Dear Ann: Ten years ago, I married "Richie." At the time, I had two dogs and a cat, and Richie had a male schnauzer. What I didn't know was that the schnauzer was allowed to beg at the table and steal food from the pantry. He slept on the bed, crawled all over the furniture, and barked day and night. The final straw was when the dog urinated on every piece of clothing I owned. Richie refused to take the dog for obedience training and didn't care about the "territorial markings."
The schnauzer is now 14 years old. He is totally deaf, has no teeth, is arthritic and incontinent and wets on everything. When my pets became old and sick, I took them to the vet and had them put to sleep. Richie refuses to do this.
If I give Richie an ultimatum, the dog or me, I know he will choose the dog. I need some advice. Former Animal Lover in Wyoming
Dear Wyoming: The vet could turn out to be your "savior." That schnauzer is not enjoying life, and he is making yours miserable. Give the vet a call, and ask him to suggest "the humanitarian thing" the next time Richie brings him in for a check-up. Let the vet know how sad the dog is, and lean on him to "do his duty."
Dear Ann: Thank you for printing the letter saying it's time to stop the practice of dumping ice water on the coach after a victory. It may be fun for the players, but I can tell you, it is no fun for the coach.
I recall when the team I coached played on an extremely hot day. When we won, the players dumped a bucket of Gatorade on my head. My body went into a cold shock, and it was hours before I got over it. Of course, I was expected to smile and laugh it off in the spirit of good sportsmanship, and I tried, but it wasn't easy.
We coaches love to win and are thrilled that the players want to show their appreciation, but give us a break. No name, please, just A Coach in Arkansas
Dear Coach: You weren't the only one to speak up. Here's a letter that twirled my turban:
Dear Ann: After coaching the Los Angeles Rams for several years and leading the Washington Redskins to a Super Bowl, legendary coach George Allen's last coaching assignment was at Long Beach State in the early 1990s. In his final season there, the team won the last game of the season, and the players doused Allen with a bucket of ice-cold water. Coach Allen remained in his wet clothes for several hours, being interviewed by reporters and winding down after the game.
As a result of the dunking, Allen contracted viral pneumonia and was dead within a few weeks. This dangerous practice should be outlawed. Max in California
Dear Ann: My sister and I have an elderly aunt who worked hard her entire life and saved $40,000. Auntie recently entered an assisted-living complex. I pay her rent with her pension and Social Security money. My sister and I put my aunt's savings into a CD with both our names on it.
Three months ago, Sis asked if she could use $30,000 of Auntie's money for a down payment on a house. She promised to pay it back. I told her this was not our money, and I didn't want her to do it. Sis exploded in anger, saying she only asked as a courtesy and could not believe I would refuse her. She cashed in some bonds instead and claims my "selfishness" cost her an additional $5,000 in taxes. She hasn't spoken to me since. How can we be a family again? Her Brother in Texas
Dear Brother: What your sister calls "selfishness," I call integrity. You were right to say no to her proposal. You did the honorable thing, and your sister should not punish you for your decency. I hope my input helps mend the rift.