DEAR ABBY: I’m 13, and my “first kiss” just broke up with me. My dad says it’s just puppy love, which may be true, but I have a feeling that I need to be with him. What hurts even more is he had a new girlfriend the next day.

 I have tried moving on, but I don’t think I want to. I want to try to get back with him, but I don’t know how. Can you help me? — ACHING HEART IN IOWA

DEAR ACHING HEART: If your “first kiss” broke up with you and had a new girlfriend the next day, what it shows about him is that he has a short attention span. I know you would like to get him back, but the word from here is: Don’t waste your time. While the end of a romance is painful, chalk it up to experience and a part of growing up. There is no growth without a little pain; and it only hurts for a little while. Trust me on that.

 Now a little advice woman-to-woman: Once it’s over, all the note writing, phoning or conniving will not help your cause. Accept that it’s time to forget him. The longer you linger, the more foolish you will appear. So stand up straight, smile and move on. There are better days — and better boys — ahead.

 DEAR ABBY: Would you please print this to educate your readers about something I witness every summer — parents encouraging little kids to take native wildlife.

 I watched a 6-year-old girl show off the two palm-sized baby turtles her dad had “given” her from the lake, and put them into a plastic container to take home. Abby, they were snapping turtles! Mom won’t be pleased when those “pets” snap a finger.

 Then there was the mom who thought it would be fun for her 7-year-old boy to play with a few frogs in their dry, dense, sun-drenched backyard. Within an hour, the amphibians had escaped and, best guess is, they died and became dehydrated, sun-dried critters or dog food.

 Abby, not only is it illegal to take wildlife on a whim, but it’s also selfish. At a time when we’re already damaging our planet for our recreational pastimes, we need to be teaching our kids that living beings are not toys, but rather a valuable part of natural ecosystems. It’s so much more fun to observe and learn from a turtle swimming free in the lake. Please urge parents to stop being so thoughtless, or they may end up with a ticket or a missing digit. — WILDLIFE PRESERVER IN LAFAYETTE, COLO.

 DEAR WILDLIFE PRESERVER: Well said. Children — and too many adults — act on impulse when they pick wild plants and flowers, or decide to “adopt” little feral creatures that are destined to die when taken from their natural habitat. Earth Day is April 22 — that’s Thursday — and it offers a chance for all of us to do something positive for the planet. Many parents use it as an opportunity to bond with their children, and some schools offer credit to students who participate. (Hint, hint.)

 DEAR ABBY: How do you attract single women while on a budget? — GARY IN LONGWOOD, FLA.

 DEAR GARY: Matinees cost less for admission than late shows, and if there are any museums that are not too far away, check out free museum days. A picnic in the park or a day at the beach doesn’t cost a lot — and neither do outdoor activities such as biking or hiking. You really don’t have to have a lot of money to attract a nice woman. And anyone who makes you feel otherwise is someone you should run from.

 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.

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