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All Dogs Go to Heaven

RIP, Seamus. Ben Bernanke, take notes. Grassley sees green. The $610 million disappointment. Plus more.

6.25.08

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ANGELS ON LOAN
Re: G. Tracy Mehan III's My Dog Died Today:

I once read a piece of advice that seems to me to be authentically orthodox:

"If it is necessary for your full happiness that your dog be with you in Heaven, then he will be."

For me, that's as good as a promise.
-- Doug Welty
Arlington, Virginia

Great story, I am so sorry for your loss.

And, yes, dogs do go to heaven, and you will see Seamus again.

I am sure of it.
--Barron Thomas

A year ago, my beloved 16 year-old cat Winston died and I still grieve. He was my buddy and best friend.

From your description of Seamus, had they met, I think he and Winston would have been inseparable.

I have absolutely no doubt that we both will see them again.

Your in moratorium was touching and I'm sure many readers share my sentiments.
-- Charles R. Jackson

G. Tracy Mehan III, in sharing his grief at the loss of his friend and family member Seamus, vividly captured why dogs are so important. I've always said dogs were God's way of reminding fallen humanity of His love -- that's why when naming the animals in the Garden Eden he just reversed his name for theirs.

Thank you Tracy, for sharing in your moment of grief. Zulu and Peanut will get a hamburger today in memory of Seamus. Our prayers are with you and yours.
-- Chaplain Michael Tomlinson

What a wonderful commentary on our love for dogs. I also had a lab that we had to put down after a long, adventurous life. I cried harder for that damm dog than when my dear parents passed away.

Thanks.
-- Les

Mr. Mehan's article about the life and death of his beloved black lab, Seamus, brought tears to my eyes. It's been nearly a year since I had my black lab/hound mix of 15 years, 3 months, Scoobie, "put down." She was the fifth in a line of dogs in our family. I brought her home from the shelter when she was five months old. Like Mr. Mehan, I took my dog's passing hard. I cried every day for a month after she was "put down." When my father, presently in a nursing home, learned of Scoobie's death, he sobbed for a good five minutes. I don't think I saw him cry like that since the death of his older brother.

Like Seamus, Scoobie was gentle with the neighborhood kids. They may not have known my name but they knew Scoobie's. Even when she was old and gray with a swollen left hip and a large lipoma on her right side, kids still called her a "pretty dog." I now have two dogs, a black lab/terrier mix named Kayla, and a black lab/pointer mix named Pepper. They were in foster care together for over ten months. Kayla is aggressively affectionate while Pepper is my clown. My mom joked that I had to get two dogs to replace Scoobie. While these new dogs have become dear to me, I'll always have a special place in my heart for Scoobie. Again, my condolences to Mr. Mehan and his wife; I understand their pain.
-- Bill Erdmann
University Park, Illinois

In the 1970s, I played Bullwinkle to a fully tenured Professor Rocket J. Squirrel. To pay his salary and my graduate school tuition, we taught a large collection of undergraduates a course titled something like "the anthropology of the family." The students took the course to fulfill their social studies requirement. Like most professors, Squirrel thought it was undignified for him to actually teach undergraduates -- so little of the subject matter was up for debate in class.

One day, we were in discussion about who could be counted as part of the family when several students insisted that their dog was a member of the family.

In a rare display of vehemence as I had ever seen from him, Professor Rocky sternly shouted "no" and acidly commented that dogs were only pets -- not family members.

I thought he was wrong then. Now as an old man, I know he was wrong.
-- Mike Dooley

I read Mr. Mehan's tribute to his dog Seamus with keen sympathy. That may or may not seem strange, since I am primarily a cat person, though I have known some great dogs. There is something very special about the bond we have with those intelligent creatures (cats or dogs) that come into our lives and become part of our families. Mr. Mehan, you will always treasure those wonderful memories of Seamus. I know that when my special cat Max reaches the end of his days (hopefully not for many, many years), I will treasure many, many happy memories of his special and endearing ways.

As for the orthodox opinion saying dogs don't go to heaven, don't be so sure. The Bible does speak of a day in the future when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb (Isaiah 11:6). As an evangelical Christian, I think it is at the very least an open question.

Regardless of the final theological answer on that question, I have treasured my cat, who I have often viewed as a little messenger of God's grace and love to me. You will never forget Seamus. How wonderful that Seamus graced your life for all those wonderful years!
-- Dave Bugbee
Longmont, Colorado

As I write this tears are streaming down my face. Please accept my heartfelt condolences for the loss of your beloved friend.

