Letters from the Issue of September 5, 2002

More puppy horror stories.

Son, When I Was Your Age...

We smoked dope all day, got laid every night, and really really dug the revolution: So I read John Lombardi's bit on Hunter Thompson and Rolling Stone ("Smiling Through the Apocalypse," August 22). I take serious offense. First off, how can he talk about rock-and-roll journalism with Harris Meyer? I know Harris Meyer, and while rumors of his extensive Kenny G collection are still unconfirmed, it does leave one scratching one's head. But that's not what gets me.

As a young writer I have already abandoned all hope of doing Serious Journalism. That's why I write the fluff I do now. It's good fluff, don't get me wrong, but let's call a spade a spade. All we want is a Lexus ES300? Sheeeit, man. I key Lexii for fun.

The problem is that I cannot think of a single editor in the business now who would let me get away with one-third of what Thompson did. The problem is not a lack of young writers sitting in their cubicles with fire in their bellies and rock and roll in their hearts. The problem is the guys in the offices telling them to turn the music down.

The next time John talks to Doc, he should tell him to put that in his pipe and smoke it. Better yet, he should try some himself. And please don't take offense -- it's not that I want to attack him, it's that I am constantly screaming at Baby Boomers who are convinced of the laziness and apathy of my generation, and it grates me to see that attitude among my fellow New Timers.

Dan Sweeney

Fort Lauderdale

Editor's note: Sweeney is the calendar editor of New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

A Few Good Angry Men

They're from Cuba and they curse Che:John Lombardi wrote a great piece; inspiring actually. There was a time when writers took risks, artistically and with their lives, and it's important to be reminded of that. Though in retrospect, Kennedy vs. Nixon isn't the trope that we used to think it was. The corrupt creepy one was Kennedy. We bought into his shit because of his looks and his youth. How superficial is that? And how Sixties.

Ironic that Lombardi is writing the story from Miami, because there is a new generation of angry youth -- recently arrived from Cuba. But they're angry about the other side of the Sixties, so no one will write about them because they are the contradiction of the Sixties iconography that still has the assassin Che Guevara as one of its principal T-shirt saints.

Alexis Domenech

New York City

Where Did You Go, Sir Gonzo?

Hunter, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you:How I miss Hunter Thompson! Is he still hiding out in Aspen? When is this man going to write something for us to buy? I haven't had such good laughs in a long time. I saw him read at the Miami Book Fair (a long time ago) and could not believe he was still alive and looking so fine.

Thanks for reminding me about someone I enjoy!

Jean Ferris

North Bay Village

Puppy Kingdom Made Me Cry

And I didn't even buy a puppy:I'd like to thank Mike Clary for his story "Puppy Dog Tales" (August 15). Not many new pet owners are familiar with puppy mills and how they mistreat their dogs. A couple of years ago I was helping a friend pick out a dog. It just happened that we were a few blocks from Puppy Kingdom and decided to go in and take a look around. I was well aware of the place's reputation but I was nowhere near ready for what I saw inside.

Immediately after opening the door I noticed the foul odor of urine and wet dog in the enclosed area, but worse was the temperature in the room where they kept and displayed their animals. It was freezing in there! The temperature must have been 65 degrees. Most of the dogs were either shivering and sneezing or huddled together to keep each other warm.

I spoke to one of the employees and I told him I was concerned that the puppies would get sick because of the cold environment. The employee laughed it off and told me they were used to it and would be fine. After making sure I petted all the dogs to give them a little love, I left Puppy Kingdom with tears running down my face and a lot of sadness in my heart. It hurt me to leave there knowing that many of the dogs inside wouldn't make it. I vowed never to go back and to discourage everyone I knew from purchasing a pet there.

I strongly suggest everyone visit the Humane Society and the Miami-Dade Animal Shelter to adopt an animal. The dogs there are just as beautiful but a lot less costly and in much need of love and attention. Many people don't know that these shelters carry many purebred dogs in addition to mixed breeds.

Madelyn Mirabal

Hialeah

The Short and Tragic Life of Little Feeters

He was family to us, and he never had a chance: Fifteen years ago my boyfriend bought me a little "person" we named Feeters. He was to be the test all couples should endure before they decide to have children, because the little guy's health was so debilitated. We bought him from Docktor Pet Center in Westland Mall and were given a "free" office visit to a vet in Medley. Here's a hint: When they give you a free visit, the vet isn't going to say anything bad about the pet shop. They didn't tell us that Feeters's kennel cough was really distemper and that our little one would have to be put down in a few months as it got worse.

We got more attached to him with time, as with any family member. We took our little one as far away as Fort Pierce to an expert in the field who could identify why Feeters was shaking and barking uncontrollably. She told us the diagnosis was grave and that we shouldn't count on him surviving without being in pain 24 hours a day as it got worse, and it was going to. We chose to put him down to ease his pain.

