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8:02 PM Tue, Jan. 22nd

Letter: I just wanted a dog

Several months ago my elderly dog died, and life just hasn't been the same since. Then, two weeks ago, I saw on the Web site for Help Animals Lives Today (HALT) a beautiful dog who looks nearly identical to one I had when I was a young child. I adored that dog. So I filled out and faxed an adoption application form to HALT.

No one called to respond to my application. I couldn't understand that, especially since we can give a dog a wonderful, loving home. We have a large fenced (chain link) yard, and I'm retired so I can spend plenty of time with the dog.

After three days, I called and talked to HALT President Lotti Benker, who answered all my questions and agreed that I should come to the shelter to see the dog. I told her I would call before coming out the next day because I didn't know quite when I'd be through at the dentist's office. Much to my surprise, when I called she told me there were two other applications for that same dog, so I shouldn't come out.

Excuse me? Because I know someone who saw the dog there a year and a half ago, I know for a fact that he's been there nearly two years! And now all of a sudden they have three applications for the same dog? I told her I had my doubts about that, and in any case my application had to have come first because she didn't mention any others the first time I called. She said she would have to take the matter to the board of directors. I requested that she call me and she agreed to do so. Of course, at this point, I wasn't surprised when she did not call.

Four days later, I appeared at HALT in person, with $100 in my pocket for an adoption fee and asked to see the dog. Ms. Benker told me she should have called me, however, her "committee" had decided on someone else. I don't believe her, and I don't understand what's going on here. Can anyone explain to me why I can't adopt the dog, and why his picture is still on the Web site?

Nelson Cusiter,