December 26, 2008

Many feel left out by holiday feasting

I was saddened to read Kevin Cowherd's column "This Christmas, don't give us food issues" (Dec. 21).

Judging by the ever-increasing epidemic of obesity in our society, it appears that many people still celebrate the holidays, and every other day, "with full-throttle eating and drinking." But holiday dinners and parties can leave the unfortunate few who suffer from chronic illnesses that prevent them from enjoying the season's gastronomic bounty feeling deprived, embarrassed and depressed.

As I counsel my patients with food restrictions on how to enjoy their holiday parties without endangering their health, I am aware of what a stressful time of year this can be for those who suffer from diabetes, food allergies, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, heart disease and many other chronic illnesses.

Entertaining guests is about making people feel welcome, not ostracized. A good host must try to accommodate his guests and treat them with respect, not disdain.

But holiday dinners should be about more than just the food. Holidays should really be about family and friends coming together to celebrate life.

Cheryl G. Rosenfeld, Baltimore

The writer is a registered dietitian.

Encouraging adoption will save pets' lives

I disagree with the writer of the recent letter who argued that the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter was asking for trouble by waiving adoption fees for older dogs and cats ("Easing adoptions ultimately hurts pets," Dec. 19).

Her theory is that people are more likely to value their pets and refrain from abandoning them if they pay the standard adoption fee. But the value people place on their pets has more to do with their consciences and life circumstances than with paying a fee. And just because BARCS is lowering or waiving its fees does not mean that it is lowering its adoption standards.

Nearly 5 million cats and dogs are killed in this country's animal shelters every year. The reality is that if these pets are not adopted, they will be dead.

While some adopters may abandon their pets, which is the better deal: killing these animals now or giving them a chance to have a good home?

I applaud BARCS for its life-saving efforts.

Ron Lambert, Timonium

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