I remember the huge hole left in my family when we had to have our Great Dane "Flirty Gertie" put to sleep. It was months before I stopped waiting for her to come lolloping through the door and try to sit on my Dad's lap (for some reason she seemed to think she was the size of a Chihuahua).
-- Gretchen L. Chellson
Alexandria, Virginia

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are." --Unknown
-- Marc Zimmerman
Vancouver, Washington

I'm sorry to read about your faithful friend passing. It seems I have known him too from reading your article. Those good memories are the ones that stay with you and sustain you when you feel that sense of loss.

I have 16 dogs that I rescued and I love them all.

Three are getting up there and the arthritis is taking its toll. One, Droopy, is a cocker mix and he's my faithful companion. I fear he doesn't have much more time at 17 years.

I hope you do see Seamus again, full of life and energy.

You have been blessed in this life.
-- Tommy Green

My condolences on your loss.

I lost my German Shepherd, Ike, in January due to a brain tumor.

In April a friend from church let me know about a white male German Shepherd at the Salt Lake County shelter. He's a year and a half and we are total buds.

You will...I believe... see Seamus at the Rainbow Bridge.
-- Jim Woodward
Midvale, Utah

Thank you for printing this sweet tribute. Two months ago I had to put my dog down and she would have been 18 later this year. I've often wondered if our dogs go to heaven and I prefer to think they do. C. S. Lewis believed our dogs go to heaven and the Bible tells us that the lion will lay down with the lamb when all is said and done. Seamus lived a great life and then laid down for a well-deserved nap. That's how it should be.
-- Fran McKinney

Regarding the question of whether or not dogs go to heaven, according to James Thurber, "If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons."

If Mr. Thurber is correct, the odds are good for Seamus. The bigger question is: who will be available to give him heavenly tummy rubs?
-- Bob Vogler
Seattle, Washington

I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to you on the loss of your longtime companion.

Your story of his life brought to mind the loss of a similar companion I experienced last May. She was a 130-lb. Rottweiler who loved my grandchildren more than anything on earth.

We buried her on the hill overlooking our house near where she would keep watch over us and her domain.

I miss her mightily and find the pain of her loss diminishes little with the passage of time. I too hope to see her again.

Your article brought to mind the pleasure of her company and a tear for the pain and emptiness of loss.

Count me among those that believe there must be a place in heaven for our faithful companions.
-- Bob Kasper

Rest assured that all dogs do indeed go to heaven. In fact I strongly believe that if I ever pass through those gates, I will find far more dogs there than humans.
-- Jim Rose
Sachse, Texas

What a beautiful tribute to a dear friend.
-- Stephanie
Gloucester, Virginia

STRONG STEADY HAND
Re: Quin Hillyer's What the Fed Should Do:

Quin Hillyer, whose economic instincts and commentaries are usually right on the mark, misses the target entirely in "What the Fed Should Do" (June 24, 2008). Like most conservatives these days, Hillyer takes interest-rate targeting by the Fed as a given (false premise) and then tries to puzzle out what interest-rate policy is appropriate in today's economic situation. No matter how intricate his logic, however, invalid conclusions always follow from false premises. In fact, the Fed's discretionary interest-rate targeting is the problem, and no manner of refined and sophisticated implementation of that ill-fated endeavor can work to maintain a stable currency.

The Congress needs to recognize the failure of discretionary Fed policy and legislate an end to it. In its place, the Congress should require the Fed to follow a rule-based monetary policy that anchors the dollar to something real like gold. Specifically, the Congress both should withdraw from the Fed the delegated responsibility of pursuing conflicting and ill-conceived policy objectives (stable prices and full employment) and should eliminate the central bank's discretion to make monetary policy up as it goes along. Congress should instruct the Fed to conduct open market operations (buying and selling federal securities) with the sole purpose of maintaining the dollar-price of gold at a constant, statutorily fixed value and simultaneously require the U.S. Treasury Department to redeem dollars on demand for gold and vice versa at the statutorily fixed price, no exceptions. The results would be a stable dollar and the optimal conditions for rapid economic growth and full employment.
-- Lawrence A. Hunter, Ph.D.
Warrenton, Virginia

As much as I admire Quin Hillyer's work, I think he's wrong on this one.

