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Dear Abby: I accepted a request from my brother to watch his cats while he was across the country for a few months. During that time, one of them matured and started marking his territory all over my house. The dilemma was quickly taken care of with a trip to the vet, after permission from my brother.

My brother now insists that because I accepted responsibility for the cats “in every way” in his absence that I shouldn’t expect reimbursement for the professional carpet cleaner I rented or the vet bill I paid for neutering the cat.

Am I out of line to expect to be paid back? We have agreed to abide by your response.

– Christina in Maryland

Dear Christina: Tell your brother to start writing the check now. If he’d had to board his cats while he was out of town, it would have cost him a lot more. You were kind to help him out, and he should be ashamed of himself for trying to stiff you. HISSS!

Love lost and found

Dear Abby: My second wife died last year after 39 years of marriage. She had a beautiful, unique sense of humor. Three weeks after her funeral, I was walking our dog on the day that would have been our anniversary. As I bent down to pick up the poop, I spotted a quarter on the ground. It was so tarnished with age I couldn’t make out the date. But I remembered your “pennies from heaven” letters, so I picked it up.

I hurried home to clean it to see if it was from the year we were married. I was amazed when I discovered it WAS from the year I was married – but to my first wife. Like I said, my late wife had a unique sense of humor …

Smiling in New Jersey

Dear Smiling: I’m sorry for your loss. Two things occur to me. The first is that the quarter was your reward for being a responsible dog owner. The second is that your late wife may have been trying to “remind” you that you had a love before her, and you may find another one in the future.

Practice makes perfect

Dear Abby: We play softball at school a lot, and I can’t play well. I don’t know what to do, and the others laugh at me. What should I do?

– Anxious For Advice

Dear Anxious: I know of no athlete, amateur or professional, who can become proficient at a sport without lots of practice. Talk to your coach about what you need to do to improve, and see if another adult would be willing to play catch and pitch to you. If you keep trying, you will improve. If not, there may be another sport you will like better.

Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com.