A month later, when the grieving was bearable, we went back to the pet shop and wanted "justice." We contacted Dade County Consumer Services, which didn't do much other than give us lip service, so we got an attorney and that scared them because we had the money and this was personal. This was our "child."

People need to understand that these aren't just animals; they're members of your family, children who will be with you a long time, kids who give you love when you can't find the energy to walk up to your bedroom. They ask for attention to show off a new trick they learned or a cute stunt that is sure to piss you off, but you smile anyway.

Docktor Pet ended up giving us a new Westie and we took it to Bild Animal Hospital in Miami. No shameless plug here, but these doctors answer to the standard of "dedicated," and the place is more than 60 years old.

Scooter was with us until last year, when he passed away from natural causes after fourteen long and loving years. He was a fighter, a wonderful little bundle of energy, even at his age. He overcame cancer, thanks to Bild, and saw us through many losses -- asking only to be in your lap to show you some love. We will miss him and want to thank Mike Clary for this story on a topic that too few discuss too little.

Maria E. Vazquez-Tannenbaum

Hialeah

The Short and Tragic Life of Maggie Mae

We lost our precious one when she was just ten weeks old: I want to thank New Times for "Puppy Dog Tales." Unfortunately for my wife and me, the article was a week too late. We bought a puppy in Florida and it died when we got home to New Jersey. Now we are trying to get hold of the breeder, who will not return our calls. Here is my tale:

My wife and I wanted a Maltese. The cost was around $1500 and they go much higher. My uncle, who lives in Miami, owns three Malteses and suggested we get it down there because it's cheaper and there are lots of breeders.

Around July 15 my uncle called to say he had found a female Maltese, which is what we wanted. He found it at a pet shop on Sunset Drive. My uncle spoke to the owner, who told him she was the breeder of the dog and that she had its parents at home. So to us it sounded like a good deal. My uncle purchased the dog for us and took it home. We came to Florida August 2 for a vacation as well as to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. The dog (Maggie Mae) was our gift to each other. Maggie, who was ten weeks old, was a very playful and loving dog. If you had her on a table and you crouched down, she would nestle her head under your neck and crawl up on your shoulders like a little baby.

Monday, August 5 (our anniversary) came around and Maggie didn't look so good. She had this horrible cough and she wasn't eating. We took her to see the vet and he said she had kennel cough and coccidia. Coccidia is a parasite disease of the intestinal tract transferred from one animal to another by contact with feces from the infected individual. The doctor gave us an antibiotic and told us to make sure Maggie ate.

Tuesday she started to get bloody diarrhea, which is a result of the parasite. The doctor tested a stool sample and said the coccidia was still there, then told us to bring Maggie back on Saturday, which we did because we were leaving on Sunday. On Saturday Maggie still had the parasite and the bloody diarrhea and wasn't eating unless we force-fed her, which we'd been doing. Sunday night we flew home.

Monday I brought her to a vet myself to make sure she had transitioned okay. The vet checked her out and told me she had a fever and the coccidia was getting worse. She said for the kennel cough we should turn the air off in the house. I got home and turned the air off, and my mother-in-law came to help us with Maggie. Wednesday Maggie was not improving except for her kennel cough, which had disappeared.

We went back to the vet and were told she was practically dying and that we really needed to feed her a lot. She was also losing weight. In Florida she was 1.9 pounds. When we brought her home she weighed 1.6 pounds, and now she was down to 1.4 pounds. We fed Maggie every hour to get her weight up. My wife and I fed her till 2:00 a.m., then my mother-in-law got up and fed her the remainder of the night.

Thursday I woke up at 6:30 a.m. to go to work. Maggie looked exhausted. My mother in-law said she could hear gurgling noises coming from her. I told her to stop feeding her because she looked tired and to call the vet at 8:00 a.m. when they opened. My wife and I left for work together. About 10:00 a.m. I got a call from the vet, who told me I had two options: We could put an I.V. in her or put her to sleep. Maggie was just ten weeks old; I was not cashing in my chips on her. I told the vet to put in the I.V. My mother in-law brought Maggie to the vet and stayed with her for about three hours. She came home with the intention of going back to visit her later.Around 2:30 I got a call from the vet saying that Maggie was improving with fluids, however she was in extreme pain. While she is telling me this, I can hear Maggie barking in pain in the background. The vet said her abdomen was swelling, and when she would palpitate her, Maggie would scream in pain. Our only choice was to put her to sleep. I had to give the execution orders.

