Truly they are man's best friend
Sir - Reading in your newspaper (Sunday Independent, December 9) about the late American President George HW Bush and his faithful dog Sully, as he sat dutifully keeping vigil by his late master's coffin was a very moving scene.
As the headline and photograph suggested, "a dog is not just a pet, but a kind of counsellor with fur''. Every pooch has the capacity to ease the stress of everyday living for all of us by just being, and not just trained dogs like Sully. Their unquestioning loyalty, gentleness, playfulness, faithfulness and ability to make us all feel special lifts our spirits on a daily basis.
This unique therapy is always on tap and comes absolutely free of charge. If it could be bottled and sold on the open market, we would have a much more stress-free society worldwide. That's why the sorrowful sight of abandoned puppies and adult dogs in terrified circumstances, particularly after the festive season, leaves all of us very upset, concerned and sad.
People should think long and hard before getting a puppy at Christmas, only to discover the enormous responsibility they have undertaken and being unable to cope.
The very sad and most disturbing sight of abandoned, wet, cold, shivering and confused young dogs is heart-wrenching. People should do their homework in advance to ensure they are properly prepared to cope with a young puppy who is full of beans and the joys of life, and is not yet house-trained. They need to be patient. He just needs time to understand the house rules. If they do not plan well in advance, they might be barking up the wrong tree and resort to the unthinkable for man's best friend.
Sterling work by Starling
Sir - What a truly heart-warming appreciation of our canine companions by Boris Starling (Sunday Independent, December 9). It stands in stark contrast to the unwarranted demonisation earlier this year. Compulsory reading for all those of an anthropocentric or cynophobic mindset, I would think!