Dear Annie: I’ve been married for 24 years and have five children (two in college). I have spent most of my married years raising them, taking care of the home front and minding our family business.
Two years ago, my husband retired early, at age 45, and promised he’d find other work to compensate for the expected loss of income. After a year of waiting for him to find that “other” work, nothing ever came of his promise. He manages the family business, which is suffering badly, and has never seriously sought additional employment.
We have dealt with depression, anger and alcoholism (still there), and I have had enough. My problem is, I don’t know what my rights and responsibilities are regarding my share of ownership in the family business. We have agreed to sell it, but who wants to buy a failing business? In the meantime, I have secured a very promising career with a good salary. I am tired of living my life on an emotional roller coaster and would appreciate your timely advice. — Desperate in Massachusetts
Dear Desperate: You need the services of two professionals — a marriage counselor and an attorney. The attorney will let you know what your responsibilities and rights are regarding a jointly owned business. The counselor will help you determine if the marriage is worth saving.
Some men, after retirement, become severely depressed and lack motivation. However, many of these men discover that their skills are valuable in teaching and mentoring, and the renewed sense of worth gives their life meaning. For the wives, of course, it takes a great deal of patience to hang in there, but it often works out best in the long run. Please consider all options before giving up.
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to “Grossed-Out in Illinois,” whose future in-laws fed their dog from the table and then let the dog lick the plates before they went into the dishwasher.
I am a veterinarian, and I repeatedly warn clients of the perils of feeding their dog table scraps. Dogs are unable to handle varied dietary ingredients and fatty foods the way humans do. At the very least, it can cause flatulence, diarrhea, vomiting, obesity, allergies or intestinal infection. It may also lead to a serious and potentially fatal case of pancreatitis, which is debilitating and very painful. Some people may think one little morsel or a tiny lick of gravy from a plate won’t hurt, but I have seen dogs die after ingesting very small amounts of table food.
Tell the future in-laws to talk with their veterinarian. He or she will recommend cutting out the table food and sticking with a well-balanced dog-food diet. Their dog will live a much healthier, longer life. — Looking Out for Fido in Louisiana
Dear La.: Many readers pointed out that dogs can become quite ill if they eat human food. (Chocolate was one of the “poisons” mentioned most frequently.) Please, folks, take care of your dogs by feeding them an appropriate diet. You aren’t doing them any favors by treating them to your table scraps. Really.
Dear Annie: I am a prosecutor for the state of New Mexico and have had many cases where children have been sexually abused by a member of their family. It is much more prevalent than most realize. Please tell “Teen in Need” that many families simply refuse to believe that their relative could do such a heinous act. Your advice to him about counseling was right on target.
Also, his oldest sister committed a crime by offering money to drop the charges. Bribery or Intimidation of a Witness is a third-degree felony in New Mexico, punishable by up to three years in the state penitentiary. — Concerned Prosecutor
Dear Prosecutor: Thank you for your expertise. We aren’t going to recommend that a teenage boy send his sister to the state pen, but we appreciate the knowledge and hope the counseling will provide the help he needs.
“Annie’s Mailbox” is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.