Mark: I read Rescuing Sprite the night of All Saints Day which I thought was very appropriate. Thanks so much for this book. I have included the message I wrote when I lost my dog this past summer. I shared this with my friends and family and now I am sharing it with you and your audience. Zuel is dead. Zuel met his end on Thursday the 12th of July 2007. His life ended suddenly when he was struck by a vehicle on Great Southwest Parkway in Grand Prairie. Zuel’s life ended in his 13th year of life and his 12th year with me. I only learned of Zuel’s death on Tuesday the 17th, for Zuel ran away from home the night of July the 6th. His whereabouts were unknown until I a voicemail was left at my work on the night of Friday the 13th. Josette went to the Prairie Paw’s (our dog pound) on that following Tuesday, for I was unable to get anyone in person on the phone. She got the whole, sad story. It was rather ironic that I had visited the Prairie Paws on that Saturday, but I had not spoken to anyone-I just looked at the dogs they had confined and left. It was hard to look at those dogs knowing some would never find homes.
As far as the night Zuel left, I can just imagine Loby found the gate ajar and led Zuel out to tear into the neighbor’s garbage bags for forbidden food. The neighbors said they saw Zuel heading south around 10:30 PM the night of the 6th. Loby was smart and stayed close to home. I found him in the back yard the next morning like nothing was out of the ordinary. We conducted a frantic search that Saturday, but had no luck in finding Zuel. We continued to have not luck going to the Grand Prairie and Arlington animal shelters and posting notices on the internet.
I just hope Zuel had fun on his 5 plus days running wild. They were tough days for Josette, Julius and me. Zuel was killed over a mile and a half away from home. He would have had to have crossed Cottonwood Creek, a Union Pacific rail line and State Highway 303 (Pioneer Parkway). A citizen called the Grand Prairie Animal services when they saw Zuel hit. The incident report indicated it was bad, so there was never any hope he would survive. I did get Zuel’s tag from animal services, but the officer that recovered Zuel’s body said his collar not recoverable.
I believe Zuel’s last six months were a time of change in which he gracefully adapted. He became a full-time, outside dog. He traded the couch and bed for the comfort of a hay filled dog house with a heater for the really cold days. We had a rainy spring, but the temperatures were mild and Zuel enjoyed lying in the morning sun. Zuel had slowed down quite a bit in his last few years. He had arthritis in his hips and he rarely barked, but he still grew excited at mealtime and when it was time to walk. Zuel’s striking eyes were still clear, but his mind had grown a little cloudy. I’ll never know now how much more time we would have had together, but Zuel’s unnatural death did save him from a slow decent into infirmity, so I’ll always remember him in his normal good health.
Some of my favorite memories of Zuel are tied to the family I have lost over the last 13 years. In the spring of 1995 I remember I was on the roof of the house on Malvey arguing with an insurance adjustor over the damage done by the big May hailstorm of 1995. My stepfather, Jay, was suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s by this time and he was in my care that day. The adjustor and are up on the roof debating when all of a sudden out the front door come Jay and Zuel. Well Jay was ready to go home, so he goes to the adjustor’s car, opens the passenger door, let’s Zuel in first and then takes his seat. The adjustor and I stood there for a moment in silence, looking at Zuel at the wheel, and Jay sitting on the passenger side ready for Zuel to drive him home. At this sight, the adjustor promptly stopped arguing and totaled the roof, so we all could be on our way.
I recall my grandfather, Dickie, often exclaiming “here is Dingle-Hoofer und His Dog Adolf,” whenever I showed up with Zuel. This was some reference to The Katzenjammer Kids comic strip of the 1920’s or 30’s. This was an odd reference, but Dickie said it with joy in his heart.
I think back on my father, Tommy, who spent one Thanksgiving weekend with Zuel and me. The Fort Worth Turkey Trot goes by my old house on Malvey, and at the tail end of this run the people walk with their dogs and kids. Well on this Thanksgiving- once all the runners had cleared my street, I left Dad and Zuel at the house. When I returned I came back to find the front window blinds torn down. I asked Dad what happened and he began going out about that uncontrollable dog (he didn’t want me to adopt) having seen a Great Dane go by and Zuel’s getting so excited he brought the blinds down. Zuel did love looking out that bay window, and I learned that day to bring the blinds up a bit for him especially on Thanksgiving.
I remember Sybille’s displeasure when I told her I had adopted a Staffordshire Terrier without consulting her. Then she looked the breed up to discover they were called Staffordshire “Bull” Terriers and were of the type she liked to refer to as “Schweinehunde.” Sibylle learned to accept Zuel and wisely counseled me to take Zuel to obedience training just in case we ever had children.
I think back to Konstantin’s first visit to the U.S., and Zuel’s desire to lick Konstantin’s face. Konstantin had no fear, but his mother had plenty. Zuel loved Konstantin’s teething cookies, and I think he loved Konstantin.
I’ve many fond memories of Zuel and I am grateful for the days I was blessed to have him. He was no friend to cats, mice and other small animals, but he was a great friend to Loby and me. Even though Josette and Julius knew him only a short time, they are sad at his loss and we all miss him very much.

Ben from Texas