And now for a really Dangerous Topic


yes that's right, fluffy and fido.

At right is daughter Emily and our mutt Alex.
Alex is opening HIS Christmas present. We also have a cat name Casper.

When my African daughter Daniela was here last year, the part of our culture that she found most apalling was our pets. She had to do some serious discernment to decide if we were all crazy and actually thought they were 'people'. Her final assessment was "You people have things to WASTE!"

I understood her concerns. When I came home from Africa it was one of the most jarring dissonances. American pets, by and large, have better nutrition, shelter, and health care than almost all third world children. Pets have toys, they have clothes, they have hair salons. They have psychiatrists. They have schools. Pet Care is a billions of dollars industry.

Last fall after my father died, Alex the dog tried to follow him, I mean he really fell apart physically. Alex is ten, and my dad was his best friend. Alex got hundreds of dollars of health care to bring him back. He was on Cipro in December when I got word that Daniela's younger sister Anna, was very ill in Bujmbura. There is no cipro in Burundi. They nearly lost Anna -- for want of pills that I was shoving down the throat of my dog. It was hard. Really, Really hard.

I feel that I have a moral responsibility to this creature that I have taken under my care. But why do I not feel the same moral responsibility for those children? These days I do.

A few weeks later when the dog was doing better the vet suggested he needed to go to the doggie opthamologist for a non-painful. non life threatening ailment.

I am sorry Doctor. I do not believe in doggie opthamologists, or oncologists, or any other specialist until every child in this world has at least basic health care.

I decided I could do this: We have supported Food For the Hungry's child sponsrship program for years. We have raised a line of boys in Cambodia, one boy at a time. We have two pets, and one third world child. I decided to add a girl from Rwanda to our family.

If everybody in America sponsored one child for every pet they keep - there would be NO hungry children in the world.