Neighborhood won’t be the same without friendly dog

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Known as Queen Abby by her owners, Abby kept a neighbor company and taught puppies the ropes.

DEAR JOAN: We just put down our beloved dog, Abby. She was almost 13 and had an excellent life. Unfortunately her glucose levels were off the chart, and her arthritis was so bad she could barely walk.

She was truly a family dog. My husband always joked — perhaps not a joke — that Abby was on the top rung of the ladder, then our kids, then him. All of our family mourned for our girl.

The hardest one affected, I think, will be my elderly neighbor. She had as much love in her heart for Abby as we did.

Every morning when I went to work, I would open my front door, she would open her front door, and Abby would trot to her house for a wonderful day of Abby time.

When I was out too late on the weekends, she would keep her overnight. They would walk every day, the two little ladies.

Every morning her porch light was lit, which indicated that the front door was open for Abby to come in. Yesterday morning it pained my heart to see the porch light was dark.

Abby was also the dog that everyone who had a puppy would bring over for Abby to greet and keep in line. She taught every puppy boundaries, and nobody messed with “Queen Abby.”

When there were melees at the dog park, we called Abby the “fun police.” She would break up any activity between the dogs, and they all seemed to understand.

I know many people have lost dogs, and they understand what we are going through. Though life goes on, there will always be a void in all our lives.

I just wanted to let you know how my girl affected so many lives. Thanks for reading.

Ann Clifford, Bay Area

DEAR ANN: What a tribute to a very special dog. I was fascinated to hear about the relationship your neighbor had with Abby.

For folks who don’t want, or can’t manage, the responsibility of their own pet, this would be a great way to have some pet experience. In turn, busy pet parents wouldn’t have to worry about their babies being left alone and lonely.

DEAR JOAN: I have also had my oranges — and melons and tomatoes — eaten both on the plants and on the ground in the past. This year has been a problem particularly with my orange tree.

I’ve also been told it was rats doing the damage. I accepted this explanation because I have seen rats on the utility lines overhead in my back yard.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that there were a lot of half eaten oranges on the tree and the ground, so I picked all the remaining oranges from the tree and cleared the ground as well.

That night, I turned on the outdoor lights and looked out in my yard at about 10 p.m. Lo and behold I noticed a lot of movement in my orange tree — much more than could be from the wind. So I waited and watched as an animal was scouring inside the tree for about 5 minutes looking for oranges, then emerged, jumped onto the nearby fence and walked casually along the top in full view.

The large opossum nonchalantly walked along the top of the fence as if to say “No problem, your neighbors have food too.”

Peter Carmel, Sunnyvale

DEAR PETER: It seems oranges are a hit with all sorts of creatures.