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How Much Is That Doggie?

Ben Stein's puppy love. Plus: Kerik sticks. Pinochet corps. The "Misty" three. Ohio party time. And more.

12.16.04

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THEY CALL IT PUPPY LOVE
Re: Ben Stein's Christmas Peace:

Thanks to Ben Stein for his warm appreciation of rescue dogs. I have three rescue dogs at the moment and have had others in the past. They are the most beautiful, loving companions. I have two pure-bred Japanese Chin who were breeders in a puppy mill and basically spent their previous lives in a cage before they were rescued at auction by a rescue society. They are gorgeous show-quality girls and the happiest, most fun-loving little dogs I have ever met. My other dog is a glorious Pekingese who was found wandering the streets of a major city and was turned over to Pekingese rescue by the local animal shelter. Like Ben's dog, he is the light of my life and is the most devoted, loving friend I have ever had.

Most people don't know that there are organizations all over the country devoted to rescuing specific breeds and there are millions of pure-bred dogs just waiting to be adopted. All are spayed/neutered, have all their shots, and are wonderful additions to a family. Whatever breed you are looking for (and many you have never heard of) can be found at petfinder.com.

Thanks for a great column just in time for Christmas.
-- Alice C.
Texas

You surely know, dogs are not free at the animal shelter. After the recent passing of my father, my mom decided she needed another dog to go with Jack, the part Jack Russell part Beagle. My parents always tried to save a pup if they could, and have had success with several pound puppies but not this time. She picked out a somewhat homely Beagle-ish male that of course, had to be neutered, and given his round of shots, for which my mom gratefully paid. He thought he had landed in hell, not dog heaven where he surely was. As a practiced escape artist, he was no match for my 75-year-old mom. He escaped twice. The first time we reclaimed him for a tidy sum-around $40. This was after an initial expenditure of around $100 for the shots and surgery. The second time the pound got him, it would have been upwards of $100, plus a summons as to why we "let" him run free. We reluctantly left him at the shelter. She then learned of the "specialty adoption center" at the local mall. She had to complete a lengthy form explaining that she wouldn't ever mistreat a dog. She treats the dogs better than... oh well, you get the idea. They didn't even bother to notify her that she didn't make the cut. My sister and I decided to get her a puppy for Christmas, but the neighbor has given her the ugliest dog imaginable. She is in love. He will stay, and Jack and the cat will move over and Scooter will become one of the clan.

Animal shelters are a good thing, but sometimes they protect their charges right out of a home.
-- Janis Johnson

I have to agree with Mr. Stein that having a dog to love is wonderful, but PLEASE do not go get a pet as a gift unless you know that person wants one and has the time and money to care for it. I have four dogs, three of them rescues and the love they give is NOT free. Have you been to a veterinarian recently? They charge more than an M.D.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

I understand how it is when you have a dog that knows you need to have a cry and cuddles up to you in your bed and simply lies there and lets you cry. I understand how it is when your daughter tells you her best friend is her golden, large, and hairy dog who always seems to know when she needs him. I understand when I look at the pictures of my grandsons, sound asleep on this same dog who never moves until they wake up. I understand when the pictures show two of the family cats asleep on this dog who never moves until they wake up.

The best dogs are the lost ones. We had one pick our family and once he had done that we were goners. He gave us so much fun, so much loyalty, so much protection and we learned about love from his great heart. He is gone now, but we always talk of him, each with his own special story, it was a most fortunate day he chose us to be his family.

People who have never known the love of a dog have missed one of life's real joys, and fun times with real grief when we lose them and it is something they always remember with such happiness. Go get one of the lost, they are the best, they appreciate their new home and will be there for you in good times and bad times. They don't know the difference as long as you love him and treat him well.
-- Carole

Please come and get the German Shepard that lives behind me who disturbs my peace at least ten times every day by barking viciously. She needs to be ABANDONED and you're just the guy to help her -- and me!
-- James Crystal

For the last 20 years of my 44 years on the planet, I have had a "dog(s) in the house." Murphy, we just said goodbye to this year. "Darwin" was senile and we had to say goodbye in 1994. Before either of those dogs there was the German Shepard "Boris."

