Letters to the Editor

Human climbers can make choices; dogs can't

When I saw the front-page photo in The Bee Feb. 20 of the rescued climbers, stranded on Mount Hood since Feb. 18, I shuddered -- my fear was confirmed.

The three human climbers were properly and heavily clothed for climbing and prepared for blizzards, avalanches and freezing temperatures during the coldest months.

Did any of the three humans think of outfitting their black labrador, Velvet, with a sweater, jackets, snow shoes and face mask? Dogs' lungs get cold, too, when they breath freezing temperatures.

One of the women said, "We were soaking wet and freezing." Was Velvet soaking wet and freezing? All poor Velvet had between her skin and freezing wet weather was just some black fur.

I hold neither sorrow nor sympathy for the three humans -- humans can make choices. Taking along Velvet to climb Mount Hood in February? Velvet had no choice!

Erik Brom, a member of the Portland Mountain Rescue Team that found them, said, "The dog probably saved their lives" by lying across them during the long night. Mr. Brom described the wind in the canyon as "hellacious."

Theodora Mugnaini