Letters to the Editor

Think about dogs when choosing a training method

It’s that time of year when the big, flashy ads offering dog training appear in newspapers around the state.

What kind of training is right for your dog?

• Traditional – Militaristic. Do it or be punished. Choke collars, prong collars and electric collars are OK. Cookie cutter approach to training. Based in oral tradition.

• Balanced – A combination of punishment and reward. Choke collars, prong collars and e-collars may be OK, depending on the trainer. Cookie cutter approach. Based in oral tradition.

• Positive – Good behaviors are rewarded. Unwanted behaviors are replaced with more desirable behaviors. Training is tailored to the individual learner’s needs and abilities. Based in behavioral science. Prong collars, choke collars and e-collars are discouraged.

There are many organizations that certify trainers. Certification is not a guarantee that your trainer uses humane techniques. Before you pick a trainer, ask questions about the methods and tools that they use. There are no magic wands – be wary of trainers who offer guarantees. Behavior is complicated and every dog is an individual.

As a person who has been involved in dog training for over 40 years, I have trained using all three philosophies. For the last 20 years, I’ve been using positive methods. In my experience, all dogs understand, benefit and learn more quickly when positive methods are used.

Please keep your dog’s physical and mental well-being in mind when you choose a training method.

Pat Moss, Homer Dog Trainers Instructor

Graduation Party returns

Dear Editor,

Next month 74 seniors will take the much-anticipated walk through the gymnasium and across the stage to get their diploma from Homer High School. In celebration of their achievements, we are happy to announce the return of the community supported Senior Graduation Party, a decades-long tradition in Homer.

This year’s party will be Casino Night at the Homer Elks on May 18 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., and offer a safe, substance-free event for seniors only to gather after graduation to celebrate, have fun and win awesome prizes.This letter invites the community to support and uplift these seniors by donating a prize to be given out that night or making a financial contribution to assist with party expenses.

If you are able to contribute, just send us an email, text or call to karyadkins@yahoo.com or 907-903-9935. We are happy to pick up donations at your convenience, or you can drop off anything at the high school office, or mail it to Homer High School, 600 East Fairview Ave., Homer. Checks can be made to Senior Class 2022. In memo line reference “Graduation Party.” All donors will receive a tax-deductible receipt of donation.

We are also collecting small gifts for the senior goodie bags which will be given to each senior the last week of school, so small gifts in bulk are also greatly appreciated.

Updates regarding graduation activities can be found on the Homer High School Facebook page or website. The Homer High School graduation ceremony is planned for 7 p.m. on May 18 and is open to the public to attend. Thank you in advance for your help in resurrecting this time-honored tradition in our community.

Monica Anderson, Member of the Parent Committee, Senior Class 2022

Peaceful words of protest

Our First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution presents certain peaceful freedoms as essential: freedom to practice religion or not, of speech, of the press and to peaceably assemble in protest. When I see a large flag displayed on a vehicle using denigrative and hateful expletives to express political disagreement, I have to work through the meaning of the right to “peaceably” protest part. Is that a peaceful message? I wonder how parents of young children view it.

There was a time when foul language was relegated to rowdy bars and drunken gatherings. It’s pretty commonplace now. It seems we all find some strange relief expressing our distaste with outbursts of swear words, not being able to escape our anger long enough to form more intelligent sentences that wouldn’t offend.

Community folks who speak on behalf of environmental conservation gathered in front of Wells Fargo this past week holding signs to express their belief that the bank is harming the environment by continuing to invest in fossil fuel development. The signs held by the people were thoughtful, not offensive, just large enough to be read by a passerby, not obnoxiously huge and denigrating. I believe that’s an example of what the First Amendment framers had in mind when writing “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” They had to somehow curb violence while allowing a democratic, and respectful, way to bring grievances forward.

If we are ever going to end the divides that take humanity to despicable levels, we somehow need to find the courage that comes with a certain humility to do so. We need to keep finding the intelligent calm to respectfully express strongly felt wrongs.

A favorite author recently stated, “The cynicism and negativity that our country and many other countries have descended into show a clear example of what happens when people do not have hope.”

Maybe it is such hopelessness, but I believe it is more fear that is being expressed in that large offensive flag. Sadly, instead of solving or making any wrongs better, such a display only feeds the hatred and further widens the divide. To what end? There will be no winners.

Therese Lewandowski

Is distrust and incivility thrust upon us?

Our routine on any return from Anchorage is to stop at the coffee/pastry shop near Girdwood (a snickerdoodle, apple fritter and fresh coffee can get us to the Homer turnoff). On the last such occasion I was the only customer in what is normally a busy place. The gentleman behind the counter was repairing some piece of equipment and asked that I wait just a few minutes prior to taking my order. A personable conversation began and we were soon dealing with politics.

Not wanting to offend, I avoided names or parties. I think he realized that and honored the caution. For the next several minutes we each offered a slew of observations and opinions dealing primarily with the conduct of our elected officials. Their blatant disregard of reality, party/person over nation and abuse of position for personal gain all factored into the conversation.

On the topic of insider trading, one name was mentioned but I insisted that it was common practice across the board because of the impossible burden of proof, the “glass houses” aspect of attempting prosecution and the idea that the laws were written in a manner designed to pay lip-service to an issue but bear no teeth. He agreed.

While the one name that was mentioned late in our conversation identified the probable differing party affiliation of each of us, there was no concept or even a single sentence spoken to which the other found objection. So, the question is: If we agreed so easily with the other’s core observations, and possibly beliefs, at what point might the conversation become contentious? How could we identify the trigger that would spark animosity? In this aspect of society, is our distrust and lack of civility innate or thrust upon us? No, really, these questions are not rhetorical, I search for answers.

Cal Schmidt