Dear Abby:

This year will be a great one for animal lovers. The North Shore Animal League America's annual Tour for Life, held in conjunction with the San Francisco SPCA, has already begun. On Friday, March 27, three 35-foot mobile adoption units left New York on a cross-country journey of more than 16,000 miles. The league will work with animal groups in 21 cities to help find loving homes for dogs and cats in their care. The first stop will be April 2 in San Francisco.

But Tour for Life is only the beginning. It signals the league's worldwide Pet Adoptathon May 3 and 4. Since 1995, Pet Adoptathon has placed more than 125,000 pets, and this event has grown to include animal organizations on every continent.

This year, North Shore Animal League America is asking those who want to give a lifetime of love to an animal orphan to set aside time on Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4, to visit their local Pet Adoptathon shelter. It's the best place for potential adopters to find a special dog or cat who will give them unconditional love in return.

John Stevenson, President

North Shore Animal League America

I know your announcement will be greeted with enthusiasm by animal lovers everywhere.

Readers, for more information, please call the Pet Adoptathon toll-free hotline: 1-877-BE-MY-PAL (1-877-236- 9725) or visit the Web site: www.petadoptathon.com. You'll be glad you did.

Dear Abby:

I have been with this guy, "Joe," for more than two years -- married just one. He is very nice at times, giving me flowers and back rubs. Other times, however, Joe calls me names, pushes me around, abuses our dog, keeps my money, spends all his time with friends, lies about stupid things and makes fun of my family.

In the past Joe has hit me, but I've always forgiven him. However, nowadays I just never feel happy. I don't know what to do, Abby. We've both been through counseling at church, but nothing has changed. My friends and family say I deserve better, but I love Joe with all my heart. Can the good outweigh the bad in our case? Or is it vice versa?

Needing Help in Bedford, Ind.

In your case it's vice versa -- the bad outweighs the good. You are married to an abuser. I hope you end this disastrous union before any children are involved. If Joe threatens you after you tell him you're unhappy, call the police or the Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.

Dear Abby:

I have a beautiful double strand of pearls I'd love to wear, but it was a gift from my ex-husband. Can I wear the necklace while out with my current husband?

New Wife in Guam

As long as your current husband doesn't object, I see no reason why not. Sometimes a string of pearls is only a string of pearls.

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

(c)2003, Universal Press Syndicate