After reading Rescuing Sprite 3 times in the last week, I decided to share my own dog story. My family has always had dogs since I was a kid – all breeds & sizes. All were part of our family from the time we brought them home until the end of their lives. All lived to be between 11 to 17 years old. I have been with 3 of them when the time came to put them down. It is difficult to recall those events to this day despite the fact that I am convinced the right decision was made in each case. I’ve never owned a shelter dog but half of my dogs have been rescued strays. The dog I have now is Amber. She is Chesapeake Bay retriever or possibly a lab mix. I’m located in the Dallas area with my parents, brothers and sister living nearby. We have a lake house on Cedar Creek Lake where my parents found Amber on New Year’s Day 2001 during a bitterly cold spell that had generated a snow and ice storm. Amber was a year old and very skinny. The cold nights in the 20s must have been very hard on her. She had been in the area for about a month and was being fed by our neighbors who were up in their 80’s and could not take the dog as their own. My parents and some of their friends were staying at the lake for the weekend.

 As my mother was outside doing chores or taking walks, the dog approached her several times for some attention and reassurance. It was obvious that the dog was afraid of strangers but also desperately wanted some human attention. During this time, my mother did not feed the dog; she simply spoke to the dog and petted her for a while. At the end of the weekend as my mother was driving from the house, she looked into the rearview mirror and saw the dog chasing after her. That was it. She stopped the car, got the dog in and called me to say she was bringing me a dog. We were not able to locate her original owners. Amber was already housebroken and well behaved except for some chewing issues which we worked out. I have had Amber for 7 years now and she is a great dog. She is perfectly behaved, very smart, and wonderful with all the kids – including the children too young to understand how to treat a dog. Of the 4 dogs owned by members of my family she is definitely the favorite. Based on this experience, I decided that any dogs I get in the future will be secondhand dogs from a shelter or rescued myself.

Mark, do you realize that you have written nothing less than Old Yeller for the 21st century? While you are not scratching out a living on the Texas frontier in the 19th century, you did take in an unwanted dog which became part of your family, contributed to your family’s well being, and you had to face the terrible decision to end Sprite’s life when the time came. I think that Rescuing Sprite has a chance of becoming a classic. It will always be so for me.

Greg from TX