Dear Mr. Levin,

I received your book as a Christmas present, and I read the whole thing in one sitting. I cried and cried, and I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t even own a dog, but the book was given to me because of this:

I was driving home from the store one evening this past June. I noticed this beagle walking down the sidewalk. He was wearing a blue collar. He was alone. The thought crossed my mind that he might be lost/missing. This prompted me to check out our local missing ads. Sure enough, there was the ad complete with his picture on it. The dog had been missing since May 5.

I saw him several times over the summer. I won’t give you the whole looong story, but suffice to say, I became obsessed with getting him home. The problem was that he was very skiddish. If I even pulled the car over, he would run away.

The funniest sighting of him was when I saw him standing RIGHT NEXT TO THE TELEPHONE POLE WITH HIS MISSING POSTER ON IT! How defiant is that? I went through bags and bags of dog food, doggie treats, even raw hamburger, all of which I would throw out my car window when I’d spot him, hoping he’d associate my car with food. But he would run. I’d drive around and around the neighborhood. When I spotted him, I’d drive a way up the street, park my car, then walk back to that location, with my bag of food and a leash hanging over my shoulders. I’d hide behind trees. I’d call the owners on my cell phone to tell them that he was alive and well. They live about 25 miles away, so it was difficult for them to come every day. They got him (his name is Max) from a relative in Virginia. I think he had been abused and the relative rescued him. Why else would he be so skiddish? His owners had only had him for a month, and he hadn’t had the chance to get quite used to them. So, when they did spot him on their own searches, he wouldn’t come to them, either.

Two elderly women would see him in their back yards. I dropped off food for one of them. I wanted to keep him fed and in the area.

I spoke with one of the women a few weeks ago. Max hasn’t been seen in weeks. He would regularly come into her yard, she would put a dish of food out for him, he would take the entire dish to his secret hiding place, then return the emply dish. But he wouldn’t let her close enough to him to catch him. Now with winter here, I am worried about him. Especially because he’s not around. I look for him whenever I’m in the car. No sign whatsoever. All I wanted for Christmas was to get Max home to his family. And I just wanted one chance to bring Max into my home and feed him the can of Pedigree dog food I have waiting for him, to pet him, to smother him with kisses and hugs, to let him know that the crazy lady in the red Toyota who has been following him all summer is looking out for his best interests.

I don’t know what else to do. I checked the animal shelters in this area. No luck. Other beagles are there, but not him. Where could he be? How is he eating? Is he cold? Is he scared? Is he lonely? It breaks my heart.

But, anyway, that’s why my friend gave me your book. If one thing comes out of this whole experience, it will be that I will adopt a dog. I must find the right dog, though, as I have a cat who is 12 years old. I’ve had her since she was a baby. She’s been the only one for all these years, and I won’t do anything to break her heart. I know she would never stand for having another cat in this household, but I did babysit for my friend’s dog one weekend a couple of years ago. Ginger, my cat, was somewhat aloof, but she didn’t freak out like she does when another cat comes around.

My hope in 2008 is to adopt a dog from a shelter. And when I do, I’ll send you a picture.

Please pray that I somehow find Max, dead or alive. I just want him to get home, even if home is across the rainbow bridge.

Thanks for taking the time to read my letter. Happy New Year to you and your family..your family meaning your wife, children, and your dogs.

Diane from NY