Dear Annie: I am a manager of a small company. The problem is, one employee burps uncontrollably throughout the day. She seems shocked every time it happens. I find this to be unprofessional and rude, and it is horribly embarrassing when it occurs in front of colleagues. People laugh behind her back. I’ve tried to make a joke of it by brushing off my shirt and saying, “Glad you didn’t get any on me.” Nothing has any effect. What’s to be done?
— Please Stop
Dear Please: This woman probably has some gastrointestinal problem that causes the constant burping (usually acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome, but it could also be an ulcer or infection, or worse). She undoubtedly would like it to stop.
Joking may ease office tension, but it won’t help her. Instead, please say that she may have a medical problem and should speak to her doctor immediately.
Dear Annie: I totally feel for “Confused and Torn,” who didn’t want to put down her 15-year-old Pomeranian, “Clover,” who was in constant pain. I had to make a decision regarding my dog two months after losing my husband. I was devastated, as the anguish was unbearable and seemed unending. It was truly a bad year.
A while ago, I cam across a poem you printed called “A Dog’s Plea.” To this day, it still brings tears to my eyes. I hope “Confused” will see it and that it will help her a little bit.
— Judy from Canada
Dear Judy: We last printed this piece two years ago. Thank you for suggesting it as a way to comfort “Confused.” The poem is one of our readers’ favorites and we are happy to print it again.
“A Dog’s Plea” by Beth Norman Harris
Treat me kindly, my beloved friend, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I might lick your hand between blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me learn.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when the sound of your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.
Please take me inside when it is cold and wet, for I am a domesticated animal, no longer accustomed to bitter elements. I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst.
Feed me clean food that I might stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.
And, my friend, when I am very old, and I no longer enjoy good health, hearing and sight, do not make heroic efforts to keep me going. I am not having any fun.
Please see that my trusting life is taken gently. I shall leave this Earth knowing with the last breath I draw that my fate was always safest in your hands.