Ten weeks old, our anniversary gift, and around-the-clock attention like a newborn baby -- all down the drain. I called my mother-in-law and told her she didn't have to return to the vet's office, but she said she wanted to. She didn't understand what I meant until I explained it to her. When I picked up my wife, it was the longest car ride I ever took. I pulled off the road I don't know how many times that day.

I had Maggie Mae cremated. I picked up her ashes on Tuesday, August 20. We are both doing better now. We've been trying to get hold of the pet shop owner, which has been impossible. My uncle and I have both called. We leave message after message and no one calls back. There is a 90-day warranty and we are owed a new puppy. Maggie will not go out like this. I'm sure I am not the first and will not be the last, but I plan to avenge Maggie's death.

That is my story in a nutshell. This was very painful to write. I had to stop numerous times. I appreciate you taking an interest in my story. Most people think, "It's just a friggin' dog." But for others it is like your child. Although we had only two weeks with Maggie, she knew we loved her and we know she loved us. We love you Maggie Mae!

James L. Locilento

Franklin, New Jersey

Puppies and Profit

Why do you think they call them puppy mills? Shame on Puppy Kingdom for taking advantage of people with the good intentions to become responsible pet owners. But I'm shocked that in today's world anyone could be so naive and uninformed. Obviously anyone selling puppies is in it for profit, and purchasing from these merchants perpetuates and supports the "puppy mill" trade.

There is an overabundance of adoptable dogs and cats available through shelters, rescue organizations, and friends. Frequently there's no charge or only a small fee for vaccinations and paperwork. Also for those who have been brainwashed into thinking that purebred is a priority, almost every breed has a rescue group (local and/or national). The bottom line is there is no shortage of wonderful, healthy animals waiting to have a loving family and be a loyal companion. Save a homeless friend instead of buying from a retail store, and send a clear message to the greedy and dishonest participants in this unscrupulous industry.

Leslie Cohen

Miami

Not All of Us Are Weirdos

But you'd never know that from the media: Just wanted to let Kirk Nielsen know I thought he wrote a very fair and balanced article on the issue of repealing the homosexual anti-discrimination law ("Between a Frock and a Hard Place," August 15). I have frequently noticed in articles in New Times and Street that Christians are usually painted as lunatics or fanatics, though sometimes we deserve that owing to our behavior. That tends to bother me as I consider myself a very balanced, fair-minded individual who just happens to be a born-again Christian with certain viewpoints based on the Holy Bible.

I thought Kirk did a good job of not taking sides on the issue, which is supposed to be a primary journalistic creed. I myself am divided on the issue, not wishing for this particular group to be discriminated against but also not wanting the matter to be pushed further -- as it already is by some -- toward adoption by homosexuals. I am firmly opposed to that. (One need look no further than the male-seeking-male ads to understand how much value is placed on "youth" and adolescence in these relationships, not to mention the scandal in the Catholic Church.) Anyway, thanks for being impartial.

Donald Rodrigue

Miami Beach

Your Honor, I'm Here Because I'm Gay

Just you watch -- we'll be climbing a mountain of lawsuits: It's the ordinance stupid! It's not about gays, lesbians, Hispanics, Negroes, Latinos, Jews, Italians, Irish, homosexuals, or heterosexuals.

Case A: A homosexual applies for a job as a beautician, a nurse, a banker, a decorator, a handyman. He or she is hired to perform the job, but after awhile it is noticed that he/she is not competent enough to do said job. The company terminates his/her employment for that reason, or possibly because the company hired him/her prematurely, at a time when the company's situation could not accommodate another employee. Where do you think that individual will go? To apply for another job? Guess again. He/she will go to a lawyer to sue the employer!

Case B: A homosexual (it's irrelevant whether it's a man, a woman, or a couple) applies for and rents some form of living quarters, and for whatever reason does not live up to the contract. Thus he/she gets evicted. Where do you think he/she will go? To find another place to live? Guess again. He/she will go to a lawyer to sue the landlord!

It is a Pandora's box! Be ready to fork over millions of dollars to lawyers to defend yourselves against sexual discrimination, and regardless of winning or losing, it will cost you money. It is a bad ordinance, stupid!

Miguel del Valle

Miami

Erratum

Staff writer Brett Sokol's "Kulchur" column of August 1 ("Requiem for a Lightweight Nightclub"), about Billboardlive in Miami Beach, contained three factual inaccuracies. Owing to an editing error, Patrick Loughary was referred to as a co-owner of Billboardlive. Loughary is an employee, not an owner.

The federal lawsuit filed against Billboardlive by the company's former vice president, Peter Cohen, does not allege "cooked books." It alleges "fraud" and "gross mismanagement." And Cohen is not seeking a court-ordered audit of Billboardlive but rather a court-imposed receiver to assume control of the company. New Times regrets the errors.

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