Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Special Attention,….

This was the title of a letter sent to me that was sent to the Times-Daily about an article they wrote about barking dogs, so I used the title here. Catchy huh? I believe Lucy Berry had written the article in which the writer of the letter questions some things. The writer of the letter to the TD used the old “you can catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar” approach. Or something like that, I’m not too good with old sayings. But apparently this approach didn’t work either. The letter writer has not received a reply back from any of the email addresses she sent the letter to. Not knowing quite who to send it to, she emailed a few of them. Not one was either gracious enough to get the letter to the right person or tell her where she needed to send it to. How’s that for customer service? So without any more rambling from me… here is her letter. Written in possibly the nicest way you can write a letter complaining on a subject.


Good Morning,

    I just wanted to say that I enjoy reading the newspaper. The pages are arranged in a very informative and interesting way that always makes me want to read more. It's usually the first thing I do when I get to work and I get to work early to read it. I would appreciate your time in reading what I would like to say. I wasn't sure who to send this to so I sent it to several. This morning I read the article about what to do about barking dogs... on the front page. I want to make a kind, sincere, but straight-forward suggestion, if I may... Please don't take what I am about to say as just a complaint and something that turns your day into a bad one... I don't mean it that way at all. Thank you in advance for hearing me out. Please read to the last section which is the main point I want to make. Also, please give special attention to the part about your great team at the end of this email.

   I understand what the article is trying to say. I know it's about excessive barking and people who let their dogs run around anywhere they please, etc. Many will probably not get that message clearly. This, in my opinion, just gave many people an idea about making unnecessary complaints about barking dogs (which, in many cases, are there for extra protection as a guard dog to let the owners or neighbors know when something isn't right). I understand the article is about excessive-barking dogs. But for people who seem to be inconvenienced by any little thing that doesn't cater to their lifestyle, they will take any bark as a nuisance... Even a peep out of a dog will be considered a nuisance to some. I would rather have barking dogs (not out of neglect, hurt, or hunger) who serve as part of our protection, warning signs, and companions than to ride around quiet neighborhoods seeing dogs muzzled or being shocked for any peep they make. There are people out there who abuse those collar devices and muzzles. If a dog is barking from hunger or thirst, how would a muzzle "fix" the problem? You could have suggested one of those bark-off devices... they can be placed in the main area where the dog barks... it releases a high pitched sound that only the dog can hear to discourage barking. It may hurt their ears but the device and the dog wouldn't have the chance of being so abused by the owners. What if the owner "forgets" the muzzle is on their pet, leaves for work, and the dog cannot eat or drink? The collar can be abused and is cruelty. If you had to wear a collar like that, and got that same reaction when you tried to speak, I am sure you would feel abused. I'm sorry... as a reader, it's very disappointing. The article did not give any real practical good advice about what to do about barking dogs. The title didn't clearly match the text.

The remaining text is the most important part I want to get across:

Why couldn't the article have been:

- How Dogs Serve As Protection (because barking can tell you when something isn't right, when strangers approach, or give warnings to danger. This would probably decrease the amount of dog barking calls since it would encourage an understanding that dogs are like having extra protection in the neighborhood. When reading the article, the impression and message I get is that the goal of this article was to gain more dog barking calls)

- How a Dog's Barking Has Greater Positives than Negatives (informing the community on why tolerating a little barking may work in their favor. A little toleration may make an area safer as well as prevent arguments and disagreements among good neighbors)

- How to Spend More Time with Your Loving Companion (so that there is less barking, less neglect)

- Remembering Companions in Hot Temperatures (so they are not left hungry, thirsty, without shade)

- Remember to Keep Your Companion Safe (suggesting a smaller but roomy chain link area with a dog house, like what pet stores or home improvement stores sell, with plenty of shade from the heat... suggesting placing it under a tree or other shaded area... so they aren't wandering around the neighborhood with the chance of getting hurt, hurting someone else, etc.)

Many elderly rely on dogs as a cushion of protection. Many kids rely on dogs as a companion and feel safer when a dog is in the yard with them playing. People walk at places, like TVA, with dogs as a bit of extra protection. I just heard a story from a lady at a furniture store whose dog was laying at her back screen door when a strange man stepped foot in the house and the (little but courageous dog... a similar breed as a Pomeranian)... barked to let the owner know and managed to crawl and jump it's way to nip his neck causing the man to scramble nervously away from the dog and out the back door of the house. The older lady was very grateful.

In my opinion, a dog's barking has far greater positives than negatives. It's not a nuisance. In most cases, it's natural just like speaking is for us. For our community, again, I think a dog's barking has far greater positives than negatives.

Your team has the "power" and influence to make this community a better place... giving ideas on working together, making this area a place where others wish our area was their home, a chance to encourage us readers to be hospitable, welcoming... you all make a difference. Wow, think of the possibilities! Everything I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. It's a poem which talks about sharing, taking turns, not cutting line, letting others go first, having manners, saying thank you, watching for pedestrians while driving, working together, etc... those are the little reminders you can write about that can inspire us readers to make this a better place to live where we show we care. Reading about a nuisance is not very encouraging.

In our office, we have a lot of clients come in daily. I always offer them the newspaper to read while they wait. The #1 reason for any decline in reading the paper is because the clients say it's all bad news, it's discouraging, it makes them angry, etc. If it gives off more negative emotions than positive, they do not want to read it. Going by all the different kinds of people we have in our office, they want to be encouraged... inspired... to learn about something interesting... smile... think on something good...something neat... "news" that's at least a little bit good...

I sincerely thank you for your time and hearing my input. Have a great day.


  1. Peppy wants a list of those who complain. He's making plans to bite them all!

    (and wasn't that the nicest written letter ever?)

  2. I have never understood many of the articles in the TD. One focused on unnecessary 911 calls--they mentioned cattle on the highway. This would seem to me pretty important to report.

    Another enumerated idiotic reasons for speeding, listing "simply not thinking" as one of them. Believe me, if I speed it is because of that. That may not be a legal reason to speed, but it certainly isn't idiotic.

    I think my favorite was about odd things patients take to the hospital. On the list? A razor for a male patient. Uh, have I missed something...what's so odd about that?

    The TD needs to fill space and they use senseless quotes much of the time. They don't even listen, they just transccribe and publish.