Q: I am a 12-year-old freshman at an all-girls school. Before this I was in the public school system. Today I was thinking about my experiences in both systems of schools, which inspired me to write the following poem. You can print it if you like.
Perhaps it will strike a chord with educators and students. Maybe it won't. But I wanted to get my feelings out on this subject and help to stop unfair judgment.
Lealia Xiong, Guilford, Conn.
A: I'm pleased to share your poem and the important message it so succinctly conveys. You have tremendous insight for one so young, and talent as well.
Don't judge people you hardly know.
You don't know what their day has been like.
You don't know what their life has been like.
Don't judge someone who seems
As if she's overreacting.
You don't know if she's lost someone
She loved dearly
Or if her parents are getting a divorce
Or fighting over nothing.
Don't judge someone who's different.
He's probably one of the nicest people you'll know.
Or the funniest.
Or the smartest.
Take the time to get to know people.
Walk with them.
Run with them.
Share their triumphs and their sorrows.
Maybe they don't dance through life
As you thought.
The dog is too needy
Q: I am a stay-at-home mom of an active 3- year-old boy, with another on the way. Before my son, "Chad," was born, my husband and I took in a loving yellow Labrador, "Sparky" (now 8), who had been neglected.
While I love Sparky very much, he is just too much work for me because he is so needy. He often becomes nervous and "stuck" in certain rooms and must be physically coaxed into the next room. His anxiety causes him to bark uncontrollably at cars, people walking by, etc. He is absolutely out of control when someone comes to the door. He has damaged our home, wakes us up when we're sleeping, wants to go in and out all day, and is constantly underfoot. Our efforts to train Sparky have failed, and I'm simply out of patience.
The trouble is, my husband has no sympathy for the difficulty this causes me when I'm home during the day, and he refuses to discuss alternative options. I don't know what to do and have overwhelming feelings of guilt. I find myself actually looking forward to the day when Sparky dies so that I can be relieved of this burden. Please help.
Dog Tired, Palmyra, N.y.
A: The problems you described are not your dog's fault. Many rescue animals have "issues" not unlike Sparky's. You need to talk to your vet about this, and also a professional dog trainer. If that doesn't resolve your problem, then contact the rescue group that placed Sparky with you so they can find him another home.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail
Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips. Find columns at www.
Universal Press Syndicate