I live in a household with nine cats and at one time two dogs. We live in the country and unfortunately irresponsible people find this area a preferred place to dump unwanted pets. With the exception on one cat we took in from a friend all the rest have been animals that have strayed up to our house or we have found wandering around this area.


One day about seventeen years ago a stray dog wandered up to our house. We had been living here about a year at the time and already had a dog and five cats. I didn’t really want to take in another animal but I couldn’t bring myself to be mean to this dog. We fed her and let her stay in the yard. She became our dogs, a pit bull that I raised from a puppy, best buddy. The pit bull was another rescue from a guy that lived next door to a friend. He was going to drown all the pups from his female pit bull. I named the pit bull Hammer because his head, when he was a pup was the shape of an anvil. We raised Hammer with love and kindness and had no intention of turning him into a mean dog. He was a great dog and never bit anyone. He loved playing with kids and was never too rough with them. In fact I was often amazed how much patients he had with kids because they sometimes got pretty rough with him. As I was saying Hammer and our stray became best buddies but I still didn’t want to encourage this stray to stay here permanently. She was a Harrier Beagle and every morning she would be at our back door with tail wagging and the happiest face I ever saw on a dog waiting for Hammer to come out and play.


One evening it was pretty cold and raining out I looked out back to see where Beagle was and found her curled up next to the back door as tight as she could get herself to keep warm. She was wet and shivering and my heart broke. I brought her in and dried her off and knew at that moment officially had a two dog household. My wife named her Bagel. I still have no idea why but that is the name on her medical records. Over the years her name morphed into Weagle Beagle or Weags for short. Weagle became a euphamism for wriggle. She had a way of wriggling her hind end when she was excited that was hillarious. She would almost get her hind end out in front of her and spin her tail like an airplane propeller. I reffered to that tail spin as airboating.


About a year after we adopeted her someone stold Hammer. We found out in our search for Hammer that he was one of seven pit bulls that went missing from our neighborhood that week. Although I hate to think about how the rest of his life went I am quite sure some maggot was collecting pit bulls for fighting. Fortunately several people have been arrested and prosecuted for running dog fights. Every day Weags and I would roam around looking for Hammer. I would follow her hoping she could sniff him out. I know she was looking for him with her nose to the ground and occaisionally looking up and all around to see if she could see him. One night after about two weeks Weags went out on the back porch, sat down and howled in morning over the loss of her beloved Hammer. I was sleeping on the couch in the living room when that occurred but my wife witnessed it. It was Weags way of saying goodbye to her friend. I would have been out there crying with her if I had been awake. I cried when I heard about it, as I am as I write this.


The love of both of those dogs was unconditional. There was never anything but joy to be in their company. On my worst days, fortunately those are rare, it was such a joy to see them. They never failed to lift my spirits and make me smile. After Hammer was gone Weagle turned all of her attention to us. We tried to find her another dog buddy but she wouldn’t have it. Weags lived another 16 years, she was about 18 when we had to put her down in August of 2005. I burried her out in the front yard under her oak tree where she loved to lay and roll around in the grass. We reffered to it as her junk yard because she would carry empty cat food cans out there and clean them out. With nine cats it didn’t take long for her to accumulate quite a collection. Of course we picked them up every day or two but we got a kick out of seeing her out there with all those empty cat food cans around her. She would be right there when we fed the cats to collect the cans as they were emptied and carry them out to her junk yard and clean them out. She was a master of licking those cans clean as a whisltle and it was her second favorite joy in life right behind eating her own food. In her later years when her hearing started to go she would cry a lot. We figured it was because she couldn’t hear us talking to her. We comforted her sitting by her and petting her. We also knew her hips were in bad shape. She was determined to walk with us regardless. We gave her baby asprin, on advice from our vet, which helped ease her pain. That kept her going for a good while. Walking seemed to help her. She would be stiff at first but after she warmed up she got a pretty good gate going and seemed to enyoy it. I was particularly funny because we would walk her in the evening after we got home from work, before feeding her. Well she knew that when she got back to the house it was time for her to eat. Living in the country we never had to put a leash on her. Everyone out here brakes for animals and everyone also knew Weagle Beagle. Well about the last half mile of our walk Weagle would start to really pick up the pace. She was like a horse headed to the barn. Weagle would leave us behind as she headed for the house. Every once in a while on her way in she would look back just to make sure we were coming along. As we walked up the driveway towards the house Weagle would be waiting in front of the house jumping up and down like a puppy, spinning her tail like an airboat and couldn’t wait to get inside to have her dinner.


Man I miss that old girl. I still haven’t gotten over the pain of losing her. I think of her every day and often go out to her grave and talk to her. We keep flowers planted there for her and have a stone right in the middle with the inscription “Dogs leave paw prints on our hearts.” There are also paw prints across the top of the inscription. I appreciated the unconditional love Weagel gave us so much I had no other choice but to return it. I am only now beginning to think about getting another dog. The only reason I’m even considering it is because I know there are dogs in shelters that need a good home. I know I’ll be able to love another dog but my hesitation has been the pain of losing another beloved friend. I have hesitated reading your book because that pain is almost unbearable. Everytime I listen to you or your callers talk about thier pets all the emotion of losing Weagle comes flooding back. It’s the roughest thing I’ve ever experienced. There is something different between losing a relative and a pet that I can’t explain. Of course I miss the people in my life that have passed away but I haven’t grieved over them like I have for Weagle. I don’t know if it is a result of the unconditional love from Weagle or that I could be sure that the people I’ve lost at least understood what was happening to them. Weagle had such heart to keep going as long as she possibly could. I watched her struggle to do the things she always had done until she just couldn’t anymore. It was so hard to make the decision to put her down because she was still as alert and conscious of her surroundings as she ever had been but I knew she was suffering physically. I hated that here was nothing I could do for her other than put her down. The vet was very reassuring that we were doing the right thing. We were able to be with Weagle and pet her while the vet gave her the shot.


The last thing Weagle did was raise her head to look back at her hind leg to see what was sticking her, then she laid her head back in my wife’s arms and passed on. I can barely see to finish this right now and the pain is as overwhelming as ever. I can see from his picture that Sprite was a happy dog. I promise I’ll read your book eventually. I’m hoping it will be a catharsis for me to get beyond the pain of losing Weagle Beagle so I can once again experince the unconditional love of another dog. I’m sorry I don’t have the technology to send a picture of Weagle. Thank you for your show, which I rarely miss, and your love of dogs which has touched all dog lovers.


Bob from FL