Thank you for highlighting Greyhound retired racers (“Bella’s Firsts” Jan. ’10). One of the reasons I purchase your magazine is because of the variety of breeds represented, including my favorite. I have given forever homes to Picasso and Laika, adopted through Colorado Greyhound Adoption, coloradogreyhoundadoption.org and am thrilled that you would highlight adopting retired racing Greyhounds and have such a positive impact. —Tara Lindburg Board of Directors Colorado Greyhound Adoption
DogJoy’s a Hit
I want to thank you for not only founding the best dog mag out there, with the perfect blend of informative and uplifting articles, but also for helping with my holiday shopping this year. My mom is an avid rescuer whose latest baby is a laboratory Beagle named Mack. Her customized copy of DogJoy arrived just before Christmas, complete with Mack’s adorable profile on the cover. Mack deserves the life of luxury he now leads, and Mom deserves the brag book she proudly shows to everyone who walks through the door. Thanks for thrilling the most special lady in my life! —Michele Wallach Valley Stream, N.Y.
Reminder of the Mission
As another veteran rescue volunteer, I write to respectfully disagree with Kathy Jasnoch (Letters, Aug. ’09). I admire the intellectual clarity and rigor of the no-kill paradigm, whose title serves as a constant reminder of the mission. There can be only one proper goal of the sheltering system: to return every companion animal to the community, into better circumstances than those from which they came. The goal may never be completely attained, but it means that every effort of every employee and every volunteer can be devoted to that end. It follows that every shelter death must be considered a failure—to be mourned as a lost opportunity, individually analyzed for lessons and prevented in the future. There’s hope, but we’ll achieve our best results only if we demand an end to senseless bickering over egos and semantics, and forge a synthesis of all the creative approaches into 21st-century best practices. I’m betting that Ms. Jasnoch will join me in making that call. —Tom Cushing Danville, Calif.
Chessie or Boykin?
After reading “A Dog’s Castle” (Jan. ’10), I wondered if the dog called a Chessie was truly a Boykin Spaniel. I am a proud owner of one of these wonderful dogs.
Dogs with Taste
We wanted to tell you that our rescue, Stanley, loves your magazine and can’t wait to get it each time. He reads it cover to cover. —Tim and Susan Holub Newton Falls, Ohio
My foster pup, Lilli, just couldn’t contain how much she loved the August ’09 issue. I didn’t catch her “reading” it, like I often catch her “reading” my shoes, her leashes, my daughter’s toys or anything left within “reading” distance, but I did catch this photo of the thoroughly read magazine!
In the small, two- or three-block area where I walk my two-year-old Shar-Pei, Sophie, approximately a half-dozen people have small or toy dogs. Almost without exception, these individuals allow—and sometimes even seem to encourage—their small dogs to behave aggressively towards my dog.
When I first got Sophie, she was very friendly to other dogs she met on her walks, regardless of their size. Now, whenever she sees a small dog, she becomes agitated and starts to growl. It breaks my heart.
I have a theory that people with small dogs find their pets’ aggressive behavior cute, endearing and funny. They believe that because their dogs are small and could never be a threat, it’s okay to allow them to growl, bark, snap and charge at my dog.
But it’s not okay.
It seems a double standard exists in the dog world between those with small-breed dogs and those with larger breeds. The latter must make sure their dogs are never aggressive to other dogs, but the former may give their dogs free rein.
—Lisa McMillan Nepean, Ontario Readers: Do you agree or disagree? Sound off on the Bark blog!
A recent article, “Rescue, Doubled” (Oct. ’09), covered the wonderful work that the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) does in training dogs for rescue work. I am writing with a clarification, however. In the article, I was given credit for getting Cody into SDF. This credit should go to the current and former volunteers of Golden Retriever Rescue of WI, who worked as a team to make sure that Cody was accepted. Many volunteers played a vital role in Cody’s placement. Credit must also be given to the people at the shelter who took the first step: making the call that gave Cody a second chance. Thank you for showing what wonderful work these search and rescue dogs do.
More Ways to Help
Animal lovers in the U.S. can make a difference beyond their borders, as “Volunteer Vacations” (Aug. ’09) made very clear. However, even travelers who don’t have the time to volunteer during their vacation may still be able to provide an important service to organizations overseas.
We at AKI are always looking for people to transport supplies and equipment to our network organizations; rather than pay expensive postage, we rely on people traveling to these countries. Even better, if you are traveling to a less-developed country that has an animal welfare organization, you may wish to gather supplies yourself and transport them. Many of our organizations have so few volunteers and very few or no paid staff. These animal welfare advocates are usually overworked and have few colleagues to share the day-to-day stress. Even a short visit to lift morale is often useful. You’ll be so impressed with all the work these organizations do with so little funding that you may become a lifetime supporter.
Founder, Animal Kind International
Karen London’s column on special needs dogs (“Dogs Like Any Other” Oct. ’09) was great. It took me several months to admit my Noel was blind. Then I felt guilty for not admitting it sooner and not helping her sooner. After overcoming denial, I coped with the frustration of not knowing how to help her.
In her column, London says, “Just decide this dog is going to have a full and happy life!” Ultimately, that is what turned the page for Noel and me. I live to walk and hike with my dogs, and decided that no matter how hard it was or how much patience it required, Noel would learn the joys of walking with me. Many months passed. Slowly, Noel decided walks were not just tolerable but fun, maybe even great. Now Noel walks, hikes, plays ball, does full-on romping with my other dogs and is in every sense having a “full, happy life”!