Dear Abby
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FAMILY PREFERS TO SIDESTEP QUESTIONS ABOUT GIRL'S FEET

DEAR ABBY: My beautiful 6-year-old granddaughter has clubfeet. Although she had several surgeries, her ongoing treatment requires her to wear her shoes on the opposite feet.

Every time we go out somewhere, well-intentioned people seem compelled to let us know she has her shoes on wrong. My granddaughter told me it bothers her and she gets embarrassed when we must explain the reason, and truthfully, I don't blame her. I worry about her self-esteem.

Have you any suggestions as to what we could say to these people without giving out personal information? -- NANNY IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR NANNY: If it were me, I would also assume that the person meant well and reply, "We're already aware of that, thank you." Period.


DEAR ABBY: I'm in fifth grade and I'm wondering: Which do you prefer -- dogs or cats?

My friends and I often debate about this topic. -- ANIMAL LOVER IN OAKLAND, CALIF.

DEAR ANIMAL LOVER: I'm an animal lover, too, and I have met both dogs and cats that had wonderful personalities. However, when it comes to choosing between cats and dogs, I'm more of a dog person. My favorite breed is the German shepherd.


DEAR ABBY: My sister moved in with me after my husband died. I thought it would be good for both of us, and we could go places together and share household chores. At the time, we were both working.

When I discovered she would sleep all day on our days off and didn't help with the housework at all, I was very disappointed. She would clean her room only when I got upset with her.

Now she does almost nothing. She won't clean her room and she sleeps for months without changing her sheets. I am sickened by the smell of her and her room. She hasn't showered or brushed her teeth in almost two weeks, and it doesn't look like she's in any hurry to do so.

We are both retired now and could enjoy going places together, but she would rather stay up all night and sleep all day. I am at my wits' end. I have begged, threatened and shamed, but nothing works. I am a very clean person and like to have a clean house. Help! -- WANTS MY CLEAN HOUSE BACK

DEAR WANTS: Changes in behavior like those you describe should not be ignored. Was your sister always like this? If not, she needs to be examined by a doctor to determine if she's depressed or having some other kind of mental problem. She should also be seen by a dentist if her oral hygiene is as poor as you say it is, while she still has teeth.

The living arrangement the two of you have doesn't appear to be healthy for either of you. Before this goes any further, consult an attorney for guidance. You may need help in getting her out after all this time -- or help finding other safe living arrangements for your sister if she's unable or unwilling to do it for herself.


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.


Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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