I haven’t taken the opportunity to read your book yet but I’ve listened to your show enough to feel a connection to your trials and tribulations.

15yrs ago my wife and I lost an infant boy, Nathaniel, to infection shortly after birth. It was a gut-wrenching experience. At the time we had a 2yr old girl. The despair we suffered through was awful. My wife’s strength came forth during that time as she recognized that our other child would need her more than ever during that time. Through her tears and sorrow she persevered.

We had amassed few memories of Nathaniel because we only had one day with him. And frankly, those memories consisted primarily of life-saving procedures. The boy fought hard. I was proud. How did I handle it during and after?…I never really expressed much to anyone, including my wife. Years went by and life progressed. 3 more precious kids and a wonderful marriage thus far.

Fast forward to 2004. Over a series of weeks listening to your show, which included much discussion about Sprite, an awareness was raised in me. The ability to appreciate…I mean really appreciate this little four legged friend in our house, Skittles, our Pug. Your stories brought forth much thought and emotion stemming from our infant son lost so many years ago. Even though he was with us for a day. And even though our time with him was anything but joyful because of his battles. What came forth was the appreciation I had to have been with him when he passed. The pride I felt as he fought for life. The despair I felt when it was time to let him go. I appreciate that now.

Skittles came to us by way of a flea market. While I was on travel to Asia, my wife and kids visited a local flea market and zeroed in on this little Pug puppy…the runt of the litter huddled in the corner of a cage with seven siblings. My then dog-resistant wife caved and brought the dog home. When I arrived back home two days later, I was met at the door with 4 kids and my wife holding this little bundle of joy. They were a little concerned I’d be angry. But I was actually proud my wife had stepped out of her comfort zone and allowed the kids to have a family dog…I had several growing up.

Mark, your words and stories have made me look at Skittles as more than just a dog. I look at her now knowing that it is likely I’ll have to ultimately make the same decision you did with Sprite. What’s changed is I don’t just expect to receive the love and total loyalty she provides. I now conciously give back to her that same affection and appreciation for her gracing us with her presence. I dread the day when she leaves this world – probably at a time I have to choose. But at the same time, I now know ahead of time that I will thank her for the joy she brought to our family. Perhaps recognizing that now might minimize the sting and hasten the path of grief to recovery.

Thank you for sharing your story. Skittles is reaping the benefits right along with me and my family.

GLE from TX