While listening to your Wednesday show, you said that you are a hugger. Let me tell you about another hugger. He was a 135 lb Rottweiler named Butkus. He was the sweetest, smartest, most gentle dog I have ever met. My father died of cancer at the age of 52, leaving my Mom with two teenagers. She was lonely for several years until my brother brought Butkus into her life. He brought her much joy and since my mother had always been a caretaker, he was someone she could care for. She would comb him every day, cook his meals and take him for walks. She would even tell people that he was her grandson. She would take him for car rides because he loved sticking his head out the window. In return, he would follow her from room to room giving her unconditional love (and hugs!). When she would sit on the couch, Butkus would sit on the right side of her lap facing her. He would then place his neck on her lap and wrap his large head around the left side of her body. That was how he would hug.

When my mom was stricken with cancer, he stayed by her side. He would sleep in the doorway of her bedroom as if he was trying to protect her. He knew that her time to leave this earth and go to heaven was coming soon. This made him whimper with concern. He knew he was losing his beloved grandma. When my mother went into the hospital in her final days we stayed with. Butkus would have to stay at home. When we returned home, he would meet us and lead us into her room. He would turn, looking at us as if asking “where is Grandma?” One night we were at the hospital very late. The nurses told us to go home and get some rest. They would call us if there was any change. Since she was stabilized we went home for a short time. About three hours later, we received the dreaded call that she had passed away. My brother and his wife went into each other’s arms and cried. I sat there by myself crying until Butkus came and put his head in my lap. He looked up at me with said eyes and licked my face. He then wrapped his body around mine giving me a hug. He was such a sensitive soul.

We lost Butkus a few years later to the same horrible disease that took our parents. He died of throat cancer. Fortunately he didn’t suffer and the day before he died he had a great time swimming and playing with my brothers kids. The grandsons my mother never met. When I heard Butkus had died, I cried as hard as I did with my parents. It gave me solace that he had a wonderful life, loved by us and was the best dog I have ever met.

Mark, my husband and I are avid listeners of your show. We were listening to your pain and anguish last year when you were talking about Sprite’s declining health. I have finished your book. It was indeed a wonderful, heart-warming story. Your compassion and love for country, family, dogs and all things military shines through. God Bless you and your family. I send hugs to all of you, including Pepsi and Griffen. And I send hugs to Sprite and Butkus who are now frolicking together in heaven.

AnnaMaria from TX