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home : columns : dear harriette April 14, 2021

12/18/2020 7:54:00 AM
Cousin's TV blunder costs extra money

DEAR HARRIETTE: My cousin helped me move into my new apartment recently. He offered to put up a few shelves and mount my TV to the wall. He told me he could handle it on his own and that I should unpack. While I was home alone the next day, I heard a big crash. The TV had fallen off the wall, and the wall and TV were completely ruined. I called my cousin to tell him what happened and haven't heard back. Weeks have passed, and I had to pay a lot of money to repair the wall, purchase a new TV and pay for correct mounting.

I know my cousin didn't mean for that to happen, but he cost me extra money by volunteering to do something I now know he did not know how to do. He has not taken responsibility. I want him to at least help me cover the expenses. Should I reach out to small claims? -- Dodging My Calls

DEAR DODGING MY CALLS: Before going to court, is there another family member who might be able to intervene? What about your cousin's parents? If there is a family elder who could be asked to speak to your cousin about his negligence, start there. Appeal to this person to get your cousin to talk to you about what happened, apologize and offer to share in the cost of the damage.

If this cannot happen or nothing comes of this intervention, you can go to small claims court with your receipts and photos of the damage. You may be able to recoup some of your expenses, but this will likely hurt your relationship.

DEAR HARRIETTE: In your response to the letter about the tenant who got a dog even though the landlord said no, you used the phrase, "get rid of the dog or move." "Re-home" is a more appropriate word. The dog is not a piece of garbage to be thrown away, to be gotten rid of or to be abandoned, which that phrase also implies.

I was involved in rescue for 12 years here in Los Angeles. I took in the pets who were "gotten rid of" at the shelter, and we kept two veterinarians busy cleaning up the messes of the former owners of these neglected and unwanted animals. The person who wrote to you is an idiot. They have no sense and certainly should not have a pet. But the dog should be re-homed, not gotten rid of. -- Words Count

DEAR WORDS COUNT: Thank you for the language clarification, which has everything to do with intent, doesn't it? A pet is a living being who deserves to be treated with respect. Too often people do not think fully about whether they have the ability or permission to care for a pet.

Re-homing is a concept I learned about years ago but forgot. My apologies. My daughter actually had a turtle for many years, and it outgrew its terrarium in our home. My daughter had a wonderful relationship with the pet store owner in our neighborhood. We worked together with him to re-home Bing-Bing. She had a little ceremony for the turtle and everything. It was highly emotional. I understand what you mean and appreciate your thoughtful follow-up. Thank you.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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