Ian Roop: Dead pets story necessary?
After reading this Sunday’s paper I was surprised by your article “What to do with a dead cat.” Recently my family had to put down a cat that had lived for some 16 years. While I had never considered the topic of animal disposal, your writing helped to make it explicitly clear. For instance, I had no idea that urns would even be an option for the afterlife of our dear Rascal. If I had only known. Also, I was really quite unaware of how big an animal crematory was or what it looked like. The photograph that you ran was so accurately composed that it included the crematory technician, which helped to provide an adequate sense of scale for the viewer. Other topics in “What to do with a dead cat” were masterfully covered and beautifully composed. It was refreshing to learn that I shouldn’t actually “put em’ down the toilet,” and that if I did it might actually cause some disturbance in the sewer system. The expert insights of Mr. Carlberg of the Upper Blue Sanitation District were fascinating, especially his quip about pet spiders getting “in anyway.” Again, I had no idea people really kept pet spiders. As for the “SEE DEAD CAT, Page 6” caption for the continuation of the article I was somewhat disappointed that there wasn’t a bona fide picture of a dead cat on the following page. I pictured the technician heaving a cat, one that resembled Rascal, into the red hot fiery furnace. In this time of economic downturn and instability it’s nice to know that great journalism isn’t going to suffer.
Seriously, when an article about cat cremation gets more press than a 100 mile mountain bike race you have to wonder. Just think, some people raced their bikes that far and the general readership of your newspaper is probably more interested in that than the in’s and out’s of pet cremation. There were no photographs, no interviews and there was no in-depth examination of the event. Why would someone want to ride that far? We were left with very little. I kept telling myself that it was Sunday and that it was a free newspaper and that the feature on dead cats was really more charming than crude and that maybe there were some staff cutbacks at the Summit Daily Headquarters. Then I remembered that while most of us are being asked to do more with less these days and manage costs at work, the magnificent thing about writing, on the other hand, is that words generally cost very little and require only an investigative frame of mind to make them come to life. Please consider covering local sports more thoroughly.
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