I want to tell you about our dog. My 18 year old daughter brought him home from work one day in 1990. She walked in with a pup under her jacket saying ‘Look what I brought home’: I thought “Oh no! What now?” I was post-divorce (very bad) newly married, combined new family of 4 teens and 1 younger. Did not want or need one more responsibility. All the kids kept at me and at me, Can we keep him? Can we?Can we??? Oh Lord, I thought. His birthday was same as my ex-husband’s, a bad sign for me. Then I looked at the pup who looked at me with his soulful brown eyes that said ‘Come on Mom, let me stay’. So, he stayed. She named him Sport (as all the kids were fine athletes) and he soon became Sportie. He also learned to stay in the kitchen. He would belly crawl the ten feet, inches at a time to get to us in the living room where kids were all scattered on couches and the floor doing what they do. If I noticed him sneaking out a quick ‘Sport! – Kitchen!!’ sent him back with his head hung low, soulful eyes, ‘Aw Mom’. Whenver we called him – he would come flying, racing to jump on all the furniture, then on all the kids and their papers and fall in a heap on my lap. This 100 pound Yellow Lab (coloring) and German Shepherd (head and tail) mix really believed he was a lap dog.

His claim to fame was being the best watch dog and family protector in Detroit. No one, I mean no one, came into our yard, alley, or house (the Shepherd part). He would also retrieve anything and everything (the Lab part). Particularly, his favorites were his ‘biter sticks’ (chew bones). After a year of intense planning my husband and I bought 4 very rare and beautiful rose bushes and planted them in the back yard. I came home from work the next day and found every one of those expensive bushes bitten and chewed down to nubs. Sportie was jumping and dancing around thanking me for his new ‘biter sticks’ and in his eyes I read ‘Wow bring me some more of those, will you?’. He was also a runner, if he got out of the yard he was gone. Running free, the wind in his ears. No amount of calling, bribing, cajoling, would bring him home: the chase was on, all of us running after him like goofs. The only way to bring him home was going after him in the car and offering him a car-ride. He would run and jump in the front seat with a smug look on his face. He loved going bye-bye in the car more than anything else. We moved from Detroit and he was just as protective of the new home and yard. Starting with Jake, he welcomed each new grandchild as if they were his own.

We tried hard not to notice when he could not run and jump and play as well any more, that he came into rooms slower, that he stopped running down the street, and that he did not bark so mightily. We had to hand him his ‘biter-sticks’…he could no longer sit on anyone’s lap. Soon, he just laid and looked at us with those now sad eyes, ‘Help me’. My husband could not bear to take him in, so our brave son-in-law, Mick, took him for his last car ride. Now, every Christmas we find his leash and collar packed away with holiday decorations and once more realize how much we miss our Sportie. Thank you for writing your book. So very sorry for your loss.

Peggie and family from MI