hello mark. first off, i am a veteran from the coast guard in the sixties, and i think i join all vets when i thank YOU for YOUR service to america.

i have bought your book for a friend who lost a dog many years ago and has not yet gotten over the loss. i will get one for myself soon.

when i lived with my parents, we always had dogs. my parents spared me the knowledge that they had died or been put down by telling me that they had run away or in the case of a dog which bit strangers, that they found a good place for him to be a guard dog.

my son gave me a dog, half lab, half mastiff. she was beautiful, but my work and commute left her alone over 12 hours a day and she needed freedom to run. she now lives with relatives who give her that freedom. i get to see pictures of her.

i bought a pet rat. it was not a joke or a whim, i was in a pet shop and they looked friendly, and they were. i put my hand in the cage and this one came to me. she was ordinary and grey and i knew she would not be bought as a pet, but as food for some snake. i took her home and have had many rats since then–all rescues, some from shelters hundreds of miles away.

rats don’t live very long. three years is a long life for a rat. .

they lick my hand and my face. they sit on my shoulder.

losing one of these little fuzzbutts has been as traumatic for me as losing a human relative or friend. i have held most of them as they died, trying my best to comfort them.

many people chide me for spending hundreds of dollars for surgery to remove a tumor on a rat, which are very common on females. those people can never be made to understand, so i don’t bother.

there are several thousand members on internet groups who share my love for these little critters. most of us feel that they are only on loan to us, as they live for such a short time.

thanks for all you do for america, thanks for your book which i know will help my friend. i honestly know of no other person who does so much with such a passion.

stay well,

Bill from Virginia