DEAR ABBY: I work for a major lending company and have cleaned out foreclosed homes. Too many times, I find animals who have died from exposure or literally starved to death.

My message to homeowners is: PLEASE make arrangements for your pets if you can’t take them with you. Once a loan company notifies you of foreclosure, it can be many weeks before someone enters that home. Give your pet a fighting chance! – DISCOURAGED IN ILLINOIS

DEAR DISCOURAGED: I’m pleased to pass along your important message. If living arrangements change, your family pet should not be abandoned or dumped to fend for itself. Contact a rescue group so the animal can be placed for adoption with another pet lover or a shelter.

DEAR ABBY: I have often read complaints about people who are chronically late, but I have the opposite problem with my friend, “Adele,” who is annoyingly early.

If I am hosting a get-together, Adele invariably arrives 45 to 60 minutes before the start time. I am usually making last-minute preparations then and have sometimes not even gotten into the shower yet. If we are going to an event together, Adele will also arrive long before the appointed time, and I feel rushed and rude for ignoring her while I get ready. If I am driving, when I pick her up she’s always waiting on her front step as though I am late.

Abby, I am a prompt person. I always try to get to an appointment five to 10 minutes early, or arrive at a party 10 to 15 minutes after the appointed time, which I have been told is good manners. Other than this one issue, Adele and I are close, and I enjoy her companionship very much. I don’t want to jeopardize our friendship. Am I rude for making her wait, or is she rude for imposing herself on me? – ON TIME IN GERMANTOWN, WIS.


DEAR ON TIME: It is as rude to arrive very early as it is to show up very late. According to Emily Post’s “Etiquette,” a person should show up for an appointment (or social engagement) on time or shortly after the time it is scheduled.

Adele may be lonely and hungry for company or have a lot of time on her hands, but you should be good enough friends that you can explain that when she shows up as early as she does, it puts undue pressure on you. And the fact she chooses to wait on her front step to be picked up should not make you feel guilty. It is her preference, and not a reflection on you.

DEAR ABBY: After I ordered at a fast-food establishment, the cashier informed me of the amount of the bill. I had the correct change and placed the money on the counter. She looked at me and told me it was rude to place the money on the counter instead of into her hands. She asked me if I had a problem with handing her the money.

I was offended. Since I have never worked in the fast- food industry, does placing payment on the counter send a negative message? What are your thoughts, Abby? – BURGER BOY IN MISSISSIPPI

DEAR BURGER BOY: I think the cashier may have been having a bad day and was looking for a reason to dump on someone. Whether you placed the cash on the counter or into her hands, your bill was paid, and this is all that matters as long as you were polite to her.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable – and most frequently requested – poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby – Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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