Sometimes as an advice columnist, you receive e-mails offering a different take on a given situation. Here are a few recent examples.
On burying pets in the backyard
We are the unhappy owners of a house where the previous owners had buried a pet in the backyard. They had double-bagged it in black garbage bags, and I can tell you that this is a terrible idea. After 18 years (we don’t know when it was buried — only how long we’ve owned the house), it had not decomposed fully and was mostly an intact but unrecognizable blob of spoiled flesh. The local police came to make sure we hadn’t dug up a buried baby.
If you want to bury a pet, skip the garbage bags so it will naturally decompose and not become a nasty surprise down the road for the next homeowner … or skip the backyard altogether.
On accommodating a relative with an allergy to pet dander
I’m weighing in on your answer to “In a Quandary.” Entitled little brat? Here’s my story. My husband and I had several cats early in our marriage, so we are not “cat haters.” When our firstborn son was 5 years old, we discovered that he was severely allergic to cats, so when we went out of state to visit my parents, we gave him Theophylline so he could be in their house. It soon became apparent that he would end up in the hospital if we stayed, so we went to a nearby motel for the rest of the vacation. His asthma was severe, so we continued with the medication. Turns out he should have had his blood levels checked (the pediatrician did not direct us to do this). Our son ended up having two seizures because of the medication. The doctors at the time told me to put him on phenobarbital, saying they did not feel Theophylline was to blame. Well, I chose not to and he never had another seizure. (He’s 40 now.)
What I am saying is that some people are severely allergic to cats, and taking massive medication may not be adequate or even healthy for them. The son-in-law said he would not be able to be in the mother-in-law’s home. She didn’t say he wouldn’t visit her at all. Maybe he is willing to visit and stay elsewhere. That wasn’t made clear from her letter.
On dealing with an elderly relative whose filters have disappeared
Your column today TOTALLY MISSED THE MARK. A senior who has started strange behavior and, more important, inappropriate speaking and language should be seen immediately by a health care professional. There are many things that could be causing this behavior, and simply watching and talking to the dad is not the answer. Strokes, vascular dementia, prescription drugs, along with many other problems, could be the cause for this behavior.
I have read your column many times and wonder why you are still giving advice, because it is often wrong. But this time you really did miss the mark.
And in a follow-up e-mail from the same reader
Maybe you should stick to answers that only require Dr Pepper as the response.