I don't have kids or a dog, but I do have a husband and two cats and fully understand your point (Dog column had tongues wagging, July 10).

I enjoy your perspective and very much appreciate you sticking to your resolution to evaluate what is best for your entire family, not just your kids. One of the reasons I haven't chosen to have any kids of my own yet is the insane load of expectations made of the American career mom.

I don't envy you your choice - you just want to be the best mom you can be. That doesn't require a dog, and knowing that, rather than bowing to any pressure that might saddle you with a long-term care decision, was a nice glimmer of wisdom to stumble across. Pets are family members and they do take time - it's so good that you point that out, too.

Ignore the haters. If you were self-centered, you would get the dog to quiet your son and then both of you would likely have too little time to care for it. At least one stranger out here admires your thinking on this issue.

Monica Martinez-Gallagher

Southeast Portland

Be a responsibleparent: Get a dog

I believe every child should have two things in life: a sibling and a dog (Dog column had tongues wagging, July 10). I grew up with dogs and have had dogs throughout 43 years of marriage. We had dogs before we even had kids.

Small dogs do not require much work and if you have a fenced yard, they don't even need to be walked. Kids take a lot more work than a dog does.

• Kids take two to three years to potty train - dogs take several weeks.

• Kids take years to learn manners - dogs take a few months.

• Kids clutter the house - dogs may shed, but many don't (poodles and Lhasa apsos).

• Kids require constant supervision - dogs don't, they just want occasional attention and lots of love.

You've taken on the hard part by having a child - now do the responsible parent thing and give your child a dog. I can't imagine life without one. I hope you will rethink this. You can still do your own personal thing, whether it be yoga classes or whatever.

Brenda Corrie

Northeast Portland

Contract system strictly monitored

In the article 'Contract system slammed in audit' (July 17), it was written that 'monitoring contracts remains a 'low priority' for the county.' An editorial in the same issue 'County contract system broken' (Insight, July 17) states that the use of contractors 'works in the real world only if someone is keeping the contractors honest.'

As a large provider of anti-poverty services in mid- and East Multnomah County, including energy assistance, eviction prevention and services to homeless families, we consistently have devised outcome measures and ensured that they are obtained.

We also are monitored regularly by both the county program and fiscal staff to ensure that we are following all program guidelines and meeting or exceeding all fiscal requirements.

There is strict monitoring of the number of people we are funded to serve in various programs. At times, there have been agencies within our systems that have not met these requirements, and there have been consequences imposed by the county.

Human Solutions Inc. and all human services agencies are charged with being stewards of the public's money, as well as providing important safety-net services for low-income and homeless members of the community.

The strong partnership between agencies delivering anti-poverty services and Multnomah County provides a more effective and efficient delivery of services, greater accessibility to services, and the ability to meet a larger variety of needs.

Jean DeMaster

Human Solutions Inc. executive director

Northeast Portland

Don't need psychic to know story baseless

In regard to your clairvoyant article 'In the realm of the senses' (July 10), I was wondering when you are going to run an article on the cleansing power of tarot readings?

How about rubbing crystals on one's head or wearing magnets for circulation? I think I know a dowser in need of interviewing as well. I know readership is down, but I didn't know that unscientifically proven, new age, touchy-feely, so-called psychics were real news these days. I guess fluff really does sell.

Rob Pucci

Oregon City

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