Hubby must be told it's time to end his old dog's suffering

DEAR ABBY: How do I talk to my husband about putting his dog "Sunny" to sleep? My husband is the most loving, caring, generous person I have ever met, and I don't know how to tell him it's time to let his best friend go.

Sunny is 15 1/2 years old and can barely walk because of bad hips. The poor thing can see only shadows and is almost completely deaf. He has been like this for the last two years and is deteriorating steadily.

I'm trying to be understanding and supportive. I bought reusable diapers when Sunny could no longer control his bowels and bladder. I carry him outside multiple times a day and hold him up so he can urinate without the diaper. I wash him regularly after he soils himself. It is very sad. I keep hoping he will pass on in his sleep so my husband won't have to make the call, but he is still clinging to life.

It is difficult to bring this up with my husband because he knows I'm frustrated with constantly cleaning up pee and poop and washing bedding after there has been an accident. I don't want him to think I want him to put the dog to sleep just because it is difficult. It's just time.

Sunny's quality of life is zero. The only thing he can do is eat and sleep. Is that enough? Am I wrong? What should I say to my husband to put the poor animal out of his misery?

- It's Time, in Reno

DEAR IT'S TIME: Your husband is doing his best friend no favor by letting him linger this way. What's going on now isn't fair to Sunny or to you. You might point out that dogs were put on this Earth to run and play and enjoy their lives, something that Sunny hasn't been able to do for a long time.

Suggest he contact Sunny's veterinarian and talk to him/her about his beloved dog's condition, because I'm pretty sure the vet will agree with me. Then be prepared, because your husband may be so bonded with Sunny that he will need grief counseling after his dog is no more.

Study on LGBT and faith needs data

DEAR READERS: A group of distinguished psychiatrists, the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry (GAP), needs help from some of you. They need feedback from gay, bisexual, or transgender people, many of whom have experienced conflicts with their faith because of who they are attracted to or their gender identity.

Many, while attempting "conversion" treatment, experienced great emotional distress, but never considered consulting a mental health professional because they had been discouraged from doing so by their faith community. Knowing the struggles you have experienced could benefit individuals who need help and haven't gotten it. Your input is important. It will give GAP psychiatrists a broader representation of people than they could get from any other source.

Thank you in advance for taking part in this important study.

The Internet address to send your comments is mary.barber@

omh.ny.gov. For those who don't have email access, GAP's mailing address is: P.O. Box 570218, Dallas, Texas, 75357-0218.

In the past, readers have been generous in "telling it like it is," and I hope you will continue, because your experiences are important. Your participation may help to effect positive changes in the treatment of patients.

- Love, Abby