My wife, daughter and I had a shepherd / sheepdog mix for thirteen wonderful years. Gretyl was the runt of her litter – I think the runts of litters make great dogs – and she gave us years of nothing but love and the pleasure of her company. Among other things, Gretyl endured years of being dressed up in nightgowns by our daughter and her friends. And all the kids in the neighborhood loved to see Gretyl when we would walk her around the block and they all wanted to stop and pet her. In her later years, Gretyl graciously tolerated the indignity of having to allow two cats to be brought into her house. Gretyl loved all kinds of “people food” but she really loved cookies and could hear the cookie jar open even when she was sleeping. One night, we knew there was a big problem when we offered her a cookie – putting it under her nose and she didn’t even lick it. Sadly, we lost her that night to a severe heart problem. We had to make the decision to put her down and I couldn’t even look at the doctor when we had to sign the papers. When I lay down on the floor to comfort Gretyl in her last moments, I looked into her eyes and I swear that she looked back at me as if to say “its OK, I’ll be alright. It’s my time”. That moment is seared in my mind and will be forever, even though it was 15 years ago and as I write this I have tears in my eyes. The tears are for the heartache of the final moments, but I also know they are because we had thirteen years of Gretyl sharing herself with my family. Now my wife and I have an eleven year old dog named Bear (who still thinks she’s a puppy) but she’s another story for another time. Thanks Mark, for your book.

Mark from NJ