Q: My husband lost his corporate job six months ago, and his prospects have not improved. I was a stay-at-home mom who went back to work part time. We have three kids (ages 5 to 11) and three dogs (two Labs and a Lab/golden retriever-mix). We've always taught the kids that our pets are members of the family, and in past years we've given each a holiday gift. We can't afford to do that this year. Is this fair to our pets, and should I worry about the message we're sending our kids? — V.D., Miami
A: Many pets, and people, are going without this holiday season, but as so many wonderful holiday movies tell us, we can be thankful for what we do have.
As for our pets, they live each day being thankful for what they have. They also don't care what kind of car you drive, whether you have the key to the executive restroom at work, or if your job is to clean that restroom. They love us for who we are.