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Dear Labby: Petiquette for dogs (and their people)

Dear Labby: My dog is a Halloween scaredy cat

Dear Labby,

I adopted a very skittish Scottie a few months ago, and this will be her first Halloween in my home. We have good relationships with all of our neighbors and usually receive quite a few trick-or-treaters. Since our dog is still adjusting to her new digs, and I believe that endless doorbell ringing and a stream of kids would set her back significantly, I'm wondering if it is socially acceptable to let the porch go dark this year? If so, what do I tell my neighbors when they ask where we were?

Signed:

Holidays Are Uneasy for Nervous Terrier and Edgy Dog-parents

Thank you, reader, for giving me the opportunity to put on my town crier costume and proclaim this:

Halloween, like 4th of July, is a terrible time for animals. If you have dogs or cats, keep them indoors that night. At best, the sugar-induced screeches from the little ones will drive your pup insane. At worst, your pet could face intentional taunting or even physical provocation by older kids.

Remember, H.A.U.N.T.E.D.: Your first priority Halloween night is not to see that mini Lady Gaga gets her fun-size Butterfinger (or is it fun-size Lady Gaga and mini Butterfinger?). Rather, it's to ensure your animals are safe and comfortable. There is nothing wrong with — no apology needed! — sitting this one out. Nellie Nosypants needs an explanation? Tell her you were observing the annual fright fest with true gusto — by "resting in peace."

If, come November, you're still feeling guilty about your lack of Halloween spirit, you can always make a sizeable donation to the dental health program at the local elementary school.

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