Dear Abby: I have seen several dogs and cats left outside in below-zero weather this winter. Yes, animals have fur to help them keep warm, but that doesn't mean they don't get cold (even in dog houses). People get cold staying outside for an extended amount of time, even when bundled up, so imagine how the animals feel. These innocent animals can suffer from frostbite and hypothermia just like humans.

Won't you please remind your readers that pets should be brought inside on cold days and nights? — Animal Lover in Norfolk, N.Y.

Dear Animal Lover: While some breeds of dogs fare better in cold weather than others, all of them need interaction with their guardians. The animals you observed may have been left in the cold out of ignorance on the part of the humans with whom they co-exist.

I don't care how furry some of our furry friends appear to be. Check with your veterinarian to see when your breed should be brought indoors.

Dear Abby: I'm a 45-year-old man with a dilemma. Two years ago, I met a wonderful 22-year-old woman who has a terrible eating disorder. Over the last two years she has been hospitalized probably 18 months out of 24. Many people have come into her life and promised to be her friend, and all of them have given up on her as her parents have.

There was a time when I didn't miss a day of visiting her, sometimes driving an hour and a half one way. I was the only person going there and bringing her what she needed or wanted. What started as a friendship turned into a relationship. We love each other very much.

The age difference is a problem to some people — the same ones who at one time didn't care enough to visit when she needed them the most. They say she won't live past the age of 25 because of the damage she has done to her body.

The short periods of time she has been out of the hospital we have traveled across the U.S. on little trips. She loved it, and so did I. All I want to do is make sure she enjoys what life she has left. I believe I'm doing the right thing. What do you think? — In Love in ST. Paul

Dear In Love: Your lady friend may be young, but you are both adults. Time is precious, and you should enjoy as much of it as you can together.

Also, unless you were told by her physician that she has only a short time to live, you shouldn't dwell too much on how long she has left. Happiness can be a great healer, and she could surprise everyone.


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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © Universal Press Syndicate