When I was young, a convergence of crises meant that I had to find a new place to live. I also had two amiable cats and I persisted until I found a place that allowed animals.

At that point in my life, losing my pets would have dealt a critical blow to me on top of other events. The cats were my lifeline, and I could express my need for connection and caring.

A number of people who commented online in response to your July 12 article, “Homeless men to get basic care for dogs,” made cruel comments, indicating what I saw as a desire to sweep away “disposable” people and deprive them of their last support system, a pet.

Yes, homeless people have many problems. The ones you see acting out in the street are the visible layer. Most are too desperate and are busy trying to stay afloat.

I witnessed one man who had lost his job and his apartment, and then finally found a place to live but was forced to give up his dog; he was nearly incoherent with tears.

Most people don’t make a career choice to be drunks, druggies, mentally ill or homeless or any version of what we consider unacceptable. Childhood neglect or abuse, poor education, lack of parenting or resources, or no place to go can lead people to shelters or to crime, or both.

There is no single formula for overcoming these dire obstacles and the psychological devastation that can accompany them.

In a recent report, Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins pointed out the link between poverty and crime. Yes, a “good-paying job” helps one out of poverty, but only if one has fixed personal problems in order to get the job.

Early childhood education, help for parents in crisis, and available resources can all help direct a child toward a more constructive life off the streets.

Give credit to the homeless who maintain one last lifeline — a pet — and the spirit that causes someone to nurture that creature. Support the animal shelter that helps strengthen that bond, rather than adding one more penalty.

Dawn Leland


Photos of pets, nature refreshing to take in

How very refreshing to have wonderful animal pictures and nature pictures in your paper and online sent by readers. There is so much bad news all the time, that it is truly life-giving see these lovely pictures.

Thank you, and do keep it up.

Charlene Rossignol


Nothing amiss with dancing to celebrate life and liberty

Your In Focus feature of July 16, “We came from the ashes,” about a Holocaust survivor’s dancing with his family in Auschwitz and worldwide reactions, brought to mind a similar controversy involving the Berlin Wall.

Shortly after the Wall came down, pieces of it were offered in our country at $20 each. At the time, my first reaction was negative, for how could anyone profit from it? A writer wrote to the local paper decrying that a symbol of oppression and even deaths to those fleeing Communist East Germany should be for sale.

This letter was some days later followed by one from a man who bought a piece of the Berlin Wall for his father, an escapee from East Germany, who wept on receiving it — as a symbol of a repressive regime that had finally been destroyed and the triumph of freedom.

Dancing at Auschwitz, or rejoicing over a chunk of the Wall, survivors rightfully have the final word.

Carl Scheiman


Postal Service only choice for daily delivery of mail


I am writing this letter in response to the editorial July 8 about letting other firms compete with the Postal Service in delivering mail.

Having private companies deliver mail would be a great mistake! It sounds like the way to go, having competition, but it would mean no mail delivery to your house or business.

Think about it. They want to make the most money possible and part of that would mean that they would only deliver to the most densely populated areas.

Would you deliver mail to small towns where the profit margin would be nonexistent? No! They would take the big markets like New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago, but they won’t touch the small towns unless you pay a higher price for delivery.

At the present time you can mail a letter anywhere and have it delivered to a house or business at a pretty cheap price! If we allow other firms to deliver mail everyone will have to go to a central facility with thousands of boxes to pick up or send their mail because we won’t be able to deliver it, and I don’t think people would be too happy about that.

I have worked for the Postal Service for 30 years and, yes, we have some problems that we cannot overcome, but we can deliver the mail better than anyone else at a lower price and deliver it to your house or business without you having to go and get your mail from a box.

John Votto


Lawmakers told to value workers, but they forgot it

This article will take you back many years, 41 to be exact.

At the age of 17, I was asked to present a basket of apples to the members to the Senate and the House of Representatives, in full session at the State House. The fact that I was not asked to speak aroused my curiosity, so I decided to do just that.

“When I hold this apple in my hand, I wonder who picked it. I wonder who lifted the heavy load onto the truck, who trucked the apples to the warehouse? I wonder who received it at the warehouse. I wonder who placed the apples on display, that all I need to do is pick it up and eat it!

“You, because you make the laws that govern the people, must never forget that I mentioned the picker first.”

I expected to leave that chamber in stark silence. Instead, all the representatives stood in unison and rendered me a very long, deafening ovation!

Too bad they have since forgotten that I mentioned the “picker” first.

Ann B. Moody