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Rosie, Buster and separate bedrooms

I thought I had made it clear in previous articles that this is not an advice column. Nevertheless, when an urgent need arises, I cannot sit idly by and not respond. So here, in the spirit of compassion, is my effort to rescue an unfortunate lover who could soon fall victim to his own passion. Here is his letter and my answer.

Dear Mastermind:

I'm not the sort of person who would normally write for advice, but my heart and mind are pulling me in opposite directions. A year ago I met this wonderful girl named Rosie (not her real name). She's intelligent, she's pretty, she's affectionate, she's witty, she has a good job and she loves me. I love her too, but the problem is her dog Buster (not his real name).

Buster is a big, scruffy dog with bad breath, not housebroken, he sheds, he jumps on me, licks my hands, sometimes growls at me, messes up Rosie's apartment, chews on her furniture, chews on my shoes, is always underfoot and generally makes it impossible for me to have any private moments with the girl I love. And he's only 18 months old.

I have no idea what breed Buster is, but he is really stupid if that helps. He eats too much, is lazy and is getting fat.

But Rosie loves Buster, says he is her best friend. She sings "Puppies Are A Girl's Best Friend" to the tune of "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend." To be fair, Buster loves Rosie too. She wants to take him along wherever we go. His hair is all over my car and my clothes. On rare occasions when she leaves Buster home when we go out together, she -- you won't believe this -- she calls him. Don't ask me how she has rigged the phones, but she calls and talks to him. Baby talk of course -- "How's my little sweetheart, baby, goochie goo, etc..." it's embarrassing. She says Buster sleeps on her bed every night and she couldn't live without him.

Hey, I love Rosie and want to ask her to marry me, but I'm not a dog person and I don't think I could share a house -- and certainly not a bed -- with this mutt. What should I do?

Puzzled, Wilbur Rong (not my real name)

Dear Wilbur:

You could settle the issue in a split second by telling Rosie "it's either me or Buster -- take your pick." But you'd lose in a blink. Don't ever come between a girl and her dog or you'll get bites from both sides.

I knew a guy who loved cigars and hated dogs. Whenever a dog got too close and wanted to make friends, this guy blew cigar smoke in the dog's face. The dogs got the message and barked up some other tree. So you could take up cigars and clear your own space. Better yet, you can get Rosie started on cigars too and double barrel Buster, but of course, Rosie would never do that.

Face it Wilbur, Buster got there first and Rosie is not going to put him out. You must understand that people like Rosie think dogs are their children. The best you can do is work out a compromise. Maybe you can sleep in a separate bed -- in the doghouse. (Sorry -- just kidding -- bad joke.)

A more practical solution is that you and Rosie get your own house with one bedroom for you and Rosie and a separate room for Buster. Buster will not have visiting privileges in your honeymoon room and you will not have visiting privileges in Buster's room. If you can work that out, the rest of the details will take care of themselves. Buster will not eat with you or go along on vacations. But allow Rosie to call Buster, though it will be more comfortable for you if you go where you can't hear any of the conversation. All this will be inconvenient and somewhat distasteful, but if Rosie is worth it to you, that's the price you'll have to pay. If Rosie doesn't agree to the separate bedroom arrangement, say good-bye to Rosie, brush her off like a swarm of fleas, have your car vacuumed, take your hairy clothes to the cleaners and look somewhere else. Good luck.

Mastermind (not my real name).