Re: “Shelter dogs may better represent state than Labs do”: Marlise Swartz of Yarmouth expressed my thoughts exactly in her Feb. 5 letter suggesting that shelter canines in general – or perhaps one featured per month – be the Maine state dog.

Her expanded ideas concerning photo sharing and donations are excellent and show sincere compassion for our furry potential friends, both purebred and mixed-breed, so many of which will continue to be forgotten without our support.

If anyone doesn’t know the honor and delight of being adored by a rescue animal, I would ask him/her to step out of his/her immediate comfort zone and adopt.

Rescues, despite all manner of physical and psychological baggage (think of quarterback Michael Vick’s pit bulls forced to fight but managing to survive), have extraordinary capacity for forgiveness and unconditional love. We deny our own potential by not allowing them to discover theirs.

God bless every reader who reaches out to support, take home and comfort critters who are biding their time in captivity. It is our far-reaching responsibility and privilege to help.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Martha Yerxa

South Portland