Letter to the Editor

Your View: two from 6/30

Monday, June 30, 2003

Dear Sikeston,

My husband and I are here visiting his mother. We're from Oregon and just came from Arizona for the winter. We've been here for a month now and are getting ready to leave.

I just had to write this letter and let you know how much I love your town. Everyone I meet in the stores or along the streets (walking my dog) have been absolutely wonderful, very friendly and polite and always a friendly smile. I am totally amazed at how neat and clean everybody keeps their lawns around their houses; also amazed about each house that has their own beautiful big shade tree over it. I love all these trees. I've never seen a town with so many trees.

I love this town and would like to live here, but I have only one complaint, and that's the humidity. It got to me pretty bad since I've been here and finally had to visit the Southeast Missouri Health Network. I was amazed again at the interest and care that I received. My asthma had gotten the worst of me and, needless to say, I left there feeling like a new woman. The staff was absolutely wonderful and I think there are a great bunch of gals there. Hats off to you ladies and the great nurse practitioner who treated me.

I'm willing to move here and just see my doctor a lot, but I can't seem to convince my husband.

To the great folks in Sikeston, I thank you for a wonderful visit and the beautiful kindness you have shown us. I think this is the greatest town in Missouri. Keep up the good work.

Daniel and Joan Williams

Somebody needs to say it!Many pets at our humane shelters are not adopted because of the outrageous costs. As a boy, and then a young man growing up on the farm, I started treating animals humanely before many of you even knew what the word meant. Believe me, I had plenty of opportunities because many spineless, irresponsible people (too cowardly to knock their unwanted animals in the head) dropped them off near our home, sometimes by the litters.

Over the years, I've befriended literally hundreds of dogs and cats. We gave them food, shelter, love, attention and even a degree of health care. But there was no money involved. We fed them scraps off the kitchen table. We let them sleep in the shed. They had a discarded ham bone for a chew toy. I picked the ticks off their body and dabbed them with black oil if they showed signs of mange. And in the winter, I fixed them a bed of straw. Do you here what I'm saying? There was no money involved!

In today's world, you have to pay $60 to $80 just to take an animal from the humane shelter (which, if you don't take it, they will kill it anyway). Then you've got to have them neutered or spayed (which I do support). You'll need leashes, dog pens, chew toys, food bowls, water bowls, training cages, travel cages and tie-out chains. You'll need dog food (a never-ending need), treats, dog shampoo, hair brushes and a pooper-scooper. You'll need to get the dog immunized for rabies and if it's a long-haired dog, you'll need to get it trimmed for the hot summer. And if you go out of town, you'll need dog sitters. And all these things cost money, money, money!

But then comes the real kicker. To protect the pet from all the internal and external varmints that we used to never worry about, the vets and the rug companies will convince you that for ticks and fleas, you'll need "Frontline, Backline and Underline." And you'll need to immunize for Lyme disease, lemon disease and orange disease. For worms, you'll need "Interceptor" and "Outerceptor." For the body, you'll need "Heartguard" and "Fartguard." And just wait 'till you pull out your billfold to pay for these items!

And the bigger the dog, the more they stick it to you - even on the neutering. How asinine! Oh, they'll give you some cock-and-bull story about the dog's weight, and they might get away with that on you city-slickers. But I've castrated enough hogs in my time to know that no matter what the size, whether a small pig or a big hog, they still only have two testicles. Likewise with dogs.

The vet bills are much higher than they should be for a mere dog or cat, but the biggest part of the problem lies with the hateful greed of the drug companies. So what if it takes a couple of extra "cc" to anesthetize a larger dog. It's not like anesthesia is new technology. The drug companies, the very people who are making a handsome profit off your pets, aren't worried about being humane, or preventing suffering, or preventing animals from being destroyed. On the contrary, they will use every excuse they can, including playing on your sympathies, to extract the maximum amount of your dollars. Of course, they're screwing humans even worse. But for the moment, I'm writing about animals.

In the meantime, please don't come crying on my shoulder about all the animals that are being killed and/or allowed to suffer. If you really care and want to make a difference, help figure out how to reduce the costs. I know of people right now who would like another pet but have been burned so badly by the outrageous costs that they refuse to take the responsibility of another animal. Maybe we can't go back in time to the "no money days," but there ought to be a happy medium where average-income people can be humane to animals without having to spend their life's savings.

Barry Horton, East Prairie