Dear Ann Landers, After reading the letter from "Dog Lover in N.Y.," I had to write. "Dog Lover" was amazed that her friends had shelled out $750 to put their dogs in doggie camps. You responded with a quote from your grandmother, "Dogs should be with dogs, and people should be with people." Thankfully, the thousands who work with and benefit from pet-assisted therapy don't share your grandmother's views.
When my mother suffered a severe stroke, I put my dog, Kadie, in an airline carry-on bag and flew to my parents' home. Mom's crooked smile told me she was glad to see me, but her eyes reflected anxiety. When Kadie started to lick Mom's face, I saw hope and happiness come back into her eyes.
I then joined a local volunteer organization called Paws Across Texas. Kadie and I work as a registered therapy team, visiting nursing homes and hospitals. I witnessed a hardened street kid turn into a caring child when he gave my tired dog a drink of water out of a paper cup. I saw a handicapped person bury her face in the dog's fur and laugh with delight. And I've seen how it brightens the day of lonely seniors in a nursing home when Kadie cuddles next to them in bed. -- L.A. in Euless, Texas
Dear L.A., Get out the wet noodle. My grandmother was wrong. The beautiful, warmhearted letters from dog lovers have convinced me that a dog can indeed be man's best friend.