Letters to the Editor: Issue 55

Thank you for the new recipes! I just made the “Puppy Stew” recipe (“Cheaper Eats” May ’09) and gave some to each of my three senior rescue dogs. The verdict was unanimous—another winner! I have been preparing “Project: Meatloaf” (Mar. ’08) in assorted forms and permutations, using various grains, proteins and veggies. The recipes are nutritious and easy, and based upon the eating behavior of my dogs, delicious as well. Thanks so much for helping us keep our dogs healthy.
—Dianne Houghtaling
Lansdale, Penn.
Ed. Note: These and other recipes can be found on thebark.com/wellness.

Holly & Kit
I was touched in many ways by your story about Holly and Kit (May ’09). I co-founded and run the Colorado Animal Rescue Express, or C.A.R.E., a nonprofit, 501(c)3 animal transport group, and your comment about seeing Holly’s face and knowing that you would do whatever it took to adopt her was so touching (and familiar). An important part of my volunteer job is to network the dogs, and some kitties, from high-kill shelters in the Midwest to rescue groups here in Colorado. When I see those faces—hundreds every day—I just know that I must help them find their new lives. C.A.R.E. was started in June 2007. In less than two years, we have transported almost 4,000 animals (read more at caretransport.org). Thank you for saving Holly and Kit, and for being willing to persevere in your efforts to get them home and give them the life they deserve.
—Linda Fox
Littleton, Colo.

I was just thrilled to read about the rescue and transport of Holly and Kit. I have been a transporter for over seven years and also have received hundreds of email pleas for help from “James Painter.” For years I have wondered who he is and how he has the time and energy to send out these lifesaving emails every day. Thank you so much for letting me know that it is his daughter, Dawn, who is doing this. I go through the emails every night and forward to breed-specific rescues that might be able to help. She has helped save many, many animals.
—Debbie Eades
Cincinnati, Ohio

As I was reading your diary on the rescue of Holly and Kit, I thought about our family dog, Tio, who was saved from death row before coming to live with my family in Germany. Tio was rescued from Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands, by a German/Spanish rescue group and then flown to Germany (where I am from originally). I fully agree that working in an animal shelter (or with a rescue group) is not an easy job and it is definitely a place where you can find everyday heroes!
—Trini Gantner
New York, N.Y.


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AKC Accountability
Margi Moore’s letter to the editor (May ’09) raises the question: “Why doesn’t anyone hold the AKC accountable for breeding mandates that create suffering in dogs?” Those of us in Oklahoma are wondering about this as we see opposition by the AKC to legislation that has been proposed to oversee puppy mills. Why doesn’t anyone hold the AKC accountable for opposing the humane treatment of pets? When you go to the legislation link on their website, you will see that they are against any state legislation that regulates puppy mills; they even provide a sample letter that members can send to Oklahoma legislators to voice opposition to the bill. It appears that for the AKC, it’s all about “Show me the money!” They want those registration fees. I understand now why my veterinarian looked at me with a scowl when I asked him if he had watched the Westminster Dog Show.
—Gayl Leichner
Oklahoma City, Ok.

Words & Actions
I was moved by Donna Kane’s letter in your May issue regarding the heartbreak of having to euthanize a beloved pet. “Euthanasia” is defined as the act of causing death painlessly so as to end suffering, and “suffering’ is further defined as distress and misery. Because I am at a loss as to another euphemism, I suggest we simply use euthanasia and accept and recognize it for the kind act it is, and respect that it is a decision made responsibly. Several times in my life, I have had to make the heart-wrenching decision to euthanize my own pets; I also volunteer at the Rice County Humane Society in Faribault, Minn., an open-door shelter where our staff veterinarian is routinely faced with this decision. Never is it made lightly and easily, but a humane death is preferable to the alternative of hunger, pain, cold and other scenarios that so many homeless animals face.

I also feel we need a new way to describe “no-kill” shelters and organizations. As an open-door facility, we never turn away an animal in need, but sometimes they just cannot survive the damage done by neglect, abuse and abandonment. We don’t “kill” the animals who come to us for help; rather, we make humane and informed decisions regarding the prospects for their quality of life, after having assessed both their physical status and their behavior. I challenge “no-kill” organizations to find another way to describe their philosophy of animal rescue so as not to denigrate open-door groups who do euthanize after careful evaluation. I also encourage all groups to work together as animal advocates to educate the public on animal welfare and pet overpopulation. As all of us who work to save animals know, spay and neuter is the best answer to the problems of pet overpopulation and neglect. I respectfully salute all animal rescuers everywhere.
—Kathy Jasnoch
Northfield, Minn.

Senior Moments
As the proud human companion of a senior dog, I really enjoyed your March issue! Our Springer Spaniel, Stella, will be 16 in June and is still going strong. We adopted her 15 years ago from the Humane Society in Rochester, Mich., and she has been with us through the growing-up years of two kids, 10 and 12 years old; a move; the loss of one dog, her companion for 11 years; and a new puppy, Hodges, foisted on her when she was 12. She is consistently upbeat, and when not sleeping, bounds around like a dog half her age. As I read Patricia McConnell’s article, “The Senior Citizen Pass,” I knew that by treating her as we would want to be treated in our senior years—with love and respect and including her in our family’s activities regardless of her age—we had probably helped her reach this milestone. Puppies are cute and make us laugh, but a senior dog has earned a special place in our hearts, one that’s full of love and memories. Thanks for giving them their own issue!
—Michele Guyor-Borthwick
Northville, Mich.