Dear Abby: Roommates get snippy over canine care

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"The problem is the other couple has two dogs they expect us to take care of while they're at work."

"The problem is the other couple has two dogs they expect us to take care of while they're at work."

Robert Daly/Getty Images/Caiaimage

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are newlyweds and share an apartment with another couple because we ran into financial difficulties, and this was our only option. The problem is the other couple has two dogs they expect us to take care of while they're at work.

My husband and I get home two hours earlier than they do in the evening, and they have become accustomed to our generosity in occasionally taking the dogs out and walking them. They now expect us to do it every day, and get angry and nasty if we don't. Please help. -- IN THE DOGHOUSE IN GEORGIA

DEAR IN THE DOGHOUSE: You and your roommates appear to have a communication problem. Speak up. Tell them you dislike their palming off the responsibility for walking their animals and you won't be doing it anymore. Then remind them that while you were willing to do an occasional favor, you do not appreciate their attitude of entitlement. You are not their built-in dog walkers. You only have to occupy the "doghouse" if you allow yourself to be put in one.

DEAR ABBY: I have never told anyone about this. I was molested by my pastor when I was 8, and again when I was 14. I see a doctor because of depression and PTSD. My doctor doesn't know, and I don't want my family to know. I don't even know if the pastor is still alive. Should I tell my doctor or just let it go? I have heard about priests doing this, but I was going to a Pentecostal church. -- MALE READER IN KENTUCKY

DEAR MALE READER: It is very important for your mental health that you tell your doctor everything you have disclosed to me, because what happened to you is likely the cause of your depression and PTSD. Do this, not only for yourself, but also because it may help other young people who belong to that church and who also may have been molested by that predator.

DEAR ABBY: Is it appropriate to use dental floss in public? When my mom eats out, she uses dental floss while she is still at the table or while walking out of the restaurant. She thinks she's being discreet, but what she's doing is obvious.

When I ask her to stop, she says she can't stand having food in her teeth. I tell her to go into the restroom or do it outside, but she does neither and continues to floss. I'm hoping she'll listen to you and that you will back me up. -- ELLEN IN THE USA

DEAR ELLEN: I agree that flossing one's teeth in public is unsightly and something that should be done in private. If it becomes necessary, it should be done in the restroom. (Need I add that if there is mouth-rinsing, the sink should be cleaned afterward and any detritus stuck to the mirror removed?)

Reader claims many obituaries missing key information

DEAR ABBY: This may seem inconsequential, but there seems to be a growing trend of omitting a woman's maiden name in obituaries. As someone in my 70s, I read the obits more often, but I know I have missed opportunities to send condolences and offer childhood stories to family members of former playmates because I didn't know their married names. Often, parents are just mentioned as "deceased." It's as though the woman's life did not begin until she got married.

I have sent cards to many of the families of male classmates, but only to a handful of the females'. I realize that column space in newspapers is expensive but, surely, a name and perhaps even the mention of a high school wouldn't be a problem. -- MISSED CONDOLENCES

DEAR MISSED: If this is a "trend," it hasn't hit my local newspaper. The contents of obituaries are provided by the deceased's family unless the person is a celebrity -- in which case the article is written in advance by a reporter. If the maiden names of the women who died are missing, it is probably because they weren't mentioned by the grieving relatives.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a private duty nurse in my 50s and have two grown children. It's hard work. I have one big problem, which is very embarrassing. I used to work in a hospital and, because of the hectic work schedule, I had to eat fast. Our lunch break was only 30 minutes, and I had to stand in line to get my food. I never broke the habit.

I was eating at a restaurant recently and some people sitting across from me commented about it. The man said, "She eats like she's starving!" Now I feel insecure about going out to eat. Can you make a suggestion? I don't like takeout. -- FAST EATER IN TEXAS

DEAR FAST EATER: I do have one. When you take a bite of food, make a conscious effort to chew it 10 times. It will slow you down and it's better for your digestion. However, if you are unable to do that, then I suggest you stop listening to rude comments aimed in your direction by strangers.

P.S. Having a small snack an hour before mealtime may help you to eat more slowly because you won't be quite as hungry.

DEAR ABBY: Recently, family members have started texting to inform me about personal, private matters. When they do, I text back, which sometimes leads to lengthy paragraphs. I wish they'd just call me! I'm beginning to wonder if that's what they are avoiding. I should add that I am not feuding with my family. Am I wrong? -- PERPLEXED IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR PERPLEXED: No, you are not wrong. People have become so enamored of their electronic devices they seem to have forgotten that sometimes it's more efficient to just TALK to the other party. I know from personal experience that emailing and texting can take far more time than a spoken conversation.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.