Dear Annie: I'm hoping to adopt a small dog soon, and obviously, my apartment needs to be prepared. The small, curious new member of the family will want to play with almost everything in reach, so I imagine I'll need to clear the floor as much as possible. What else do I need to do to prepare? My apartment is a studio and only about 500 square feet, but I want my dog to have a safe and fun home to live in. -- Pre-Pooch Preparation
Dear Pre-Pooch: Congratulations on your forthcoming furry friend. Adopting an animal is a wonderful thing; really, a dog becomes a member of the family. It's wise that you're taking the preparation stage seriously, as it's important. Every year, thousands of pets are returned to shelters by adopters who failed to adequately prepare. First is to make sure that your landlord allows pets. If so, check to see whether any additional documentation or fees are required. Then crunch the numbers. Make a list of monthly expenses and vet bills, and be sure they fit comfortably within your budget.
Next, it's time to get puppy-proofing. Remove any toxic plants. Put away any medications that are sitting on counters. Keep anything with batteries that might be chew-enticing out of reach. Purchase a crate that will be large enough once your pup has reached full adult size. For more puppy-prepping tips, along with a list of which houseplants are safe for pets, visit https://www.aspca.org.
Dear Annie: A great number of your requests for advice or a solution revolve around taking action.
For Pete's sake, what psychological hang-up prevents these people from making a decision?! Have we simply developed into a plethora of touchy-feely wimps? Example: If the neighbors are having sex too loudly, which one of your readers recently complained about, bang on the wall; yell; hang up a sign in the hallway!
There is an incredible lack of spinal fiber. The prosecution rests. -- R. Korkin
Dear R. Korkin: If taking direct action were that simple for everyone, I might be out of a job. In all seriousness, it really is easier said than done. Yes, you can sit on the sidelines and criticize someone for fumbling, but it's harder when you're actually the one holding the ball. Try to have some compassion.
Dear Annie: "Frustrated in Maine" wrote to you irate about being asked by servers whether he needs change. He's the one who needs to learn etiquette. One should order, eat, pay the bill and leave an appropriate gratuity.
I think that it is appropriate for servers to ask whether diners require change. "Frustrated in Maine" retaliates by leaving a "small tip"? My advice for him is to dine only in restaurants where he has not gone before. Servers would remember him!
As a New England son, I'll admit that we are frugal, but we're never unkind. (My wife worked as a waitress in high school and college. We know how little they make.)
Punish a server for what he or she was trained to do or say? The server is doing his or her best to accommodate a patron. -- Diner With a Different Perspective
Dear Diner: Bravo. Surprisingly, the letter from "Frustrated in Maine" inspired an outpouring of opinions from people on both sides of this debate, which I had not even realized is a debate. I, for one, am with you. Thanks for writing.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.