An economic truth: A country's currency is as good as the world's confidence in it.

That confidence comes from one source -- what the currency can buy on the world market compared with other currencies, which itself comes primarily from the strength and breadth of that country's manufacturing, and secondarily from the strength of that country's economy.

In regard to the latter, our government has far too much debt and spends far too much money on things that return nothing to the economy. No amount of Fed-fiddling with interest rates can affect, let alone cure, those two fatal diseases.

In regard to the former, we no longer manufacture enough of the things that used to draw buyers to us and the dollar. Steel tops the list, for shame, for shame. Add other "hard" products like appliances, automobiles, electronics, clothing, and many others, and
we have less and less to offer for sale.

It's not even a matter of other countries being able to charge less -- we don't have the goods to offer even at a higher price! Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is a fine example, where there were plans to raze the huge but silent steel plant complex -- once one of the most productive in the world -- and replace it with a theme park.

I don't know whether that has happened. I don't want to know. I've spent enough emotion on that tragicomedy. I do know that no one wants our money in order to buy a ride on "The Dipsy-Doodle."

The plight of the ruble is the best near-contemporary example of this economic truth. During the time of the Soviet Union, absolutely no one wanted the ruble -- not even Soviet citizens. A pile of dung was worth more than a ruble, to be accurate. There was nothing you could do with a ruble, but you can do several things with a pile of dung,
even make a profit with it.

Whether the Fed raises or lowers the interest rate -- even quadruples it, or eliminates it entirely -- will have no effect on the dollar so long as we no longer manufacture goods that others want to buy, have a national debt measured in dollars with the economic equivalence of light-years, and continue to spend our tax money on programs that
only drain with no return.

But let's not destroy the dream-myth of the Fed. Let it keep fiddling with interest rates in the hope that it can accomplish something.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned, but in the end, Rome burned -- fiddling notwithstanding.
-- A. C. Santore

From the Keep It Simple Stupid school of thoughts:

The Federal Reserve Board released its statement today regarding its handling of the U.S. monetary policy: "Oooops."
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

FOR POSTERITY
Re: Jeffrey Lord's An American in Washington:

I think Mr. Lord's column beautifully expresses one of those unique traits in America which has aided our continued prosperity and fast advancement from a collection of up-start colonies to the only superpower in the world. The power to dream, and to know that while we might face obstacles to that dream, nothing is there that can actually stop us from reaching them. And it's also too true that our "leaders" in Washington have lost touch with that.

I think, also, that the culture of self-reliance, and a healthy distrust of government helps us in making those dreams reality. These also need to be recognized and protected from Washington's well-meaning, but misguided, interference.
-- Charles Campbell
Austin, Texas

Riddle me this:

If Tim Russert "understood in his gut that the strength of America was not in Washington but in the dreams of Buffalo and all the Buffalo's around America," why then was he a champion for ever bigger government, first as an overt Democratic operative and then as a Democratic operative disguised as a impartial journalist?
-- Peter Skurkiss
Stow, Ohio

GRASSLEY SEES GREEN
Re: Matt Kibbe's Chucking Privacy:

"Grassley snuck a provision into the mortgage bailout bill currently winding its way through Congress that will require credit card processing companies to track and store data on any online vendor who makes more than 200 transactions a year or sells any item with a value of more than $10,000."

It is very disappointing that a Republican introduced this provision -- no wonder the party is in such dire straits. Let us hope President Bush argues that the Grassley spies will help him smoke out some terrorists. The Democrats will then shout it down.
-- Dan Martin

The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution is clear, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." From these words jurist have inferred the right to privacy. Via Roe v. Wade, the Left found this implied right included another implied right: the right to destroy developing human life. The ruling was gross government overreaching. The Right is also guilty of self-same disturbing overreaching. One of its latest transgressions, passing the original Patriot Act, blatantly ignored the right to be left alone. This long history of government overreaching and intrusion into its citizens' lives has laid a footpath for Chuck Grassley's disturbing proposed tax legislation.

When the people grant power to a government agency through our representatives, such as Iowa's Senator Grassley, we need to assure the power is used on our behalf. The senator is either is ignoring or forgetting that knowledge is power and "with great power comes great responsibility." The IRS is a powerful workhorse of the government. It has rights of seizure and detention that are not to be found in any other U.S. government agency, but has the IRS used its power sagaciously and prudently? The IRS does not have a solid track record in regards of respecting that they work for us. A wise master holds power over his pet and has no need to fear its bite. Grassley's proposed legislation may, at first blush, appear to be a puppy but in time, the dog may end up wagging the master.