So, I think I have paid my dues as far as making a home for shelter animals. They sadly, will always be among us, and my heart gets mighty heavy any time I see another person's dog, or happen to be in an animal shelter. But I am also a better person for it. From all this I have learned to have no fear of any strange dog but I know and most importantly respect their nature. I get angry at owners whom do not train their pets with even basic commands. I especially have great disdain for those who do not spay and neuter animals in their care. For such a small expense, these owners could relieve us of much heartache by helping to limit unwanted pets.

Now I have kids, (y'know children, the REAL DEAL!) and it is a relief to not have to worry as they scramble into the backyard to play. Though I am still given pause about the yard condition because of how my furry friends "trained" me.

If I do decide to get another dog, I may finally get the breed that I want. I have no regrets, just lotsa knowledge about dogs.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

NOBODY'S PERFECT
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder's Kerik and the Sistine Chapel:

I usually enjoy and agree with the musings of Mr. Mason and Mr. Felder.

However, regarding Kerik's suitability as head of DHS, they've got it horribly wrong this time.

The position to which Kerik aspired is an enormously important one because it directly involves national security. Because of the critical nature of the job, the nominee's qualifications are appropriately heightened and exacting as I think we can all agree they should be. Kerik's reputation as a no-nonsense tough guy and his impressive track-record as a law enforcement officer initially made it seem as though he was the perfect choice for head of DHS. However, post-nomination disclosures of alleged marital infidelities call into question his integrity, the most important of qualifications for high government posts involving national security. Why most important? Very simple. Blackmail, extortion, etc.

Boy Clinton is to be damned for trifling with our national security by, among other failures, exposing himself (pun intended) to blackmail via his Oval Office indiscretions.

The constitutional crisis which ensued due to Clinton's inability to keep his zipper zipped is a depressing reminder that character does indeed matter. Knowing what we now know about Kerik, notwithstanding his positive capabilities, do we really want to trifle with our national security once again? Now? After what we witnessed on 9/11? I don't think so.
-- Dave Mills
Rolla, Missouri

Kerik had a hard life and went a long way. But along that way he often went astray. He indulged himself morally and criminally -- nothing uncommon among politicians, climbing the ladder of big city governance. Early hardships, however, do not provide a free pass through the doors of public trust into the limelight of National office. Let his defeat and humiliation serve as a warning to the unscrupulous who would follow in his footsteps.
-- Unsigned

Thank you for your well-stated article. May I second your motion and shout a heartfelt AMEN?
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

Supporters of Bernie Kerik to become Director of Homeland Security, Mason and Felder among them, need to stop with all the excuse-making and accept the reality that this man was completely unqualified, both professionally and morally, to assume such a crucial role in protecting our country.

While it is right to marvel at the fact that Kerik was able to rise from such tragic beginnings to become Police Commissioner of New York City, it is totally inappropriate to continue to use Kerik's troubled childhood as an excuse for the many abuses of trust he has committed in both his private and professional lives. This is clearly one deeply disturbed individual.

In a related matter, President Bush and Mayor Giuliani have both displayed incredibly poor judgment in believing Kerik to be the right man for this job. Here's hoping the President can come up with a candidate possessing the necessary intelligence, competence, managerial experience and moral fiber that Bernie Kerik so clearly lacks.
-- Dave Egan

There is something about this man that smells very bad. He started in 1986 as a patrolman and was Commissioner of Police by the time 9/11 happened. Family ties to the mob? Using an apartment, donated for Ground Zero workers, to have tandem extra-marital affairs? Suddenly garnering a windfall of $6+ million in "stock options." This makes Hillary's cattle options scandal look like small potatoes!
-- Loren Harmon
Phoenix, Arizona

GOOD MAN
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s The Left Always Gets Its Man:

