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Tell mom to leave her dog at home

Dear Abby: My husband and I are expecting our first child in a few months, and my mother, who lives out of state, will be flying in to help with the new baby. This will be her first grandchild.

Mom adopted a small indoor dog about a month ago. "Trixie" is pint-sized, but she has a loud, high-pitched bark and she barks often. When Mom told me she plans to bring Trixie with her, I expressed concern that the constant barking will wake the baby and everyone else. I am also concerned about dander in the nursery from Trixie's long hair.

I asked Mom to leave Trixie home with my father, but she said she just adopted her and doesn't want her to feel abandoned. I wouldn't mind her bringing Trixie on future visits, just not while we're adjusting to a new baby.

Am I being selfish to ask my mother to keep the dog at home?

-- Get Me Out of the Doghouse

Dear Doghouse: By the time your baby arrives, Trixie should have adjusted to both of your parents and should not feel abandoned if one of them leaves for a short while. Your needs and the needs of your household should take precedence over the needs of your mother's dog, and you are not being selfish to insist upon it.

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List potluck ingredients

Dear Abby: Food allergies vary widely and are not limited to common ones -- nuts, shellfish, gluten or strawberries. We know what we are allergic to, and we do our best to avoid those foods.

Sometimes it's difficult to tell what's in some tasty-looking dishes at potluck gatherings. An ingredient may be used only for seasoning, but sometimes just a trace of it is all it takes to trigger a reaction. That's why I have established a practice that has always been well-received. I print out a card to attach to the dish I brought. On it, I name the dish and list the ingredients.

I hope you'll find this suggestion helpful enough to pass along. It could save a life.

-- Joe in Janesville, Minn.

Dear Joe: You're right; it could -- and that's why I'm printing it.

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