A good dog, other voices and 'toons

Thinking Out Loud

Posted: Sunday, July 15, 2001

Ever owned a dog? A good and faithful dog. (Is that redundant?) A dog that's never pouty. A dog that's happier when you're home than when you're gone. A dog that responds when you call its name or pick up its leash. You know your dog does things to get your attention, but do you sometimes wonder if your dog is trying to earn a pat on the head? Maybe that's a stretch, but if you've ever loved a dog you know you can be loved by a dog.

I don't know Joshua Shrader, a young cop who keeps having harrowing adventures in deserts and on mountains, adventures that have nothing to do with his job. In his last exciting episode, Shrader went on what he intended to be a one-night, hiking-camping trip on Mount Roberts. He took along Ludwig, his German shepherd and companion of seven years.

Shrader took a bad fall, broke his wrist, busted open his face and had to be rescued a day later. Ludwig went missing, alone, on top of Mount Roberts, in bear country. Shrader figured that was the end of Ludwig. Five days after Shrader's tumble, Ludwig showed up near the tram terminal and was taken home by nature center manager Theresa Walden. She got a message to Shrader, who was skeptical that the mutt could be his.

Even if you missed the story in Friday's Empire, you can imagine where this column is going.

Shrader drove to Walden's house. She opened the door. Ludwig "started kind of crying," Walden told Empire reporter Kathy Dye.

Dog and owner drove away. Walden could hear Ludwig's joyous barking as they went down the driveway and onto the road.

"It felt good they got reunited," she said.

Yeah, real good.

At last week's monthly meeting of the Juneau Empire Citizen's Advisory Board, I was reminded that an editor cannot take anything for granted.

The discussion focused on the Opinion/Viewpoint page and especially on the editorial column and the editorial cartoons. Some board members said they assumed the editorials we republish from other newspapers are chosen because they reflect the Empire's viewpoint.

Thus it bears repeating: The Empire tries to provide a variety of opinions about the issues encountered by members of our community. Eventually you and we will make a decision and go with or against a candidate, a tax proposal, a change in the way we govern ourselves or whatever we face. The best decisions are those made by an informed electorate. An informed electorate is one that has been exposed to different points of view.

In a perfect world, we always would offer the pros and cons side by side on the same day. The streams of opinion to which we subscribe usually aren't that organized. And, our space is limited. Letters and My Turns, which are long letters, get first dibs. Thus, the balance we try to strike occurs over the longer haul.

Today somebody or some paper explains why a missile shield won't work or why Yasser Arafat is a bane to peace in the Middle East; tomorrow a missile shield needs to be given a chance but Ariel Sharon should cut the Palestinians some slack. Over time, you get to decide.

Empire editorials, as distinct from guest or "outside" editorials, usually address local or state issues. Most of them are written by the publisher or by me. We advocate in consideration of the best interests of our community. Having taken a stance, we don't turn around and argue against it. We won't be for dredging the harbor today and against it tomorrow. But if we favor dredging the harbor, we welcome readers to submit letters of dissent.

As for cartoons, the daily ones come to us in that flow of outside information to which we subscribe. I choose them as objectively as possible from the political left and from the political right. I try to avoid the political extremes and the offensive exaggerations. Yeah, I know: Offensive to who?

On Sundays we use TOE 'toons, drawn locally by Tony Newman. Advisory board members asked if we tell TOE which topics to address and what position to take. No, we don't. His cartoons reflect his opinions and as such are the equivalent of a letter to the editor. We will try to make that clear each Sunday as soon as I figure out how.

Managing Editor Steve Reed can be reached at streed@juneauempire.com.

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