DEAR ABBY: Please remind readers to keep their dogs on a leash for their pets' protection and the protection of those around them. In my community, leash laws are rarely enforced. It's common to see dogs running loose in city parks. The result is an increase in dogfights and unwelcome contact with people. Coyote attacks are also common here, and small dogs are often the victims. If other dog owners kept their dogs leashed, I wouldn't have to worry about dogs bounding up to mine and the ensuing fight that follows when my dogs interpret that behavior as a threat. Just because you think your dog is friendly, doesn't mean all the other dogs are. If people would keep their dogs leashed, it would avert a myriad of problems for dogs and their owners. — MARGE IN PHOENIX
DEAR MARGE: Unless dog owners are in a designated area where their animals can run loose, their pets should be leashed. Off-leash dog parks (and beaches) provide a place for pets to exercise and socialize while also encouraging compliance with leash and "scoop" laws.
Coyotes are intelligent and highly adaptable. While they mostly hunt at night, they have also been known to "grab a snack" during the day if they are hungry. It has happened in an instant in front of the owner.
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DEAR ABBY: I'm moving in a few weeks and have asked my girlfriend of two years to move in with me. She's considering it, but I suspect she's unsure about it because I am pretty messy at times — underwear tossed on the floor, plates piling up in the kitchen every other day, etc.
I know if I could get my act together she would happily move in, which is something I really want. Can you please give me some tips on becoming better at cleaning? I would hate for her to move in and feel like my maid, or worse, not move in at all. — READY TO COHABIT
DEAR READY: Your problem may be less that you're messy than that you're a procrastinator. These are some basics: Buy a large wicker basket and keep it in a corner of your bedroom or closet. When the underwear and socks come off, toss them into the basket instead of on the floor. When you remove your pants and shirt, instead of throwing them over a chair, hang them up.
After you're finished eating, either put your plate, silverware, etc., into the dishwasher, or hand-wash them immediately and put them where they belong. Try it for a week, and you'll be amazed at how tidy your place will be.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.