DEAR ABBY: Recently we moved into a new home. Somehow, Pookie, our little dog, got out of the yard. He never goes out, even when the door is open. I didn't realize he was gone until 3 a.m., when I was awakened by his yelping.

I looked through the house and yard and couldn't find him. At daybreak, I got into my car and went looking for him. No luck. When I returned home, I found a message on our answering machine saying a man had found our Pookie, miles away, dead on the highway! He told us where to find him. We searched but found nothing. I telephoned everyone I could think of: police, Animal Control, SPCA, etc. Finally, I asked a city crew that was cutting weeds if they had seen him. Yes, they had! They found Pookie and another dog dead on the highway, so they buried both dogs by the mountains, where they bury all domestic animals they find dead.So - to end this story, I just wanted to let people know that if that caring, concerned man hadn't taken the time to stop and check Pookie's rabies tag number and track us down, we never would have known what happened to our dog. I know I never would have stopped looking for him.

How caring it was for the street crew to have buried Pookie instead of throwing him in the dump. I was able to thank the city crew, but not the man who found him. I hope he knows how we appreciated his kindness. Thank you, stranger! - JEFFERSON COUNTY, COLORADO

DEAR JEFFERSON: Losing a treasured pet is painful, but the pain of not knowing what happened to the pet compounds the agony.

Pet owners should always have current ID tags on their pets, even those that are "never" out of doors. It can save a lot of heartache.

DEAR ABBY: Regarding the question: "Who should go to the airport to meet the man who has been overseas for over a year? His wife and parents, or only his wife?" You said, "His parents and wife should meet him." Your answer was right on, Abby.

I'll never forget coming home from Vietnam after being gone for 14 months. My wife created a fuss because I had written to my parents insisting that they be at the airport, too - but in separate cars. I wanted the same loved ones who saw me off to be there for my return.

It worked out beautifully! After the welcome-home hugs and kisses were over, I loaded my bags into our car, and my wife and I went home together while my parents drove home in their own car.

I still have my parents. But my wife and I were divorced when I learned that she wasn't all that lonely while I was away. - VIETNAM VET IN K.C.

DEAR VET: Thanks, I needed your vote. You and I were outnumbered about 500-to-1.

CONFIDENTIAL TO "GRIEVING IN ARIZONA": My heart goes out to you. "I can think of nothing more unnatural, nothing that leaves God with more explaining to do, than the loss of a child." (Jean Harris)

Everything you'll need to know about planning a wedding can be found in Abby's booklet, "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)