I love you (not that way) and your show. I have to listen over the web since we don’t get you here in Iowa yet. I was a member of the Iowa National Guard as a combat medic, born to kill, trained to save, but never got to serve overseas; I got my discharge about 9 months before the first Gulf War and the unit I was in did go over there. I do have plenty of friends who are still in and I tell as many of them about you as I can and we all appreciate everything you do and say.

I want to share my dog story with you. I was married soon after high school in 1989 and after a few years, my wife and I tried to have children. After about a year of trying with no success we decided to quit putting pressure on ourselves and we got an AKC registered bulldog pup. We named him Rush after my favorite talk show host at the time. He was our baby boy and our pride and joy. After a couple of years my wife and I had a falling out and we ended up separating which eventually led to divorce. I kept Rush with me and I couldn’t have had a better friend through those tough times. He showed me unconditional love when I needed it most and he was the best listener.  Rush had some health issues and I spent a lot of money on him for his skin condition and his eyes had issues because of his scrunched up face and wrinkly skin, and it didn’t matter to me because he was my son. There then came a time where I had to move and I was unable to take Rush with me because he was not allowed in the apartment complex where I lived, but my mom took him in until I could get to a place where I could have him.

As more time went by his health got worse. He went blind for the most part, because of his eye problems, and the older he got combined with the lack of sight made him jumpy and somewhat on edge. It got to the point where he would lash out violently at anyone who would startle him by accident, like my mom who would walk by him as he slept on the floor he would be startled and bite. After he bit my mom a couple of times we were concerned what would happen when my brother and his wife brought over their young child. I was still unable to take him where I lived and my divorce put me in a financial situation where I couldn’t afford a place where I could have him. So I looked everywhere I could for someone to take him. I contacted many rescue organizations and people, all I could find on the internet, but after explaining Rush’s demeanor and health situation, I couldn’t find anyone that would take him so I was left with the only option which was to put him to sleep.

So the day before his birthday I brought him to my apartment so we could spend that last night together before I took him to the vet the next day. That last night Rush and I had a long night of talking with each other and I fixed him a huge t-bone steak. We had a great final night together. The next day we went to the vet and I was able to be there when the vet gave him the initial injection that put him to sleep but I could not stand to be there when the final injection was given. I stood with him until he fell asleep and I couldn’t handle being there after that.

That happened on Feb. 4th in 2001 and I still miss him terribly. I had him cremated and I still have him with me in our living room with a picture of him on his case. I still see him everyday and during tough times I still talk to him. He was always such a well behaved dog and he loved people, especially kids. His health just got to the point where we weren’t sure what he might do. He was my best friend through my toughest times and I have not been able to even consider getting another dog to this day. Currently I live with my girlfriend of 4 years and her 3 children, 6, 8, and 10. There has been a lot of discussion about getting a dog which makes me a little uneasy because I don’t know if I could handle that pain of losing another and trying to help children deal with it too but I want them to have that experience of what a great friend really is.

I’m looking forward to reading your book when it comes out and I’m looking forward to learning how you were able to deal with your loss and your decision to get another. Attached are a couple pictures of myself and Rush. I hope you are able to open them and see them. Again I love your passion and I can not miss your show and I am doing my best to spread the word about you. Thanks for everything you do Mark!