Thank you for your defense of General Pinochet. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile in 1977. I was surprised and impressed with how normal and functional the country was under Pinochet, since I heard so much before I left the States about how horrible conditions were there under Pinochet. I did not find him to be a tyrant. No one I ever talked to told me of people they knew who were victims. People were pleased that the economy was improving rapidly, if a bit embarrassed that they no longer had an elected president. Pinochet did what he did for the good of his country. He should be honored for that, not persecuted in his old age.
-- D. Stewart
Palo Alto, California

SENATE RESPONSIBILITY
Re: Jed Babbin's Don't Play "Misty" for Me:

Please, please don't let this story die. There has to be a way to bring this to the attention of the American public. Bill O'Reilly or somebody....
-- Emmett Duke

I am outraged beyond words after reading Jed Babbin's "Don't Play Misty for Me." Now I can't get to sleep. Chomping at the bit, waiting to call Shelby, Frist, etc.

I posted the article at Lucianne. I am hoping she'll make it a MUST READ.
-- Sally Vaci (SallyVee)
Birmingham, Alabama

You are damn right they should be prosecuted. They aren't even held responsible by the do nothing Mr. Frist. I have no confidence in Frist as a leader or a disciplinarian.
-- Carol Gaul

PARTY MATTERS
Re: John Carlisle's All Get Out:

Do political parties reign supreme or is it one (Republican of course) political party's ideas that reign supreme?
-- Diamon Sforza
San Diego, California

The one question that hasn't been asked is how many votes did the Democrat 527's generate for the Republicans by insulting potential voter's intelligence with their wild accusations and hare-brained conspiracy theories. More than a handful, I'd bet.
-- Ed Callahan
La Habra, California

One of the helpful-to-Republicans things that was done in Ohio was the targeting of Clarke County by British and European Socialists who blitzed their county with demands that they vote for John Kerry. Echoing the message first sent to these meddlers in 1775, Clarke County turned out an overwhelming vote for George W. Bush.
-- Kate Shaw
Toronto, Canada

It seems there's always someone somewhere explaining how the Republicans won the election. The explanations range from Republicans communicating "values" (interpreted by leftist as gay-bashing) to better mobilization of their base to the most ludicrous, Media is biased towards conservatives. Everyone seems to miss the obvious point: That more American's are right of center than left and more American's agreed with the Republican's agenda of lower taxes, higher security, strict constitutional interpretation based on the original intent of the writers and less governmental invasion in the individual lives of citizens. Occam's razor applies here.
-- Unsigned

UP-ARMORED HUMVEES
Re: Lee Tichenor's letter ("Rummy Dearest") in Reader Mail's Bits and Pieces:

The problem hasn't been caused by the current administration or their appointed Army leaders. It dates back to Gen. Shinseki's vision for a new highly mobile Army. They are spending millions for "fast" humvees and Strykers that can only move effectively on roads, and barely stop small arms fire, much less RPGs or command-detonated mines. (Sure, the Pentagon press corps calls them "IEDs." I call them what they are.) Meanwhile, M-113 APCs that have already been updated to be resistant to RPG fire and mines sit in motorpools all over the world- reports say between eleven and twelve thousand total, some already modified to handle these kind of threats (these modifications were done for the Vietnam War) while others are modifiable. About four of these old M-113s could be reconditioned and put into service for the cost of one up-armored humvee.
-- Jon Carroll

GONE FISHING
Last year, while fishing on a charter boat in Florida, I met a business man from Sweden. "What kind of work do you do?" I asked. He replied that he owned a business that made computer-guided machinery for factories. He added that he operated his business in various countries in Europe, but not in the United States. "Why not?" I asked. The man shook his head and said, "Oh no, I couldn't afford to take the chance. It's too easy to be sued in America. I could lose everything." This makes me wonder, how many businesses avoid locating in the U.S. (where they could employ American workers) because they perceive that our legal system is out of control?
-- Joe Fried
Cleveland, Ohio

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