Dear Dr. Wallace:

I’ve been reading your column regularly in the Vicksburg (Mississippi) Post. I hope you answer my question because I, too, am a pet lover. Presently, I am the owner of two faithful and wonderful dogs.

Recently, I heard on television that thousands of dogs have become sick and hundreds have died from eating dog treats imported from China. This shocks me and causes me much emotional pain.

Can you inform me why our country needs to import any pet foods from China? If you can’t inform me, who can?

— Pet Lover,

Vicksburg, Mississippi

Dear Pet Lover: I wish I knew the answer to your question, but I don’t. I, too, find this troubling. Most pet owners would agree. My advice would be to write to an elected official who represents you in your area and express your displeasure that household pets are suffering and dying because of tainted imported dog treats. It’s important that this “oversight” doesn’t happen again.

Please give each of your two pets a big hug from me!

Dear Dr. Wallace: I have a history of dating jerks, law-breakers and stupid rednecks. All of these guys were total losers. I’ve been treated very roughly by every single one of them. The best guy in this unsavory group swore at me, calling me filthy names.

To get me out of this bad-boy rut, my parents sent me to Jackson, Mississippi, to live with an older, married sister. I had been living in Huntsville, Alabama. I like Jackson, and my sister and her husband have made me feel at home. I didn’t attend church in Huntsville, but I am going to church with my new family. My sister has been encouraging me to go out with a certain boy at church who asked my sister for our telephone number. He is rather cute, so when he called for a date, I said yes. We have gone out five times, and I have had a fairly nice time. This guy has been a true gentleman, something I am not used to.

The problem is that he doesn’t turn me on in a romantic way. I told this to my sister and she got upset and said something that bothered me: “Why is it that only gangsters turn you on?” Now I’m really in a bind. If I stop seeing the guy I’m dating, my sister will really be upset with me, but to continue seeing him would be a waste of my time. Help!

— Nameless,

Jackson, Mississippi

Dear Nameless: Stop dating this guy. It’s not fair to him to be going out with someone who has no real interest in him. But stay away from the gangster types you used to date. If you find yourself romantically drawn only to such losers, you may have deep-seated self-esteem issues that prevent you from feeling worthy of “good guys” and keep you trapped in the cycle of abuse you left Huntsville to escape.

Not dating at all for a while is certainly a better alternative than dating abusive losers. Keep going to church. You may also want to consider seeing a counselor. You won’t find Mr. Right until you learn to love and respect yourself.

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