Hi Mark- Your book has brought so many people together, and has removed the feeling of isolation from many.

Thank you.

Here is our story:
I decided I wanted a pet. Growing up my family had always adopted from shelters and we had never been disappointed. I drove to the local Humane Society. I did not have any type of dog in mind. I knew when I saw the right one, I would know it.
Once there, I decided I would wait a week and then return with my roommate.
I began to walk to my car when I spotted him coming from the back of the building. He was a mess and he came right up to me. I went and got an attendant, “Is he for adoption?” I asked curiously.
“Yes”, she replied, “but are you serious? I mean look at him, he is in pretty rough shape. He has been here so long we don’t even cage him anymore. The staff has kind of adopted him.”
“What’s his story?” I asked.
“He was hit by a car last year and we were called out to get him and put him down. He was in bad shape, broken ribs, snapped tail, crushed nose, he must have been a stray before that because he was pretty skinny too. So we loaded him onto the van and as we are driving back he starts to look at us and rubbing against us and we all sensed it. He was telling us he wanted to live. Back at the kennel, the vet saw it too. He said he would give him 24 hours, if he improved good, if not he would put him out of his misery. The little guy was so happy to be around people he got better quickly. And so, here he is, not much to look at but what a loyal friend he is. His vocal chords don’t work and we don’t know why.”

That was it. I was hooked. I saw what they were talking about before she even recounted that story.

It was in his eyes.

She quickly added: “You know, this is the first time he has ever come up from behind the house. Did you call to him or something?”
I told her no, he approached me.
He really was a sore sight for sympathetic eyes. His injuries had healed but left him with a bumpy almost jagged appearance, he had hardly any fur and was still pretty thin. His head looked way too big for his body and his teeth/fangs stuck out from his mouth. His cheeks were more like jowls.
One thing was for sure, he had character! And being 1993 the only name I could relate to “character” was George. As in George H.Bush (do you remember the catch phrase of the ’92 presidential campaign?)
So George it was.

From that moment on we were inseparable. He went everywhere with me and when he could not he would faithfully wait for me by the front door the whole time. I easily taught him all kinds of tricks, he loved to give me “kisses” by gently rubbing his cheek to mine. Friends always got a kick out of that one.
Over time, his fur started to grow in nicely& thick so it hid many of his scars. He put on weight and began to look more and more normal, but there was still something about his unusual appearance that made people chuckle when they first saw him.

Even people who did not like animals, loved George. He was so kind to everyone, but
George was particular about one thing. The men I dated. He was protective of me and while not mean, he often made his presence known just to let any guy know he was on to them.
There was one fella he never liked from day one and as it turned out, the guy was a real creep. So not only was George a good character himself, he was also good at sensing the character of the men I dated.

One evening my car broke down and a friend of a friend gave me a lift home. I invited him in and as we entered the porch there was George waiting for me. The reaction of my guest, Mark, was the same as most. “Wow, he is unique looking.” But George’s reaction was very different then usual.
George went right over to Mark, sniffed him then sat on his foot! I was stunned. I had never seen him do anything like that. I asked Mark if he had any pets, he said no.
We sat down and George promptly jumped up onto Mark’s lap and went right to sleep. Again, I was speechless.

Fast forward 2 years later-
Mark and I were married and expecting our first child.
I won’t tell you I married Mark because of what George thought of him, but I will tell you George’s opinion of him is why I decided to date him. He was the only guy George ever “liked”.
Not long after the birth of our first child (whom George dutifully “guarded”) we came home one night and there was something wrong with George, he was stumbling and falling over. Right away I knew it was the end, despite Mark trying to reassure me he would be ok. It was the same feeling I had when I knew he was the one I wanted to adopt, only this concrete feeling was the antithesis of joy. I could feel the impending doom.
We rushed him to the emergency vet. Turned out he was a lot older then we ever (or our regular vet) knew. He had a tumor in his chest and it was pressing his heart and lungs. We were told he was in great pain and the end was near for him. The best we could do was to put him “to sleep” as I held him in my arms one last time. After they injected him I asked him for one last “kiss” but the vet said: “He can’t hear you now, he is almost about to take his last breath.” I put my face up to his, and to the surprise of everyone in the room, with his last breath he lifted his head and gave my cheek one of our special “kisses” then he died.

The vet was stunned. It was the only time I have ever seen my husband cry. I cried for weeks on end. I am crying now as I write this even though George died 8 years ago. That vet wrote me a beautiful letter that I keep in my George scrapbook. She told me she had never seen such a bond (we had never met her before that awful night) between pet and owner and that the whole experience had been bittersweet to witness.

I know most stories here are about dogs, but George was a cat. I went to get a dog that day but I ended up with a mess of a cat, who had that look in his eyes I had thought only existed in the eyes of dogs. But he was more like a dog then most pooches are. And that look in his eyes is in all of God’s creatures who only seek to love unconditionally and to be loved unconditionally. He was a perfect example of that unwavering, unconditional love.

Annie from CT