Dear Obie: A Letter to a Reader

Each month I receive e-mails, cards and letters from our dedicated DOG FANCY readers, asking all sorts of questions. One reader, Donna Hilley, has even sent me some of her handmade dog blankets for my Munchkin and Gordon. I deeply appreciate all the thoughtful notes and gestures.

Recently I received an email from Obie, a young DOG FANCY reader working to get his Boy Scout badge in communications, that I wanted to share.

Dear Dog Fancy editor, 

I was just writing to say how much I love your magazine. How’d you come up with these ideas? Do you have a dog yourself? I recently had to give up my own dogs, because they were breaking out of our fence. While I had them I enjoyed reading the various articles about all of the training tips and people success stories. I continue to receive your magazine because I like to volunteer with dog organizations in Austin, Texas. I also hope to get a new dog soon and one that I can keep longer.

What is it like to be a magazine editor for Dog Fancy? I am writing this letter for a Boy Scout badge called Communications. Obie.

PS: I wrote this by saying it with my new Dragon speak naturally. It is a very helpful tool. Once again thank you for writing Dog Fancy!!!

Dear Obie,

Thank you so much for choosing to write to me for your badge. You are well-spoken, and I am particularly impressed that you have learned to use a tool to write by speaking. Several years ago I was a technology editor and sometimes trained reporters and editors who had suffered repetitive stress injuries how to use a speaking tool that let them continue writing when they could no longer type.

It is a great thing to learn early in life how to overcome limitations. That is also a unique talent of dogs, helping humans overcome limits. One of the most rewarding parts of working at DOG FANCY is getting to tell stories about how people use dogs to help guide them when they have trouble with their sight, or their hearing or their ability to move around.

No other animal does what dogs do for mankind. I get to meet search-and-rescue dog teams that save people trapped in disasters or are lost in the woods. Military K9 teams protect our soldiers in battle, and police K9 teams help capture criminals. Dogs can even detect illnesses, such as cancer.

I am always on the lookout for these stories, but we have a team of editors and contributors who constantly nose around, like those search dogs, finding all the new and fun and different ways we enjoy and use our dogs.

I have two dogs, Gordon and Munchkin. My younger dog, Gordon, is a trained therapy dog. He visits a children’s hospital twice a week, and an adult hospital twice a week. He is a happy, affectionate 4-year-old boy. Gordon loves everyone and brings smiles to many sad faces. My 12-year-old terrier, Munchkin, loves to play fetch and hunt lizards. She was very shy for much of her life but now that friendly Gordon is around, she has learned to happily greet people, especially kids. So older dogs can learn new tricks!

I also have three Greyhounds that I work with at a shelter each week: Adventure is a 13-month-old high-energy puppy who I am training not to jump on people; Haven is a retired racer and the happiest dog I have ever known; and my big boy, Rhett, is a huge Greyhound. Some people can be afraid of large dogs, but Rhett is gentle and sweet, and loves to give hugs and kisses. All he needs is a forever home.

Keep up the good work with your volunteering and learning more about dogs. No dog owner starts off perfect, and the important thing is to learn from your experiences and become a better dog owner. That is our goal at Dog Fancy, to share ways that all of us can learn to be better owners and to have fun with our dogs.

Good luck with your badge. Both of my sons, Rob and Mike, learned a great deal by getting their Boy Scout badges.

Ernie Slone, Editor, Dog Fancy

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