The memory of September 3, 2003 suddenly flooded back to me the other day when I heard your radio program discussing your new book Rescuing Sprite. That was the morning that I awoke to discover my beloved Sheltie, Watson unresponsive next to our bed. He passed away only an hour or so before we awakened evidenced by his warm temperature and lack of rigor mortis.

We had Watson for about twelve years, since he was a pup, admittedly not something I had planned on. We were not in the greatest financial shape in those days, still had two boys in high school, an all I needed was another expense. My wife Susan cared for Watson as a pup, house trained him and kept him groomed. I was rather ambivalent at first, but over a period of months Watson won me over. We read up on Shelties and discovered that as herding dogs they usually go sit by the master. When he and I were alone at home he would dutifully sit by me, content to be there with me. Needless to say I was hooked, this loyal pet, the runt of the litter, became another child to us, going on vacation with us, never leaving our side. While our Marine son was in the Middle East-Iraq, Watson knew he was gone, knew we were concerned, clinging to us even more. On the day Casey returned, Watson didn’t bark as he customarily did when someone came to the door, he KNEW it was Casey back from war. His tail wagged feverously, in a friendly way, because he knew his big brother was back.

Of course as he got older he slowed down a bit, but never had any major health problems. We had him to the vet in May, and the vet was amazed at his health given his age, needless to say we were relieved.
September 3rd was the first day of school where I teach, and I also taught a night class on Tuesday nights. Being the first day of school I got there very early, and returned home about sixteen hours later. Watson was one of two dogs, he slept on my wife’s side of the bed on the floor and Annie the collie mix did likewise on my side on the floor. Upon returning home that night, I was so beat, I went right to bed. As was his custom, Watson was sitting near the closet door, smiling at me as usual waiting for us to retire for the night, and then he would take his place on the floor near Susan’s side of the bed. I would usually pick him up before retiring, turn him upside down talked to him for several minutes and rub his belly, tell him I loved him then try to sneak him on top of the bed. But this night, I was so beat I told him, “I am hitting the hay Buddy, I am beat I will see you in the morning.” With that I left him smiling at the closet. Seemed like the alarm sounded only an hour later, but it was rapidly the next morning, I was up to take the dogs outside. As usual Annie was right there by my side, but not Watson. I figured that he was in a deep sleep, and didn’t hear me. I returned to my wife’s side of the bed to find Watson gone, peaceful as he lay there. For the first time in my life I was inconsolable, unable to stop crying, in disbelief. No relationship has ever affected me this deeply, he was always there, just to be near me to be content, never argued, never asked for money, just to be there with me, what better compliment could one receive. It haunts me to this day that I could not lay him to rest. I had to go to court for jury duty, so my wife took him to the vet so they could be entrusted with his body.
I wrapped him in a blanket, placed him in the back seat of the car, and sat with him for a while. I thanked him for his love and companionship, vowed to keep him in my heart forever, where he rests today. I was saddened beyond what I ever experienced, even with my Dad who passed on three years before. Unlike my Dad, Watson’s was sudden and painless, and I was very thankful for that.
The sadness, still with me today, was immense, I couldn’t sleep well, toss and turned, would wake up every hour. About four nights later I awakened to Watson barking in the bedroom doorway, I awoke, sat straight up, saw him in the doorway, he barked and had this peaceful look about him, and as soon as he appeared he was gone. This must have been his way of telling me that he was OK, and that he will see me again someday. I slept peacefully after that, knowing that he was OK.
I have had to put two other dogs down since, Annie our collie mix, and my mom’s golden retriever. I refuse to leave them alone as I had to leave Watson that day, after all they would never leave our side, now would they?
I am looking forward to finding your book; I thank you for writing it. I listen to your podcasts when I have a chance and enjoy seeing you on Hannity’s show, you are a great American. Thank you for allowing us to share our stories, like myself I imagine that others never get over a loss like this, we can only try.


Jim from CA