Suicide is a devastating blow to those left behind. Having lost two friends to suicide, I genuinely understand former Duluth City Attorney Gunnar Johnson's desire to do "something" to honor his cousin while running the Iditarod sled dog race this year (“Iditarod musher to carry list of lives lost to suicide,” Feb. 20).

But trying to link a lost loved one to an event in which dogs routinely lose their lives is misguided. The Iditarod represents suffering — suffering for dogs forced to haul sleds for hundreds of miles under the worst weather extremes. Many sled dogs spend their non-running hours chained to ramshackle houses in stews of their own waste.

We must extend our circle of compassion to all those with whom we share this planet. That includes not treating dogs like replaceable equipment.

John Di Leonardo

Norfolk, Virginia

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The writer is a senior manager of “Animals in Entertainment” at PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

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