February 26, 2024
What can I do to fix the situation without causing offense?

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve noticed that my neighbor’s dog is often left outside, even in the middle of the day when the temperatures are scorching hot.

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It breaks my heart to see the poor animal suffering from the heat, panting heavily and looking extremely dehydrated. I’ve tried talking to my neighbor about the situation, but they seem dismissive of my concerns.

What can I do to help this poor dog without offending my neighbor?

— Bad Owners

DEAR BAD OWNERS: Stop worrying about offending your neighbor and think about the welfare of their dog.

You should alert authorities about this animal that is clearly in distress. If there is an ASPCA in your town, contact them and ask them to send out an inspector to investigate. You can also contact local police or the sheriff’s office. You may want to take pictures of the dog’s state to share, but you don’t have to get more involved.

Do make the call that could end up saving the dog’s life.

If your neighbor discovers you reported them and bristles at the fact, be upfront about it. You spoke to them repeatedly about the dog, and they refused to address it. That’s why you called for help.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m currently job hunting, but I’m hesitant to ask my current boss for a reference since he has no idea that I’m looking elsewhere.

I don’t want to jeopardize my current job, but I also don’t want to miss out on a potential opportunity because of a lack of references.

What do you suggest I do? How can I approach this situation delicately without putting my current job in jeopardy?

— Need a Reference

DEAR NEED A REFERENCE: Is there anyone else where you work that you could ask for a reference? You don’t always need the big boss to vouch for your abilities, as long as you find someone credible. Think about who else might help you and keep it confidential.

If you really do need your boss and you think the potential opportunities are worth the risk, sit down and talk to him. Explain that while you like your job, you are looking to test the waters and see what else is out there. Be prepared to explain why.

If you have any issues with your current job, be prepared to address them, albeit delicately. If you are looking to make more money, say as much. If you want to leverage your education and experience further, say that. Share what you like about your job and why you are looking beyond it now. Be prepared to share a timeline for when you might leave if the right opportunity presents itself.

Showing your boss respect in the form of advance notice goes a long way and may just land you a better reference than you imagined.

Be careful not to spend working hours on your job search, and continue to do an excellent job where you are. You never know. Your candor may help land you a better role right where you are.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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