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January 16, 2017

Ask Hickey: Should side pieces run obits to honor their married lovers?

Got something you want to ask? Send me your questions through FacebookTwitter or email (with "Ask Hickey" in the subject line). Your anonymity is guaranteed — if that’s how you want it — so feel free to send them via private/direct message.


And now, this week’s questions...

Puppy's first snow

Our puppy has just seen its first snowfall. It seemed confused regarding its normal pooping places being covered with the white stuff. How do you help a puppy relieve itself when the world outside seems different than before? (B.K., via conversation)

I, too, have a puppy and just experienced this. But despite having a puppy, I am not an expert on puppy psychology. But, I know somebody who is!

Back in September, I met cable TV’s famous “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan when he and his son Andre were in town promoting their new Nat Geo Wild show “Dog Nation.”

Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

Cesar Millan, his son Andre and friends came to Philadelphia as part of their 'Dog Nation' road trip on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016.

The show is scheduled to premiere on March 3, but we cannot wait until then to answer a question to which advice is needed now. I presented the query to Millan and here’s what he said:

Consistency is important, especially when something in the environment has changed. Try to walk at the same times every day and follow the same route. By maintaining as much routine as possible, your dog will not be as confused or anxious about the new thing — snow and ice.

Preparation also helps — make sure your dog’s toenails are kept trimmed to prevent slipping and sliding around, and consider investing in protective boots if conditions are proving to be particularly harsh for your dog’s feet.

Be aware of the needs of your dog’s breed. If you have a husky or other thick-coated sledding dog, then they’re ready to go in the snow. But if you have a naturally skinny or hairless dog, like a greyhound, Dalmatian, or Chihuahua, then you may want to get them a warm winter coat and limit walking times to avoid hypothermia, if it gets really cold.

I mean, sure, there’s no snow predicted in the 10-day forecast, but file this one away for when the white stuff returns. Your puppy will appreciate it.

Love comforteth like sunshine after rain

Is it ever OK for a girlfriend (aka side ho) to run a separate obituary from the wife's? (J.D., via Facebook)

Sorry this one’s taken so long to get to. I initially reached out to Maury Povich, Jerry Springer and the show “Divorce Court.”

Though I reckoned they would be the pre-eminent experts in this field, they didn’t respond. (For his part, Jerry told a publicist that he wouldn’t be comfortable doing so, which is fine, since he isn’t his show’s freak.)

Anyway, I’m well aware of the story that inspired your question (because I wrote it!)

It was in early August when a highly valued tipster sent word that she’d seen something quirky going on in that day’s Press of Atlantic City obituaries.

Namely, that a deceased gentleman named Leroy “Blast” Black was the subject of not one, but two, tributes. One featured his “loving wife” Bearetta Harrison Black while the other named “his long-tome (sic) girlfriend, Princess Hall.”

Source/Greenidge Funeral Home

A funeral for Leroy 'Blast' Bill Black, 55, of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., will be held Sunday in Atlantic City.

Suffice it to say, that story made the viral rounds to the point that I felt kinda bad about directing that much attention toward Blast’s family and loved ones during their time of mourning. Still do, too. :(

While commenters maintained that there was more to the story than made clear from the obits – a pending divorce after a lengthy separation; talk of restraining orders; et cetera – that doesn’t change the nature of your question.

I’m not one for living the loving wife/long-time girlfriend lyfe; the loving wife is more than perfect for me.

But since you asked me, I’d say it is OK for the side ho to run a separate obituary than the wife because, in this case, it seemed like each was aware of the other’s existence. It’d be nice of the side piece to give the wife a little notice, though, so she doesn’t pick up the paper and read it unexpectedly.

Your question was also presented to @DirtyLola, a/k/a “Mrs. Dirty,” a “poly person, sex educator, storyteller, wifey and host/creator of @SexEdAGoGo.” That curriculum vitae speaks to a level of insight that transcends that which most people have.

Here’s what she had to say about the dueling-obituaries phenomenon:

I think if you were a secret you should stay a secret. Longtime or not.

If you kept things hidden while he was alive, you'd only cause problems and all kinds of hurt during a time of stress and sadness.

I understand wanting to pay tribute, but it just sounds petty to me – like a cry for attention. If you didn't need everyone to know about you when he was alive, then why expose your deceit in this way after he's died? It's just mean.

Translation: If you’re a secret side piece, don’t go all public when your lover dies. Whether through grief or spite, it is not the right thing to do.