I appreciated having my thoughts on honest sweat reach the millions of readers of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Nevertheless, I did develop a nervous sweat when my apocrine glands noted you had given the title of my book incorrectly. But don't sweat, just tell them it's Dr. Sheehan on Running.
GEORGE A. SHEEHAN, M.D.
Red Bank, N.J.
There's an incredible similarity in your Nov. 2 issue between the fluid poetry in motion of Graig Nettles soaring through the air to snag a line drive and that of the Jack Russell terrier hauling in a Frisbee (The Mutt with a Touch of Class). In the many years that I have subscribed to SI, I cannot recall two pictures so alike, and of such clarity and brilliance.
As a former rat terrier owner, I can attest to the breed's tenacity and longevity. My dog was 15 before finally succumbing. He was a fighter to the bitter end. In his last year of life, he survived: 1) a six-foot drop into a sewer; 2) being lost for 27 hours; and 3) a 10-foot fall into a concrete basement. Yet he persevered until an ear infection did him in. That dog's courage and spunk taught me a great lesson about living. The story on the Jack Russell terrier brought back pleasant memories and I commend E.M. Swift for depicting the essence of one of the dog world's finest creatures. My old dog would have been proud to have known that he was in such esteemed company.
We were delighted with E.M. Swift's report on the joys of owning a Jack Russell terrier, even though our own dog, Emma Gray, isn't a J.R. but a Staffordshire bullterrier. No matter: The characteristics of the two breeds are so similar that we found ourselves nodding and chuckling at every paragraph. Like the J.R., the typical Staffordshire is both fearless and fun-loving; it is also loyal, affectionate and rough on rodents.
One point: we dispute the contention that a pit bullterrier—more properly referred to as a Staffordshire—is too ugly to be invited between the sheets. We think Emma is beautiful, and she's welcome to crawl beneath our bedcovers any time—well, almost any time.
DONALD and PETRA CROSBY
I'd appreciate it if you'd clear up a small disagreement that my boyfriend and I are having concerning the picture of the dog and the baby. My boyfriend says that the baby is not real, but a plastic doll.
?The baby is real. In fact, it's Photographer Stephen Green-Armytage's son, James, who was 2 months old when the picture was shot with the family's Jack Russell, Dudley.—ED.
I don't know what all the fuss is about. We have an 8-year-old wirehaired fox terrier named Marnie. She hunts mice, turtles, snakes and birds and crawls down groundhog holes. She talks—and curses. She follows our moods exactly: When we are calm, she's a lover; when we are crazy, she joins in the fun. She loves the outdoors, yet stays in her territory. She plays with people and dogs and cuddles like a baby—under the covers, of course. She likes carrots, watermelon, cantaloupe and yogurt. And she smiles and communicates with her ears. Now what were you saying about the unspoiled Jack Russell?
MAXINE L. MARPLE
I thought my Erin, who's just pure dog, was unique in her ability to smile. She can't keep a straight face after hearing a chicken joke.
New York City
I found your comments regarding the Jack Russell terrier's lack of inherited defects a little too "dogmatic." Granted, inbreeding has been responsible for a good many undesirable physical traits in other dogs, and the Jack Russell terrier, to date, seems to be minimally affected. However, there is one condition, myasthenia gravis, for which the Jack Russell terrier breed is overly represented.