Further, commerce, the invisible hand, as Adam Smith called it, works best when it does not leave fingerprints on every transaction. Many people transact on the Internet because they wish to do legitimate business anonymously. While the government does have a responsibility to pierce that veil of privacy in some situations, such as a perceived or actual threat to U.S. interests, the burden for demonstrating the need to breach the privacy falls squarely on the government. Simply tracking daily transactions for the sake of collecting data is unwarranted. (No pun intended.) In a word, Mr. Grassley, keep your hand off my stash.

Americans are wise when we ask for little from our government; relying on it has too often led to bitter disappointment and avoidance of individual, familiar, community and state responsibilities. But we are not asking too much at all if we politely but firmly ask them to, "Leave us alone!"
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

BALLPARK FIGURES
Re: Alec Mouhibian's Nationals Lampoon:

Many thanks to Alec Mouhibian for his dissection of the new Nationals Park. I grew up a Yankees fan. I currently live in Florida and have been working as a contractor in the District since February. The prospect of seeing a new stadium during its inaugural season led me to think about planning an afternoon there sometime. I mean, the park is a short Metro ride away, and nothing beats a ballgame in the summer, right?

Based on his synopsis of the Nats' new home, I believe I'll save my cash for tickets to a Yankees home game sometime before the season ends. After all, the Bronx is only a four-hour drive away (and gas is still under $4.00 on the New Jersey Turnpike). I believe I would now rather see the last season of a grand stadium than the first season of another expensive baseball dungeon.
-- Joe Dougherty

Alec Mouhibian must have slept poorly and arisen hung-over from the wrong side of the bed before attending a Nat's home game at the new stadium.

Who cares about a view of the Washington Monument? If you're at Nat's Park you're there for the game, not the view. You can wander the National Mall all day before getting on Metro for a ride to the game. Unless you're a sports writer with no time for sight seeing, you'd have to be awfully jaded to care more about the view than the stadium.

Any of us who sat through a game at RFK stadium can attest to the giant step forward that this stadium represents for D.C.

Mr. Mouhibian refers to the availability of the Oakland A's as a franchise for the price of building the Washington stadium. Well, I grew up in Northern California as an Oakland Athletics fan and have visited the Oakland Alameda Memorial Coliseum on numerous occasions. It is drab, awkwardly configured to accommodate the Oakland Raiders in addition to the Athletics, and has an ugly outfield filled planted with ice plant, or shielded with a green tarpaulin. More mausoleum than coliseum. Other than looking backward in the nose bleed seats, it also has virtually no view. In its favor, it does have ample parking.

On the other hand, I recently attended my first Nat's game in the new stadium. I loved it. I wandered the park before hand and couldn't find a bad view of the field, even behind the foul poles in the outfield. Food was ample and varied (from BBQ to Five Guys Burgers and all the usual ballpark fare). Beverage stands were plentiful and carried a great variety. There was even cocktail and wine service available.

Admittedly, I left at the top of the eighth when the Rangers took a 12-3 lead -- they won 13-3. I enjoyed strolling out through the centerfield gate and reaching Metro in no time at all. I can remember sitting for up to 2 hours trying to exit the parking lot in Oakland on multiple occasions, only to then wend my way through a decrepit area of that benighted city.

As for a quirky feature, how about the fabulous LED scoreboard or the racing Presidents shtick? How about a clean stadium without the crumbling RFK concrete or rotting piping? How about not having to walk past the DC Armory or deal with the denizens of that neighborhood? Okay, the Nationals aren't playing great this year. But they are playing in a new stadium that is clean, accessible and family friendly.
-- Carl Murphy
Springfield, Virginia

DON'T GO THERE
Re: Mike Dooley's letter (under "BACK FOR MORE") in Reader Mail's Larger Than Life:

Mike, regarding your comment on Limbaugh's marriages, "Given his three marriages, he can't possibly understand women as much as he thinks," by that standard Bill Clinton is a perfect husband and has an extraordinary understanding of women, including his only wife and all this mistresses while married to his only wife. Are you sure you want to go there with that kind of shallow judgment of relationship issues?
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

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