Letters to the editor - 1/10/03

January 10, 2003

Must adopted dogs only live indoors?

To the editor:

Zoey was in every sense man's, or a family's best friend. A mixed-breed black and brown dog born and given away by a farm family, she lived with us for 10 years. We took her to the vet for check-ups, shots and had her fixed. She was hearty, healthy and never bared her teeth. She walked hundreds of miles of trails with us. She smiled all the time.

We were heart-broken, when after a valiant fight with lymph cancer, she had to be put down. I held her in my arms as the fatal shot was injected and her life quickly ebbed away. I brought her home and buried her in the woods.

Where is this going? We want another dog. Reading recently about the influx and overcrowding of pets at the Washington County Humane Society, we decided to go there for our next dog. On our third visit, in August, we found the perfect puppy, another smiler whose tail wagged continuously.


As we warmed to the idea of taking the little codger home with us, we were given a form to fill out - address, phone number, all the usual. Okay. Also included were questions about income, past pets we've had, how we've related and interacted with them - sensitivity stuff. Okay.

Then we learned that we needed sit-down counseling with a pet adoption counselor before we could take the puppy. Okay. The counselor took a few minutes to digest our biological and pet history data, and the interview began. Of course the shelter wants to ensure the pets get a good home, that the pet gets love and care and that the we are not low-life pet abusers. Okay. After a number of straightforward questions, we were asked how our house/home is equipped to handle a full-time pet.

We responded that our dogs have lived in the outdoors, in a 20-by-12 foot kennel. The counselor said she was sorry, but that the Humane Society only places pets that will be living indoors. I was flummoxed. And irked!

Last fall the paper informed us that 128 dogs were put down from July 1 to then. Commissioner Paul Swartz said, "It made my stomach flip-flop to see those dogs...looking up at you with their longing eyes saying 'Please take me.' " What tears me up, after holding Zoey in my arms at the vet's, is to be told that I can't adopt a dog because it will be kept outdoors. The chances are pretty good that that little puppy was put down.

Is it any wonder that the shelter is overcrowded? Commissioner Bert Iseminger said, "It would be great to convince people to take them into their lives." We wanted to take a puppy into our lives, but not into our house.

Dwight L. Wingert

Mt. Aetna

Dr. King, a man of God

To the editor:

On Jan. 20, 2003, the nation will again celebrate the life accomplishments of the slain Civil Rights leader, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I also honor the legacy of Dr. King in my own personal way. Dr. King truly was a man of God. He submitted himself to the will of God in order to heal a racially divided America. Dr. King, along with thousands of other dedicated Americans, sacrificed his life so that future generations could learn to live in peace and harmony with one another.

I was 10 years old when Dr. King was assassinated. I lived in the little town of Piedmont, W.Va., a village 20 miles south of Cumberland, Md. I vividly recall seeing all of the women in my family sobbing hysterically. It was such an emotional time. His death changed my life forever, because even as a young child, I realized that the responsibility of challenging the status quo was a task to be embraced by all Americans, but especially by African-Americans.

Dr. King paid a high price for the cost of freedom for mankind. The King holiday is not a day to stay at home, go to the mall or sleep. It is a day to honor a great American. We can honor his legacy by teaching our children about the man and his philosophies on nonviolence, passive resistance and faith in God.

I reside in Cumberland. There are not many African-Americans who live in Allegany County and therefore the need for tolerance is even greater in Western Maryland. Cumberland is a community where the Confederate flag was flown in the rotunda of City Hall not too long ago. There is still much work to be done in Cumberland and other communities to fulfill the dream of Dr. King.

Ask yourself: Have I supported Dr. King's dream where all God's children can live in peace and harmony or have I perpetuated the nightmare of violence, hostility and racism? In the end, we will not only be judged on our collective history, but also the content of our character.

I have a dream that our society will continually embrace and implement Dr. King's dream.

Leontyne Peck

Cumberland, Md

Santa Claus is worshiped? Please

To the editor:

In response to Emmanuel Godlove's letter about Santa:

I don't know of any child who "worships" Santa. I would say from the age of 2-3 to 7 or 8 years of age children believe in Santa. What a happy time for them!

The months of November and December you hear the name Santa. After that the name is hardly mentioned.

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