DEAR AMY: I have a question regarding the proper response to an awkward social situation.
I was walking around downtown Seattle and witnessed a homeless man being very mean to his dog. He was extremely rough with her. This made me sick to my stomach.
Worse yet was my response — nothing! My face showed my disgust, but I have no background for how to approach someone quite possibly out of his rational mind to tell him that treating an animal this way is wrong, but to ignore the problem is to contribute to this poor dog's suffering.
I was thinking that perhaps your readers may have experienced a similar event and would also like guidance. Witnessing this cruel treatment was very upsetting. — Tonya
DEAR TONYA: This is not really an "awkward social situation." This is about witnessing something you know is wrong and wondering how to intervene.
You should not get involved personally unless you are sure you would be safe. You could call your local humane society or animal rescue organization and ask for help or advice. It would also be worth a call to the nearest police station. A patrol officer could swing by the location to see if assistance was needed — for the man or the dog.
DEAR AMY: I was very moved by your answer to "Confused" over their moral dilemma about attending a baby shower for a child born out of wedlock.
The situation is similar to one in my own family. My sister had two children by different fathers, out of wedlock and two years apart.
My parents (who were divorced by this time) took opposite approaches. My father, who saw himself as being a rigid moralist (despite having an affair that caused my parents' divorce) took a very judgmental view against my sister and her two children. He barely acknowledged the children and probably never spent more than a few minutes with them during his life. As the children got older, they did not know their grandfather, they only knew of him. He never spoke of them or asked about them.
My mother never passed judgment on my sister or the children. She loved all of them unconditionally and truly cherished any time she could be with them. As a result, the two boys, now 24 and 26, are still close with her and lovingly call her "Granny." She has been blessed to have these children be a part of her life all these years, and they have been blessed by her.
I am saddened for my father that he never got to know these children and the fine young men both of them have grown up to be. — Proud
DEAR PROUD: Children thrive and families can be transformed by the love and warmth provided by one person brave enough to do what really should come naturally to all of us. Bravo to your mother.
DEAR AMY: I just read the letter from "No More Admirers," the young woman who is upset by her boyfriend's many female admirers. I have to disagree with your response. She acknowledges that the boyfriend is doing nothing to encourage this flirting and has given her no reason to think he is unfaithful. She sounds like a jealous woman who needs to get a handle on her insecurity.
I speak of this with a bit of knowledge. I have a brother (decent looking but no Brad Pitt) who just exudes charm; women really seem to like him, and he is kind, courteous and even a bit flirtatious. But he is really oblivious to women hitting on him. He is also blessed with a wife (of 36 years) who does not feel threatened at all by the attention he gets, as she knows he has eyes only for her.
Your last comment is on target: This girlfriend does need to figure out if she can get her jealousy under control and just appreciate that he is courteous and sweet in a day when so few men are. — Carol in San Diego
DEAR CAROL: Not everyone possesses the confidence and temperament to be with someone who is regarded as universally awesome and attractive.
(Send questions via e-mail to askamytribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Amy Dickinson's memoir, "The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them" (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.)