My husband and I wanted a German Shepherd so the day we closed on our house (we bought the house mainly because it had a fenced in yard for our “future” German Shepherd) we decided to go German Shepherd shopping. Well needless to say we were young, married less than two years and did not have the money to adopt a pedigree. So we opted for our favorite mutt, “Baby Norman”. He was a Shepherd/Border Collie Mix. A great dog and as my two sons were born it was amazing how much he loved and protected them. We had him 14 and a half years. We found him at home one day laying on the floor, rushed him to the vet and they said he had a stroke and was virtually brain dead. My two sons were crushed.

About a year later we decided we get another dog. This time being in a better financial position we adopted from a breeder my Rudy. (Named after my favorite Mayor) Believe it or not it just so happened the breeder was a NYPD officer and worked with the Mayor every day.

Rudy was a very large German Shepherd. At about 6 months old he was diagnosed with IBS which we found out is a very serious problem. I was at the vet with him at least twice a month and was sent to a specialist several times too.

Rudy was put on a diet of Sweet Potato and Duck for the rest of his life. We always laughed because we would be eating Hot Dogs and Fries and the dog was Duck.

He was 3 and a half years old when we lost him. In October 2001 we were home and his legs just gave out, he tried so hard to come to me when I called him. I knew it was close to the end. I called my vet (who at the time would make house calls in extreme cases) and he would be by our house at around 6pm.

I could not bear to see Rudy in such agony and it broke my heart to see both my boys.

At 4:30 that afternoon it was over. He just looked up at me and I knew. I never felt so helpless in my entire life. We may not have had him very long but he surely touched our lives forever. We still talk about him.

Now we have another German Shepherd, Bernie. Named after Bernie Williams, NY Yankees. His 4 and a half years old now and in very very good health. I am truly thankful for that. He is a large male yet a little dopey. I do not think he has every looked in a mirror; he thinks he is a lap dog!!! Also, he bounces his own ball and rocks himself in my husband’s rocker/recliner.

I am giving your book as gifts to several of the favorite people in my life for Christmas.

I heard this statement years ago and will always remember it–All dogs go to heaven because it would not be heaven without them.

My son Bill is in the US Army stationed in Afghanistan. He has been there since January 2007 and is scheduled to return in April 2008. He is with the 82 Airborne-PIR-508. I listen to you every night and I cannot thank you enough for all the praise you give to our troops. I miss my son terribly. There are some days when you feel like you just cannot function but I just keep thinking of the day when we go down to Ft Bragg and meet him at the plane.

Thanks Mark for all you do for our troops and our furry little friends.

Linda from NJ