Dear Mark:

My husband and I are regular listeners to your show and huge dog lovers. We were listening one night as you discussed your book “Rescuing Sprite,” and although I enjoyed listening to you discuss it on the radio, I knew in my heart I would not read it fearing it would be way too painful. Well, a friend of mine thought differently and sent it to me. I just finished reading it about an hour ago and was so moved I wanted to shoot this e-mail off.

About the time your family was struggling with Sprite, my family was struggling with my Otis who passed away 11/5/06. He was around 15; a 45lb shepherd/collie mix. We don’t know exactly how old he was because we found him on the side of a highway 14 years earlier, took him home and there he stayed. The last two years of his life were so very difficult for us. He was suffering from a brain tumor, or so we think. He was often dizzy, disoriented and confused. He forgot how to do many basic things including how to walk out of our NYC apartment building for his daily walks, but we did everything we possibly could for him. There were many sleepless stretches when he was unable to settle down. We too never opted for the MRI trying to spare him one second of further confusion. But because of that, we did not have an absolute diagnosis either. He finally had a very dramatic seizure during the night. We scooped him up, took him to the hospital and euthanized him.

His death was more acceptable to me in someway than accepting that I handled the prior two years in the best way I could have for him. Not having a diagnosis is difficult. Also like Sprite, Otis was still eating and drinking. Even more difficult. My husband walked Otis for the last time that night, sat with him while he ate his food, put him in his bed for the night, and whispered to me the same words Kendall said to you, “He is having a good day.” That was his last.

His loss consumed me. I knew though that down the road I would have to have another dog in my life. I said the exact words you said, “not now, maybe in 6 months….” Then came Storm, my 7 yr old, 62 lb shepherd/chow mix that I adopted 7 months ago from a local adoptathon that the city shelter was having. We almost lost him to kidney failure and boy was he a mess. But he is doing wonderful now and we love him madly. He has a totally different personality than our other guy and that is just fine.

I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. So many of the feelings you and your family experienced regarding work/vacation conflicts, and simply managing your priorities with a totally dependent animal in your care, we experienced. Your story comforted me. Not all of these situations are very clear cut. I am so happy and smiled so when I saw Griffen’s picture! I wish you and your family all the best with many treasured times with Pepsi and Griffen. They are adorable!!


Teresa from NY