It seems to me that one of the nicest things about seeing the older material is that it allows us to see just how old Lynn's favorite jokes and plot devices really are. The strip that has Elly say "This is a trap, isn't it.", for instance, reminds us that Lynn has always had the habit of presenting questions as declarations. We also know that she likes to show Elly as worrying over the improbable while ignoring immediate treats to her family's safety or her own status. This is sort of how and why they got Farley when they did. As howtheduck said, the reason she got hoodwinked by Thelma Baird's unbelievably manipulative and fact-free spiel was that she went over with the specific purpose of putting a stop to their looking at the dogs. Had she not gone, it's likely that, over the course of the week, John and Mrs Baird might have pressured her really hard about the need to give a poor, abandoned puppy a good home and Mike plaintively asking why she wanted to kill 'his' dog. She thus would have had a fifty-fifty chance of doing what was important to her ---having her own way--- if she'd not got so worried about what was keeping them, she exposed herself to being steamrolled; this is because, despite what Mrs Baird said to her, someone else would have latched onto the puppy and given him a better home than he had with her and her insane family. The notion that the Pattersons would be begging for trouble if they got a dog for conformity's sake never entered her mind. She cared less about preventing the risk of the dog's following its instincts and fighting back when mauled by unwary toddlers and more about cleaning up poop while Hubby thwarts her. Simply put, the only reason that he was there is that Elly couldn't mind her own business when she needed to. The fact that he died because she ignored or downplayed a genuine threat is sadly appropriate.