Dear Abby: My niece, “Vicki,” will be 18 in a few days. She works part time and has started college. Her mom, my sister, lost her husband last year.

Vicki did some research on finding herself the right pet because my sister has allergies. With her own money, Vicki purchased a little garter snake.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also know as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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