Dear Abby - Sunday, December 31


Dear Abby: I am president and co-founder of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, one of the leading teaching and research hospitals for wildlife medicine in the world. We have treated more than 70,000 wild patients since our organization was established 35 years ago. Like the reader (“An Apple a Day,” Aug. 11) who is under the impression that throwing an apple core out the car window is doing something positive for the Earth, many individuals make “little” decisions without considering the unintended consequences.

The example of the apple core has been at the heart of our education program for more than three decades. Before throwing that apple core out the window believing that some small animal will come finish what’s left, people should consider what will happen if the animal coming to eat their scraps happens to be on the other side of the road.

Throwing out that apple core will lure that creature into harm’s way. Countless opossums, raccoons, skunks and other small mammals are killed every day because of human food waste on the shoulder of the road. And it doesn’t stop there. Predators like owls also suffer. They hunt along the side of the road, not because they eat apple cores, but because they eat the mice, voles and other small animals who are attracted to feed on that apple core. Then, when the opossum, raccoon or owl is killed by a car, scavengers are attracted to the pavement, where their lives, too, are at risk.

If readers want to help the Earth, they should take their waste home and dispose of it or recycle it properly. The small act of throwing an apple core out of a car window can cost the lives of the very creatures they claim to want to help. — Edward Clark, Waynesboro, VA.

Dear Mr. Clark: When that letter appeared, I received a flurry of mail about it. Many readers touched on some of the points you have expressed. Thank you for writing so eloquently to educate my readers — and me. Lesson learned.

Dear Abby: I’m 29 and I’m having trouble holding down a steady job. I am a college graduate, and it’s not because I don’t like to work. My problem is I have a strong personality and I tend to butt heads with management. Deep down, I think I’ll only be satisfied with a job if I’m the boss or own my own business. Do you have any suggestions about positions for someone who can’t handle having a boss? — Miss Independent in the Bronx

Dear Miss Independent: No. Unless someone has rich parents or a magic lamp, most people have to work for — or with — others until they build enough capital to start a business. Even then, business owners must interact with clients they don’t always agree with. Because you tend to butt heads with those in management positions, you would be wise to start working on becoming more patient and less dogmatic. Both qualities will help you in the future if you can develop them.

Dear Readers: Well, 2017 is at an end. Out with the old year, and in with the new one. Please accept my heartfelt good wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018. And — as I caution you every year — if you are partying tonight, PLEASE be safe! Appoint a designated driver and remind that person to drive defensively. — Love, Abby



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Lifestyle

Obesity surgery safer than traditional treatments, study suggests
Obesity surgery safer than traditional treatments, study suggests

Having surgery to treat obesity may seem like a drastic option, but a new study suggests it may actually be a safer route than more traditional options. Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Clalit Research Institute in Israel, recently published their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association...
Keep kids busy this February with these Austin events
Keep kids busy this February with these Austin events

February is filled with Valentine’s Day events and Black History Month as well as fest celebrating caves, dinosaurs and the weather. Check out these family events in Austin next month: Amber Bower makes a Valentine’s Day card with her son Shane during My Pfurry Valentine at the Pflugerville Animal Shelter. This...
Sneak peek: Con Mi Madre’s big-hearted Corazón Awards
Sneak peek: Con Mi Madre’s big-hearted Corazón Awards

We’ve made no secret of our admiration for  Teresa Granillo and her group,  Con Mi Madre , which guides Latinas and their mothers through the educational system. They are setting up a national model with their record of what works and what does not. RELATED: ...
The short suborbital career of Austin native Sam the Space Monkey
The short suborbital career of Austin native Sam the Space Monkey

Little-known fact: One of the earliest space travelers from Earth was an Austin native. Sam the Space Monkey was born in 1957 at the Balcones Research Center near what is now the intersection of U.S. 183 and MoPac. He was an Indian rhesus and part of a long-term, secret program of behavioral and biological research started by the University of Texas...
Learning that it’s perfectly normal to be different
Learning that it’s perfectly normal to be different

I knew something was wrong the moment he was born. His cry was weak. He had a strange spot on the back of his head, and birth markings ran down his spine like a symmetrical inkblot. As the hours wore on, I became increasingly concerned. He kept choking on amniotic fluid and wouldn’t nurse. I did have a slow-to-eat preemie three years earlier...
More Stories