DEAR HARRIETTE: My neighbor’s dog just died. She was very close to it, so close she decided to have a funeral for the dog. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs, but I feel like this is a bit much. But since we live very close to each other and we can’t really go anywhere, she wants me to come to her backyard and participate in the ceremony. I think this is way over the top, but I do like this woman. She is older and never had any children. I think she considered her dog to be like a child. Should I participate even though I don’t believe in this sort of thing? — Good Neighbor
DEAR GOOD NEIGHBOR: I do think you should support your neighbor during her time of grief. Clearly, she loved her dog a lot. In these times when folks are feeling extra-tender as they have to be isolated at home, the loss of a pet can be even more devastating than normal. You should go because you care for this woman. Console her from a distance as you would anyone else who has suffered a loss during these times.
Be mindful not to share your skepticism about her having a ceremony for a pet. Just be there as a support. And remember to maintain a responsible distance!
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I had planned an elaborate vacation this summer that has come to a screeching halt. We waited it out as long as we could, but traveling overseas just isn’t in the cards for us. So I took it upon myself to come up with creative ideas for what we can do at home during this time that we set aside for ourselves. I planned a day trip for a hike in a local park. I scouted out an obscure restaurant that never has many guests and booked a private room for a dinner. I found a drive-in theater that was recently set up in our town where we can see new releases. And I’ve got other stuff I have been looking into. When I presented my plan thus far to my boyfriend, he balked. He thought it was stupid and a total waste of time. He said if we can’t do what we planned, he thinks he should just work and make money rather than keeping the days off. He went on and on about how I have been wasting my time. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was trying to resurrect something for us that could be romantic and safe. My feelings are hurt. I don’t want to give up, either. I think we should make the most of the time. What do you think? — Dead Vacation
DEAR DEAD VACATION: Calm down. Your boyfriend’s initial reaction may have been out of sadness and frustration because you can’t enjoy your dream trip together. It was nice that you began to plan everything on your own, but what may be good now is to go back to him and say that all you want is to enjoy some special time that is devoted to just the two of you. Ask him if he would rethink what you can do together as a couple for that time that you would have been away. Tell him how much you are looking forward to being with him. Perhaps he will reconsider.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.