Dear Annie: I’ve been seeing two women for several months. Neither relationship is that serious, and I enjoy the time I spend with them equally.
However, I’ve reached the point where I have to choose between them. I’m looking to settle down and see one of them exclusively. I’m not asking you to tell me whom I should pick. I need to know how I should go about letting the other gal down.
It would be easy, except the women work together at the same company. They each know I am friends with the other, but don’t know I’m dating both. How can I emerge from this delicate situation without hurting either woman’s feelings? No matter which one I pick, I’d still like to be friends with the other. — It’s Complicated
Dear Complicated: You’re an optimistic fellow. Whoever you let down will be hurt and disappointed, and when she discovers you’ve been two-timing her with a co-worker, she will be furious. And so will the other woman. We suggest breaking up with one of them immediately and allowing some time to pass before making your relationship with the other public knowledge.
Dear Annie: I lost my pet dog the other day. He was so special to me. I was just wondering if I would ever see him again, or is his life just over? Every religion seems to have a different answer. — Wondering in Salem, Ore.
Dear Wondering: Here’s one of our favorite essays that may provide some comfort:
Do Dogs Go to Heaven?
by the Rev. Dale Turner (1917-2006)
Looking back across the years I see how important dogs have been in my life. I had been an ordained minister only a few weeks when I received a call from an 8-year-old boy. His dog had been killed by a car. “Mr. Turner,” the lad sobbed, “do you do funerals for dogs?”
I didn’t know quite how to respond, but I recalled the Scriptures’ affirmation of God’s knowing when even a sparrow falls. I replied, “Why not?” and I conducted a little ceremony for the boy’s pet. He was very pleased and then asked, “Is my dog going to heaven?” I wasn’t prepared for that question, but my love for animals got me through it. I’m sure I made the child feel better.
Several years later I had my own personal experience that provided the answer I had never been sure of.
Our wonderful dachshund, Gretta, died and we were eager to bring another dog into our home. We went to the pound to get the dachshund whose photo had appeared in the paper. By the time we arrived, it had been claimed. Another puppy, sensing our mission, poked her nose through the wire fence. The look in her eyes seemed to say, “Please, pick me.” We did. And we named her Pick.
Whenever I came home, Pick was there to greet me. I’d say, “Pick, you’ve got it made. Other animals work for their keep. A canary sings, cows give milk, chickens lay eggs, but you don’t have to do anything but hang around.”
After 14 years, Pick became very sick and there was nothing to be done except put her out of her misery. With a heavy heart I drove her to the vet’s, who did what had to be done. I then went back to my study and wept for hours.
A few days later, a parishioner who knew of my grief sent me this poem. It healed my sorrow. Perhaps it will help others. I’d like to share it.
I explained to St. Peter,
I’d rather stay here,
Outside the pearly gate.
I won’t be a nuisance,
I won’t even bark,
I’ll be very patient and wait.
I’ll be here, chewing on a celestial bone,
No matter how long you may be.
I’d miss you so much, if I went in alone,
It wouldn’t be heaven for me.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.3.08