DEAR ABBY: A man I work with found a dog on his way to the office. He picked it up, took it home and was immediately talking about what a good playmate the dog would make. He said he tried to call the local animal shelter, but was put on hold twice, so he gave up.
I felt he should have made more of an attempt to find the owner before claiming it as his own. I immediately posted a free “found dog” ad online and, three weeks later, received a message.
It turned out the dog belonged to a 72-year-old woman who lives alone. She discovered her back door open one day and her dog missing. I put my co-worker in touch with the lady and said I’d leave it to him to do what he felt was best. After confirming the dog was indeed hers, he reluctantly returned it to her.
He is now telling everyone he’s very sad at his loss and that it was “almost as hard as having a dog put to sleep.” He’s receiving major sympathy from some of our co-workers who seem to be upset with me for posting the found dog ad. Am I wrong to think this small effort should have been expected in this situation, and what I did was the right thing? — DID THE RIGHT THING IN TEXAS
DEAR DID: I don’t think you did anything wrong, and I’m 100 percent positive that the dog’s owner would agree with me. She was probably worried sick, wondering if her beloved companion was lying injured or dead in a ditch somewhere.
While I appreciate your co-worker feeling a sense of loss at having to return the dog, he should be comforted in the knowledge that it’s in a home where it is loved and cared for. And that is NOT comparable to having to have one euthanized. However, because he is grieving, suggest he ask the owner for visitation. Out of gratitude, she may agree.
DEAR ABBY: I have been with my partner, “Pat,” for 10 years. For personal reasons, we have chosen not to get married. I call him my partner because, for the majority of our 10 years together, we have lived together. We share multiple financial commitments, and he is truly my partner in life.
My problem is, when I refer to Pat as my partner, people immediately ask me if I’m gay. I’m less worried about people thinking I might be a lesbian, but more that people might think Pat is a woman. Even his family members have remarked when I refer to him as my partner.
I know our friends and family respect our choice to not be married, but I’m not sure what to call him other than my partner. I feel that “boyfriend” is too casual for our level of commitment. I don’t have a problem calling Pat my partner. I do have a problem with all the unnecessary confusion that follows.
What should I call the man I am committed to and who is equally committed to me, when we have chosen to take the “no ring” route together? — NOT SINGLE IN ST. LOUIS
DEAR NOT SINGLE: You could use “better half,” but I think the word “partner” describes your relationship very well. If someone asks if you are gay or if Pat is a woman, don’t be defensive — just say no. Giving more information to someone who isn’t close enough to you to already be aware of your situation is oversharing.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.