Brother neglects responsibilities of dog ownership
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
DEAR HARRIETTE: My brother and I live together in a two-apartment house. I like our arrangement. Even though we are both adults, we are young, and it feels safer having him around. He has a dog — a puppy, really — that he got about a year ago. Because my brother is still in school and working, he is not often home when it's time to walk the dog, so I have become the default walker. I walk the dog when I get home from work. He often sleeps in my apartment because my brother gets home late. In those instances, I walk him before bed, too.
I love the dog, so I don't really mind. But recently I learned that there have been some robberies in the neighborhood. I'm worried about walking the dog at night. What can I do? My brother has left the responsibility up to me. — Walking the Dog
DEAR WALKING THE DOG: You need to talk to your brother and explain the situation. Remind him that this is his dog, after all, but now that there is a safety concern, you feel uncomfortable walking the dog at night. Tell him you need him to step up and figure out how he can be a more active participant in caring for his dog.
For the nights when he isn't at home and the dog needs to relieve itself, use a long leash that allows the dog to walk around just outside your door without the need for you to go on an actual walk. This isn't ideal, but is should keep you safer.
TRUTH IN FRIENDSHIP
DEAR HARRIETTE: I reconnected with a college friend whom I really love and was close to back in the day. We used to talk and get together all the time for years, but time passed and life got in the way, I guess. Anyhow, now it's rare if we connect in any given year.
It was so nice to talk to my friend. I want to do better. We are getting up in age, and I would hate to be in a situation where something bad happens and we don't even know because we lost touch. Do I say all of that to her, or just make it easy and stay in closer touch? — Rekindling Friendship
DEAR REKINDLING FRIENDSHIP: Why not go for the heart-to-heart truth? Tell your friend how much you miss your bond from years back. As a maturing person, you have a greater appreciation for the people who have been important in your life over the years. Express your desire to stay more closely connected to her. If she agrees, set reminders for yourself. I love smartphone calendars for that reason. You can put a reminder in there for every quarter so that you don't let too much time go by. At that reminder mark, contact your friend and invite her to do something together. You both may find this reconnection to be pleasant and important at this stage in your life.
BLACK IN BUSINESS
DEAR HARRIETTE: I understand, as an African American, that supporting black-owned businesses is a must in the community. However, it is difficult because I find that many black business owners overcharge their clients. Do you know a reason for this, and if this issue will ever be resolved? — Supporting Community Businesses
DEAR SUPPORTING COMMUNITY BUSINESSES: Many people try to support others in their ethnic group when making purchases. If you look at communities throughout this country, you will see evidence of this, where money changes hands multiple times within communities, thus helping them to grow and prosper. I will also say that, sadly, this occurs less often in the black community than in many others. I believe this has more to do with the history of our country and how family groups were systematically broken up and allegiances destroyed at the very time when people should have been banding together.
To your point about pricing, it may be true that some vendors overcharge for items. Of course you should be a conscientious shopper. But I will also point out that typically a small business — regardless of the owner's race or ethnicity — cannot compete with a larger chain that has the option of buying merchandise at deep discounts that can subsequently be passed on to the consumer. You may want to make certain purchases locally and leave other, higher-ticket items for the big discounters.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been volunteering with a mentoring program at a local high school for many years. Recently, my contact at the school retired, and I haven't gotten a call from the school to ask for my help. I think that's kind of weird, and it hurt my feelings that they seemed to drop me. I like working with the students and think my contribution was beneficial. Do you think I should follow up with the administrator or even call my friend who retired and ask him to put in a good word for me? If my memory of timing is right, I believe we are either at or beyond the deadline for signing up for this enrichment program. — Want to Help
DEAR WANT TO HELP: I think you should reach out to your original contact and let him know what's happening. Ask for his advice on how to approach the school in his absence.
Next, either with his support or alone, contact the administrator of the program and make it clear that you would like to continue to be a resource for the students. Ask if the deadline has passed already for you to be involved in the program.
Make it clear that you would like to remain a part of the volunteer base for this program if the school still wants you. Even though your friend has retired, you are eager to be of service. You may also want to remind the administrator of your unique qualities and what you have historically offered to the students.
Harriette Cole is a lifestyle writer and author, nationally syndicated advice columnist and motivational, wife and mother. She founded Dream Leapers, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.