AU contraire, some of us have much to learn from the humble dog (‘It’s a dog’s life, all right’, Newcastle Herald, 6/1). It would be interesting to know whether Jeff Corbett owns a dog or has ever owned a dog. From his article, it seems safe to conclude that he has little liking or time for dogs.
Dogs have been selectively bred by humankind since paleo times to be guards, hunters, trackers, fetchers, herders, as providers of food and clothing and as pets. In our urbanised modern society, they are mainly pets. So city people do prefer harmless “dolly dogs” as Corbett calls them. There are reasons for this. Such small dogs require less food and their vet bills are cheaper. They also require less walking. Once they are house-trained they may be kept inside. When such dogs are trained to stop yapping and snapping they don’t annoy neighbours. Like all dogs they make admirable friends and companions. They are certainly not, as Corbett calls them, “non dogs”.
Corbett says small dogs are more likely to be on a leash than larger dogs. There is an obvious reason for this. Small dogs don’t know they are small and will happily fight a larger dog. So if they are on a leash the owner can more easily protect his or her dog.
I do accept that many larger working dogs should not be kept in urban environments such as cattle dogs, border collies and German shepherds. I particularly dislike the habit of some sexually insecure young men who mistreat “pig dogs” and chain them up as adornments on the trays of their utes.
Dogs are not people. They are simple creatures who offer unconditional love to their owners. In that respect, they are better than most people. Since they live even shorter lives than we do, they also provide a good lesson in our own mortality. Since our lives are also brief, we also should be as friendly and as nice as we can. It is a pity that we don’t have tails to wag.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Working in the fields
THE annual fees collected by Newcastle City Council from sports clubs (Letters, 6/1) make up less than 20 per cent of the myriad costs associated with maintaining and improving our sports grounds and facilities.
Council provides mowing, topdressing, fertilising, aerating, line marking and goal-post installation, not to mention infrastructure works such as new and/or improved amenities buildings, change rooms, canteens, toilets, floodlights and associated facilities to make each venue both usable and user-friendly. Council staff provide advice to clubs and associations on sports development, infrastructure, grants and governance. We also offer an annual grants program and cover all utilities charges for water, gas and electricity use.
Jeremy Bath, chief executive, Newcastle City Council
A tested track
CONGRATULATIONS go to David Rose (Letters, 6/1), showing that at least one Novocastrian is ‘thinking outside the square’. I have a car that won’t let me go outside two white lines without correcting me back within so this type of technology is available and without digging up streets. How easy it would be, as suggested, to then extend the white magnetic line to the Callaghan University, Merewether, the stadium, the airport, etc. Just 'Google' ‘trackless trams for Perth’, simple as that. See video evidence of this technology working in China, etc.
Councillors and the Newcastle council methinks are too busy counting their salary rises to do some simple research and save ratepayers money. They don’t even have to travel .. just ‘Google’ and, like David, think outside the square.
Neil Allen, Newcastle
Failure to communicate
WITH the NBN connection to all homes, I find it lacking in that you are not told when your phone has been changed over to the NBN. An 85-year-old friend of mine was without of a phone for a week. I got onto our state MP’s secretary, who rang NBN up, and the phone was back on in within an hour. The chap told me when he installed the NBN modem at our place that when they cut the old phone line I would have to change my phone over to the NBN modem. The only way I found that my phone was changed over was my daughter rang my mobile and said the home phone went to the answering machine. I was lucky I knew I had to change it. If I had not been told my phone could have been out for a week also.
With all the experts that have set up the NBN you would have thought that if the power went off you don't have a home phone and they would have included a battery back up. With all this hot weather we could have blackouts and there could be problems for elderly people who don't have mobiles. I don't know how many vital calls are still on the old home phone line.
Ray Cannon, Muswellbrook
Bus moves due rethink
I WOULD encourage those readers who will be affected by the new bus timetables, which start on January 14, to contact their Member of Parliament.
I would also advise the elderly who can’t walk the 15 minutes to a bus stop, which I will have to even though I have had a bus stop outside my house for 40 odd years, to speak to their doctor about the taxi transport vouchers and give the buses a miss. The private operator advertises on the buses that the service will be advantageous, but looking at the new timetables this is definitely not the case with people having to walk long distances to catch the rerouted service.
I am sure those who used to take the bus to work will be driving their cars. Who wants to walk 15 minutes if they have had a stop very close to their house?
Lynne McKinnon-King, North Lambton
Times, and pets, change
I OPENED my Saturday Herald and there again was Jeff Corbett, spraying me with his negative opinion, this time about dogs and how 30 years ago things were different and dogs were in their subjugated place (‘It’s a dog’s life, all right’, Herald, 6/1). My quick research reveals that upwards of 35 per cent of the population has a dog, and coincidentally 35 per cent have children at home; so it's unsurprising that children and dogs share a special place in people’s hearts, and that dog owners seek a better go for their pet in public. So Jeff, times do change; 30 years ago you'd have been retired and no longer bringing down the day with miserable thoughts that don't reflect the times, yet here you still are, this time pulling the public perception of dog ownership back into the past.