Who is Miss Abigail?

Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!


Posts Tagged ‘pets’

Care of Pets

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

take a leisurely stroll togetherThese tips for pet owners are in celebration of the arrival of my new dog Frieda, rescued from the Washington Humane Society. I thinks she might just be the most perfect dog in the world!

Now on to the selection. Maybe it’s just that new pet owner thing, but am I the only one out there who finds the vacuum-your-dog suggestion a bit odd?

1967: Care of Pets

From time to time your cherubs are going to surprise you with anything they can drag home as a pet ~ and I mean anything from snails to Great Danes! Here are a few suggestions to help that “stray” (if the rightful owner can’t be found), and of course the pet you planned on, become a happy, healthy, much-loved member of your household.

Have you ever thought of putting reflector tape on your dog or cat collar, to cut down the danger of his being struck by a car at night?

If you own a shaggy dog ~ or any sort of dog that sheds ~ it’s a good idea to hand-vacuum him frequently. Then you don’t have to vacuum the floors and furniture quite so often. Dogs usually like it, and so do your dark-suited guests.

Do you have a dog that must be kept in the house during the day, even when you aren’t there? To keep the house neat and clean in spite of it do this: In the center of the room, put a child’s play pen lined with oilcloth and a thickness of newspaper. Each morning before you leave put in a weighted pan of water, pan of dog food and the dog. In the evening, when you come home, your house will be spotless and both you and your dog can enjoy a leisurely stroll together. (This is recommended for puppies or small breeds.)

Do the metal tags jingling on the collars of your dog or cat drive you to distraction when the animals are in the house? Cover them with clear plastic adhesive tape.

Old-fashioned dog lovers claim that pine needles in the doghouse will keep your animal free of fleas, and that pine needles in the dog bed works the same little wonder. It’s worth a try, if your animal is so afflicted.

You can easily remove animal hairs from dark suits, coats, and dresses by wrapping a length of masking tape around your hand and brushing over the entire garment. The animal hair and lint will stick to the tape. This method is also good for cleaning the upholstery in your car after the pet has had a ride.

If your dog does not eat a full can of dog food at one meal, try this: Remove the ends of the can ~ both ends ~ and push the food from one end of the can into the dog bowl. Cut off as much as he will eat, then replace the end of the can. This will promote savings as far as your dog food is concerned, as well as savings on the mess.

Tired of retrieving your dog’s favorite ball or toy from under the furniture? Take an old nylon stocking, drop the ball into it, and tie. The ball will still bounce and roll, but it will give both you and the dog something with which to swing and retrieve it.

Put a little blueing in the white poodle’s shampoo water and note the difference in his coat.

Have you ever been out walking the dog, passed by a grocery store, and wanted to stop in to shop for a few items, but noticed a sign in the window stating: “No Pets Allowed”? Cut the leather hand strap off his leash and replace it with an inexpensive puppy color with a buckle then you can buckle the leash around anything handy until you return.

When traveling with your pet, fill a bottle of water for him each morning, and take along his water dish. Then you can stop anywhere, anytime he needs a drink, without hunting for a place to get water for him.

Source: Laird, Jean E. Around the House Like Magic. New York, Evanston, and London: Harper and Row,1967.
~ pp. 162-66 ~

A Baby and His Dog

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

yap yap yapQ Dear Miss Abigail:

My children are separated in age by ten years. I thought it would be a great idea to get my five year old a small dog for a gift. My husband is adamantly opposed to this idea, but he isn’t offering any form of compromise. He says he is allergic, but we already have one dog (a gift to my older daughter) and has had no allergic reaction. I grew up with pets and I think it is a wonderful way to teach your children to share. What do you think?


A Dear Doggone:

Sounds like your husband is allergic to the idea of having another dog running around the house. Is your five year old really ready to care for a puppy, or will daddy have to “help” with the housebreaking? Here’s something to contemplate before you head to the animal shelter. It’s from Emily Post’s less-famous Children are People.

1940: A Baby and His Dog

So let us say on Christmas or Easter or his birthday morning that Johnny hears a treble yap ~ yap ~ yap, and bubbling over with curiosity, runs to see! Out in the kitchen or in the hall on a bed of straw in the bottom of a box, he finds a puppy, which stops its yapping and begins to wriggle and bounce with delight at Johnny’s approach. Certainly it is his to name, to own, to pet and to play with, but not to squeeze too hard, not to hold upside down, not to feed with the wrong food, not to stuff at one time and to forget its food or its always fresh drink at another. Moreover, it is his to housebreak ~ with help perhaps from Dad or Mother ~ but reallyhis own to train with love, and with patience that knows no end. . . .

Recall to mind Albert Payson Terhune’s broadcasts, made each year before Christmas, in which he says plainly that none of Sunnybrook’s Collie puppies are for sale. . . . Mr. Terhune never parts with a puppy or dog unless he knows for certain that there is a dog lover in the family who is competent to give help to the child in caring for his pet. Someone who will teach the child that a dog is not a toy, but a friend, who for the greater part of all the happiness he shall know, will be dependent upon his master and protector. 

Source: Post, Emily. Children are People, and Ideal Parents are Comrades. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1940.
~ pp. 68-69 ~