Doctor Love

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 25            July 4, 2002

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Dr. Love is the island's and possibly the world's greatest authority on just about everything. The Doctor answers questions on almost anything except religion and politics. Persons needing additional assistance or counseling should contact the Family Services Division at 227-7451.         

    You may write to the Doctor at P.O. Box 35, San Pedro Town, Belize, fax  226-2905 or e-mail at

Dear Doctor Love,

    I am planning to get married at the end of the summer. We have been going together for over two years and we have finally decided that it is time. It will not be a big wedding because we cannot afford it. My fiancÈ is a wonderful person who works very hard but he does not have much money. He works in construction and he does not drink his money away but at the end of the week he still does not have very much saved. It has taken a long time to save the money for this wedding. The money situation really has me worried.

    After we get married and start living together we will be able to save a little bit more but right now it is very hard. I know it is not this hard for everybody because most people have someone to help them get started in life but we do not have anyone. How are we ever going to get ahead? I do not want to have children and raise a family if I cannot afford it. I watched my mother struggle and I do not want to have to go through that. I know that other people start out with nothing in life and are successful. How can we do it?

/s/ Worried

Dear Worried,

    It is true that a lot of people start out with nothing and become successful, but it is never easy. Be prepared to work hard. One of the best ways is to start a small business that you can run in your spare time. Even if it is only something like selling vegetables or tamales it will make money that you can set aside. Try to think of something you can do or make to sell that no one else is doing. If you take your time you will be surprised at the number of small businesses you can go into that require only a small investment.

   You are already a step ahead of everyone else just because you are thinking of these things before you get married. Keep up that attitude and you will have no problem finding success.

Dear Doctor,

    When I was in high school I dated some really nice looking girls and I had one girl in particular that I went with for over a year. All of the girls I dated were looking to get married and I was not. Most of them did get married since then because I have been out of school now for three years. Since I have been working I have dated a lot of girls but none of it has been serious.

    About six months ago I changed jobs and started working in an office. One of the people working in the office is a girl that I went to school with. While we were in school my sister made some accusations against this girl that turned out not to be true. My sister is a real liar anyway but it became a family thing and we all stuck together. The more I work with this girl the more I realize what a wonderful person she is. She is not super attractive looking but that is not the important thing. She is just a really nice person. I have asked her out a couple of times but she always says no. She says it so nicely and has such good reasons that I can't get upset at her. Now that I know her, I would find it hard to get upset with her over anything.

   I have tried to talk to her about the trouble she had with my sister but she manages to avoid it every time. I even asked her if that is why she will not go out with me and she says that is not the reason. She says she just has other priorities in her life right now. Several time I have felt like she was on the edge of saying yes but at the last minute she changed her mind.

    I really like this girl. How can I convince her that what is past is past and that she should go out with me?

/s/Younger Brother

Dear Brother,

    It must be assumed that you have already apologized to her for what happened in the past. If not, you better get to it and get that out of the way. Explain to her that you made a mistake that will never happen again. If she did not get the message when you explained it the first time make sure she gets it this time. You cannot blame her for being wary of a family that sticks together no matter what the circumstances. Suppose you two got serious about each other and ended up getting married. If she had a clash with your family again, how can she be sure whose side you will take? Tell her that you cannot choose your family but you can choose not to stick with them under any circumstances.

    By the way, that old garbage about blood being thicker than water is just that; garbage. How many times have we seen a family defend one of its members against a charge that everyone knows is true, including the family. Just because they are part of your blood does not make them right when they do something wrong. A liar is a liar just like a thief is a thief. If they are member of your family you must simply accept it and move along.

Dear Doctor Love,

    I am so tired of working around my house. My parents expect me to wash the dishes and clean the house at least every other day even though I am not the one who gets all of the dishes dirty. I am not the one who makes a mess in the house. The only time I am ever even home is when I come home to sleep. I have a job and I never ask them for money. I don't see why they treat me like I am some kind of maid. My mother says I either have to do this cleaning or start paying rent. I think this is very unfair. Now that I have a job and have some money to spend, they want to take part of it. I have talked to some friends about getting an apartment together but they always back out at the last minute. Do you have any suggestions?

/s/ The Maid

Dear Maid,

    The Doctor suggests that you do the cleaning or pay the rent. You do not appreciate it now, but a mother's function is to prepare you for life. Your mother knows that anywhere you go you will have to do a certain amount of cleaning and dishwashing. This is true whether you live with friends, get married or live alone. Learn to live with it.

Dear Doctor Love,

    My fourteen year-old has been asking for a dog for almost a year. He does not want just any dog. He wants a big male rottweiler like his friend has. I do not trust these dogs because I have seen too many shows on TV where they have attacked people.

    I have always let him have dogs but I feel like I have to draw the line somewhere. I would not feel comfortable having a big scary animal like that in the house. My son says that if we raise him from a puppy we have nothing to worry about because the dog will see us as his family. My instincts tell me that he is wrong about this. Please help me come up with some reasons why he should not have an animal like this.

/s/ Unsigned

Dear Unsigned,

    Here is a good reason. He is fourteen. You are his mother. You pay the bills. He does not. What you say is what happens.

     Of course, kids hate it when you give them reasons like this. This is all part of Mother Nature's master plan. Mother's always have the last say on what is or is not harmful for their children. This is because a mother's instincts are usually based on some kind of truth.

    You see, part of what your son says is true. If you raise the dog from a pup it will consider you its family. Dog families are different from human families, though. Dogs are pack animals and there is always a leader  or "Alpha dog" who is usually the biggest and fiercest of the male dogs.

    This is why, from the beginning, the owner needs to establish themselves as the "dominant dog".  There are certain obedience training techniques the owner must use to make the puppy submissive. One of the exercises is to pick the puppy up and when it stops struggling, roll it over on its back. Rub its tummy to establish your dominance - smile and speak calmly. Spaying or neutering also helps.

    The big dogs you see mauling humans on TV are sometimes raised by aggressive owners to behave that way. Other dogs have been repeatedly abused by someone and will eventually "flip out" over some simple taunting by the owner or another person. Sometimes elderly people buy a dog for protection but cannot control the dog as it grows into a large adult, therefore allowing it to get away with inappropriate behavior. When this happens, the dog feels they are the leader. Often the elderly find they are dominated by their own pet and may end up in the hospital if the dog knocks them down or plays too rough.

     All of this can be avoided if the puppy is trained properly. Ask your local veterinarian or pet shop owner for information on obedience/behavioral training for dogs. Then carefully review all the care, time and money involved in owning a large dog with your son before deciding on whether to allow him to have his own pet.

Dear Doctor Love,

    Please explain something to me. I know there is a lot of petty crime on this island. Much of it is caused by crack heads who steal so they can buy drugs. I'm sure no one has bothered to add up the value of all of the stuff that has been stolen in these "petty" thefts but I know it runs to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on this island alone. I, personally, have lost about two thousand dollars worth of tools and equipment this year to these "petty" thieves. Everyone on this island knows that a "crackhead" can take stolen property to about ten or twelve places on this island and trade it for drugs.

    My question is this. Why is it that I can name at least six crack houses where stolen goods can be traded and yet the police cannot seem to find these places? Other people can name even more. Why can't the police find these places if everyone else knows where they are? Why can't the police do something as simple as setting up a lookout in front of some of these places and intercepting people before they trade stolen property for drugs? Why couldn't they raid a drug house and confiscate the stolen property if they see the property being taken into the crack house to trade for drugs?

    Can you give me a good explanation for this?

/s/ Victim

Dear Victim,

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