Letters: 02/06

I am sure you don't care what I think


Cosmetic or Not?
I read with some interest and frank dismay your article on cropping and docking (“To Crop and Dock? Or Not?” December 2005). While I do agree that ear cropping is purely cosmetic, and should probably be banned, I strongly disagree about your position on dewclaw removal. It is ridiculous to assume that a vestigial toe could affect a dog’s balance, except possibly detrimentally. I have had several litters of AKC registered dogs and always had their dewclaws removed. We never had any unusual aftereffects or odd gaits associated with these puppies. Many achieved their championships.

As far as the tail issue, I do not think it is responsible to give such a narrow opinion base, and use it as fact. Two people are quoted in this article, and that is simply not a good total picture – especially when they seem to practice such “out there” type of medicine.

I must also comment on your cancer articles. I recently lost a dog to liver/spleen cancer. When I was told that the oncologist wanted to do surgery, which might prolong her life by a few months, I chose not to prolong her suffering. How can I justify a few months with my dog who gave me everything she had during her life, and put her through such pain? This is much more cruel than removing a puppies tail at three days!

Anyway, I am sure you don’t care what I think, since it doesn’t coincide with your own thinking, but I felt it necessary to respond to these articles.

Denise Bruhn
via e-mail

I don’t usually feel defensive when I read critical letters, but I had to respond to the above writer when she suggested I wouldn’t care what she thought. However, when I tried to reply to her e-mail, my note kept bouncing back to me with an explanation that her e-mail server had rejected my note as spam, and the directions it offered to get past the spam filters didn’t work. The fact is, dialogue is educational; I do care.


After reading your article on cropping and docking, I have noticed that Bodean, my little Lab-mix with a cropped tail, does not sit as comfortably as Josie, my German Shepherd-mix. He frequently will sit to the side so as to not put pressure on his tail. Although I did not dock his tail (he came into the shelter with a litter of pups that already had their tails docked), I wish now he had his full tail. He is visibly uncomfortable. I have taken the advice of the article and frequently stretch and massage his docked tail. Surprisingly, he does not fight this at all and seems to enjoy the massage. Thank you!

Kelli Baltzell
Omaha, NE


Finally! An article on the “tradition” of mutilating our best friends.

Usually ear cropping is done in the puppy’s most formative time period. The advice from the vet: no play with other dogs to prevent infection or further injury. The result? The pup cannot develop proper doggy social skills if contact with other dogs is withheld for months.

Let’s look at docking tails, particularly when it comes to meeting unfamiliar dogs. How can a docked Rottweiler show submission or fear without a tail? His anal gland scent is still exposed so what is the more dominant dog to think? That his higher rank is not recognized? This can result in fights because the dogs don’t understand each other.

It starts with the puppy buyers. Refuse to buy a docked puppy and do not greet your new puppy in his new home by taking him to the vet to have his ears cropped. Me? I’m the proud owner of four dogs with four tails and eight floppy ears.

Irma Kapsenberg
Good Dog! Gentle Dog Training
Corvallis, OR


It’s been more than a year since I read “What Promotes Bloat?” (January 2005) but it helped save my dog’s life. She is not in the high risk category, but after observing abnormal behavior one Sunday recently, my husband noticed her stomach big and hard as a rock. Thanks to your article, the first thing that came to my mind was, “Yikes, bloat, let’s get her in to emergency.” She was in surgery within a half-hour. We were in disbelief and so thankful we recognized the problem right away.

Interestingly, all of my dog world (obedience competition) friends know about bloat but none of the pet people I talk to have heard of it. I don’t know if I would have recognized what was going on without your article. Annie is doing great in her recovery. Thank you!

Pat Sorlien
Bellevue, WA


Thanks for the rockin’ article on preventing the flu (“Fending Off the Flu,” December 2005). I was amazed at how densely packed it was with solid information. I have used Standard Process products for myself in the past, and went right to my source at www.RiteCare.com to order the items mentioned in the article.

I also really enjoyed Susan Weinstein’s article, “Defeating Disease Differently” (November 2005), about Caleb and his brush with distemper. I appreciate the book references she gave and plan on building my home library in that direction.

Liza Burney
via e-mail