Dear Sun Spots: I am encouraged to write you for help when I see the answers you glean for so many diverse problems. You’ve no idea how much your column is enjoyed and appreciated. Thank you.

I have a photo by Purdy of 146 Tremont St., Boston, with the caption “Bide-A-Wee.” It is of seven stylishly dressed ladies, complete with amazingly decorated hats: birds, ribbons, even á la Carmen Miranda flowers.

My mother, a native of Winchester, Mass., was born in the 1870s. The photograph came from her. Maybe the name will hopefully trigger a memory somewhere. I noted in the Feb. 6 Sun Journal an article with a photograph that included a volunteer with the Bide-A-Wee shelter on Manhattan’s East Side. I mention it because it’s the first time I’ve seen a reference to Bide-A-Wee. – No Name, No Town.

Answer: Sun Spots located the animal shelter that she believes you are referring to. According to, the organization was founded in 1903 by Flora Kibbe. Bide-A-Wee is one of the oldest humane organizations in the United States. Kibbe came up with the idea to start Bide-A-Wee after seeing an animal rescue operation on a visit to Paris.

“Bide-A-Wee,” is a Scottish phrase that means “stay awhile.”

One of its early activities was putting up water troughs around New York City so that riding and carriage horses could have fresh water while they worked.

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, Bide-A-Wee sent veterinarians, technicians and volunteers to Ground Zero to help take care of the search-and-rescue dogs working at the site.

Bide-A-Wee serves the New York metropolitan area with three adoption centers/animal shelters – one in New York City and two on Long Island in Wantagh and Westhampton. They find homes for close to 5,000 animals per year. In its 102 years, they have found homes for more than a million dogs, cats, kittens and puppies.

More than 20,000 animals receive lifesaving care annually at the three Bide-A-Wee veterinary clinics. Hundreds of dogs and cats are spayed and neutered annually for free during their summer spay/neuter program.

Tens of thousands of animals are buried at the two pet memorial parks in Wantagh and Westhampton. Wantagh is the resting place for Checkers, a Nixon family pet. The organization is run solely on donations.

The mention of Bide-A-Wee in the Feb. 6 Sun Journal was in reference to a Chinese New Year celebration in New York City for the Year of the Dog. Several animal welfare groups, including Bide-A-Wee, used the occasion to remind people that shelters are full of dogs needing homes.

Dear Sun Spots: I see in the Sun Spots column that you help many people with their inquiries.

I would like to know if there is a toy dealer in the area who buys used toys in very good condition, such as:

Nintendo with games

Super Nintendo with games

Matchbox cars

Transformer action figures

Thank you. – No Name, Lewiston.

Answer: In addition to responses from readers, according to an article online at, toy buying and selling has stepped up dramatically on the Internet via such places as eBay. You might want to consider using any of these for selling your items. Unfortunately, Sun Spots did not locate any toy dealers who are willing to purchase these items. Perhaps there are families seeking these particular items who would be willing to contact you about them. Or perhaps they know of some dealers and would be willing to share those sources with column readers.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at in the Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]

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