My Heart Broke When My Dog Died, Then My Sister Said I’m ‘Overreacting’

by Rebecca Endicott
Becca is a writer and aspirational dog owner living in NYC.

Sometimes, we all need a little bit of advice! Life is tricky, and there are a lot of situations where two heads are better than one.

That’s why we created the Ask Becca advice column, to tackle all of the complicated situations life throws our way!

Last week, I discussed some major dilemmas, from partners who were holding off on intimacy, to what to do if a generous gift is returned for cash.

Every week, I get lots of powerful, important questions from our readers. I then select a few of these to discuss. I hope that other readers out there will also take the opportunity to weigh in; your feedback is so valuable!

This week, I’ll be tackling a whole new round of challenges. We’re talking about puppy love, pregnancy, addiction in the family, and even baldness.

Scroll through below for my very best advice on all of these issues.

If you have a question or worry of your own, send it my way to!

Photo Credit: Flickr / J.H. Fearless

Disagreeing Over Dad

Sisters argue over dad
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Hi Becca,

I have a huge issue with my sister, and I hope you can help.

She and I were close as kids, but we grew apart as we got older. Now we’re both in our 50s, and our relationship is more strained than ever.

It all came to a head recently when our elderly father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; we just can’t agree on the right way to move forward.

We both know he can’t live on his own anymore, but I think he would be happiest in an independent living facility, where he has support but still feels like he’s in control of his own life.

My sister wants him to move in with her so that she can take care of him, but I’m suspicious of her motives.

She’s clean and sober now, but she’s in between jobs and has a history of addiction problems. She stole money from my parents more than once when she was younger.

Is it wrong that I don’t want her to be in control of his finances? I’m worried he could be manipulated by her, especially as his disease gets worse.

What do I do? How do I protect my dad and try to salvage a relationship with my sister?

Not My Sister’s Keeper

Becca's Best Advice

Dear Not My Sister’s Keeper,

I truly feel for you: even the closest sibling relationship can strain under the kind of pressure you’re under.

When a parent is ailing (particularly when they might not be all there mentally), all of the burden falls on the children. In your case, it’s particularly difficult, because your sister has given you reasons not to trust her in the past.

Here, I think there are two steps you need to take: First, you need to decide whether or not you’re ready to trust your sister again. Consider how long she’s been drug-free, what kind of work ethic she has, and what her motivations might be.

Second, talk to your dad and see what he wants. He may be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but surely he has an opinion on where he wants to spend his remaining years. Catch him in a lucid moment, and have a conversation about how he wants his future to be handled. Record your conversation, just in case you need to prove it at some point.

Once you know what he wants, work on spending some one-on-one time with your sister to repair your relationship. Things might have been tough for you to in the past, but you’re going to need each other going forward.

Love and positive wishes!


Ready For A Baby

Woman watches mom with stroller pass by
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Dear Becca,

I am 42 years old and have a high-stress sales job that has been my life for years.

I’ve been working hard to advance my career for almost two decades now, but around the time I hit 40, I realized it wasn’t fulfilling me anymore.

I’ve been single since my marriage broke up seven years ago, and I haven’t “gone all the way” with anyone in a year. However, I have the craziest thought: I think I want a baby.

I’m scared to even write it down, because I’m worried I missed my opportunity.

I’m on the wrong side of 40 and I have no partner, but I’m financially stable and have all the love in the world to give to a little one.

Am I crazy to even consider doing this on my own? Please help!

Wannabe Mama

Becca's Best Advice

Dear Wannabe Mama,

First things first, you are not crazy! Some of the best moms I know didn’t take the plunge until they were in their 40s or 50s. Your age definitely doesn’t count you out.

That said, your body might have some opinions of its own. You’re going to need to carefully consider how you want to go about this. You’ll need to check with your doctor to see whether pregnancy is a good idea for your body, since fertility can decline after age 35 for some women. Your doctor can also help you think about options like in vitro, surrogacy, and adoption.

As for raising a baby without a partner? You’ll be just fine, promise.

Being a single mom isn’t easy, but millions of women raise wonderful kids alone every day.

What’s more, you’re in the position of being independent, financially stable, and really, really secure in who you are, because you’ve had the time to grow into your own sense of self-confidence.

You’re going to be a great mom. If a dad comes along, awesome. If not? You have got this!

Best of luck, and congrats in advance!


Losing My Locks

Looking in mirror in horror over hair loss
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Becca, here’s my deal.

I’m a 45-year-old married woman who’s always had a  sh**load of confidence, until now.

I recently started balding, and I have no idea how to tackle the problem.

I mean, isn’t this the kind of crap my husband should be dealing with?

Tell me, how does a girl get her groove back when she’s rocking a shiny dome?

Bald and Bemused

Becca's Best Advice

Dear B&B,

You want to go out for happy hour sometime? Cause you sound like a lady who is a lot of fun!

I love your self-confidence, and I don’t think it needs to take a hit just because your hairline isn’t what it used to be.

Your point about your husband is accurate: men do go bald early and more often than women. That said, hundreds of thousands of women deal with hair thinning and baldness, especially during hormonal changes.

Do you have a hairstylist you trust? I would suggest scheduling a consultation with her and seeing whether there are any products or styles she recommends that might help nip the baldness in the bud.

If that doesn’t work, consider this: You can still be a bald, beautiful babe without losing a single ounce of your personal oomph!

Lots of women look awesome in buzzcuts, wild wigs, and funky scarves when their personal mane just isn’t doing it anymore. You sound like the kind of lady with the style and charisma to pull it off!

Rock on!


Not "Just" A Dog

Woman cries while looking at photo of late dog
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Hello Becca,

I just recently lost my dog at the ripe old age of 14 years. Now, I can’t seem to pull myself out of this funk I’m in.

People around me have a hard time understanding how much my sweet Nina meant to me, and think I’m too emotional about it all. I talked to my sister about how devastated I am and she actually told me I’m “overreacting.” Can you believe that?

I’ve lost plenty of people who were close to me over the years — my father passed just two years back — but nothing has hurt my heart quite like Nina walking over the Rainbow Bridge.

Is there something wrong with me that I feel so strongly when everyone else seems to think she was “just a dog”?

Puppy Love Lost

Becca's Best Advice

Dear Puppy Love,

I am so, so sorry for your loss. Losing a dog that’s close to your heart is truly heartbreaking, even when you know it’s their time.

To answer your question: no, no, no. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you for feeling so strongly.

For so many of us, the animals in our life are like an incredible combination of best friend and child. Dogs in particular are such loyal, good, kind friends to us humans.

You should never feel like you have to measure one sorrow against another. When you lose a family member, sometimes your grief is complicated by past conflict and old grudges.

When you loss a dog, the grief is pure and simple, and it sometimes hits that much harder because there’s no confusion in your heart.

In this sad time, just take comfort in friends and loved ones, and try to remember that 14 years is a good, long life, and your dog got to spend it with her very favorite person: you!

Not now, but maybe someday, you’ll find another pup who can offer you another beautiful friendship and help honor Nina’s legacy.

Condolences and love,


LittleThings writer Becca
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

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