenever there is a family function on his side, my husband’s ex is always invited.
I feel like no one will ever know me because she is still always there at all positions.
We’re having a graduation party and she’s been invited to that too.
I personally have no problem with her, but would love to experience family things with just that… family.
Am I too much?
— The Now Woman
Dear wife: Your husband’s ex has stayed very close to his family – and this could be a nice result for families who can handle it. Most can’t.
But think of it this way: If she were a sister-in-law or a close friend of the family who attended every family gathering, her presence wouldn’t stop you from getting to know everyone better than the presence of another person.
Basically, I suggest you ignore her status as your husband’s long-ago ex, and focus on your own best behavior.
Be cool, be calm, ask good questions and show your in-laws your brilliance.
You will further strengthen these relationships by hosting some of your in-laws at your home in smaller groups (no need to invite your husband’s ex). Little by little, without these larger gatherings, you would build individual experiences with them.
Dear Amy: I have read with interest your response to the “Greg in Minnesota” who was concerned about the increased pollution caused by individuals idling their cars in parking lots.
The writer mentioned knocking on the offender’s window to confront them.
If I were to give him any advice, in addition to the stats you mentioned, I’d say “don’t”!
You don’t know who you are facing. Are they angry, frustrated, drunk, drunk, did they drink a firearm? You don’t know how they will react when confronted!
Best Concerned: Absolute! Based on the wording of his letter, I assumed “Greg” was no longer confronting people personally. I sure hope so.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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