Ask Amy

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 12:00am

DEAR AMY: I believe that when you get a pet, you become responsible for its care and well-being.

My dog has diabetes and requires a morning and evening shot of insulin.

A dog cannot tell you how it is feeling, and only a vet can check a dog's blood sugar.

The way a dog's diabetes is controlled is to have regular, consistent feedings and maintaining a strict schedule of insulin administration.

I will not go to social functions if it interferes with my dog's evening insulin shot. People seem to think that it is only a dog and that you can skip the insulin or be several hours late with no problem.

Not true. It is to the point that I do not give a reason; I just say that I cannot make it. Is there a better way to handle this?

— Anthony

DEAR ANTHONY: I think your dog has enough problems without being used as a scapegoat (or scapedog) for those times you're not interested in spending time with people.

People with care-giving duties for chronically ill family members (such as you) should find respite care occasionally to maintain their other relationships.

I agree that it isn't anyone else's business to determine what is best for your high-maintenance pet, but I bet your vet could recommend a responsible person to take over your duties from time to time so that you could build and maintain healthy relationships with the humans in your life.

DEAR AMY: I've been dating my girlfriend for more than a year, and we're both very happy with our relationship.

Recently, one of my girlfriend's former boyfriends reached out to renew their friendship. He recently became single.

While I completely trust my girlfriend, I'm viscerally uncomfortable with her being friends with people she has slept with.

I've told her I'm anxious about the situation, but I believe it's my problem and I need to get over it.

Is this just dumb, primal instinct rearing its ugly head?

Neither I nor any of my friends who are in serious relationships are friends with people we've slept with, so I don't know whom to ask.

What's your insight?

— Fourth Wheel

Your discomfort over this is natural, and what you do about it is your responsibility.

Your girlfriend has responsibilities too, however. Just because her ex reaches out to her doesn't mean that she has to reciprocate.

You need only to ask her how she would feel if the situation were on the other foot (so to speak). I'm sure her reaction would be primal too.

If she wants to be friends with him, then she should make sure you meet him and have the opportunity to be completely part of the circle.

There are rare occasions when the whole friendship with the ex thing works out — though this seems to happen mainly on television sitcoms, as a way to keep the plot moving and tensions high.

Here in real life, people's histories and agendas frequently clash and former partners are reminded of why they broke up.

DEAR AMY: In response to your views on parents' heckling umpires from the sidelines, I disagree.

My sons were mostly reared in a community with zero tolerance for booing and heckling.

Particularly with young players, it is a time to learn and make mistakes. Grandpas from the old school of yelling at their young or coaches were told by other spectators to be quiet in no uncertain terms.

When we moved to another community where not only parents but also coaches were abusive at games to the point of swearing at losing teams after the game, my kids quit sports. I was proud of them. To quote one when quitting football, "Mom, it just wasn't fun anymore."

— Supportive Mom

DEAR MOM: To clarify, I strongly believe that parents should keep their thoughts to themselves during their children's games.

The coaches should control their teams, and the umpire the tone, pace and tenor of the game.

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