I can’t thank you enough for writing this book. It has hit home in so many aspects. I am spending this holiday in a hospital away from my husband and children in order to be with my Mother who is recovering from cancer surgery at 84 years young.

We have had our little roller coaster ride of emotions, hardships, and joys in the last few weeks. I have been reading “Rescuing Sprite”, when my Mom is up to it, and also as a reward for doing her breathing exercises, and for sitting up in bed, or in a chair after being flat on her back for over a week. We take small steps of progress. We have had several setbacks this week, and today (Christmas Eve) things are much better.

You see, two days ago things were not looking so great for a lot of reasons. Some were medical, and other just personal. Following is my recent pet story to share.
A few days ago I went back to Mom’s house for a quick shower after spending yet another very long day and night in her room on the cancer floor. Our routine had not been much different from the day before and the day before that. Little did I know that we were in for a short adventure that at the time seemed to move in slow motion.

There had been another ice storm the night before, and the roads were very slick. Travel advisories were being broadcast. I drove very slowly to her house for the one job of letting her little rescue dog (Sasha) of 9 years, out to do her business. In my hurry to force her to get the job down, and still have time for a quick clean up for my own sake, I forgot to unlock the backdoor behind us. The central heat came on when we went through the second door. This event sucked the backdoor shut, slamming behind us. We were now locked out!

This was not a good situation. There was no one else to be at home. I was surrounded by an 8 foot privacy fence that we put up for Mom the previous year. That fence was to make her feel more secure after several break-in attempts. That fence now looked more than the eight feet. It was now my prison. I am 53 years old and not as spry as I once was. I’ve broken both shoulders with falls on ice in the last few years. Climbing and jumping this fence was not something I thought I could do. It was 20 degrees outside, a thin coat of ice with snow on top, no coat or gloves, and worst NO KEYS !! I felt stupid, but also angry that we were in this predicament. Literally, it was either find something to break a window, or find another way out and fast.

I tried climbing up the front gate. It was locked with a small padlock. The fence was well built to keep intruders out. I did try to push myself to the top, but her fencing has the stockade points, and the top and the cross-supports were covered with ice. My clog styled tennis shoes I wore to the hospital for comfort, were of no benefit in this situation. I screamed out to total silence from the homes around me. Mom’s house is a corner property. There weren’t many homes that could hear me. My kids always said I’m not a good screamer, and this dilemma proved the point.

My Mom’s house is built on a hill. Her back yard is long and narrow. It declines to the bottom of that small hill. My best bet was to try to get over the fence in the back though a small space toward one of the corners. Since the yard grades downward, I could see over the fence in the back to her neighbor’s yard and their back door. There was a black lab wandering through their yard. I was hoping this lab would know that I was dog friendly. I made the climb, got stuck on top, ripped my pants, lost one clog, and cut up my right hand. Somehow by the grace of God, I made it over, but with very little dignity. As I hiked through the neighbor’s back yard, I looked back at Sasha with her black eyes staring down at me from my Mom’s top step to her house. She was laughing at me. I would have scolded her, but I was too cold, too humiliated, and too late to get back to the hospital.

I knocked on their door. No answer! Great, now I’m stuck in their back yard. Knocked again, louder! No answer. Crap, what next? Could this day be any more screwed up? I worried that the hospital would be calling me. I had to get back. I banged on that back door, and finally saw movement. My prayers were answered. Mom’s neighbor came to the door totally confused. She had never met me, and was reluctant, and I don’t blame her. I’m sure I looked a mess! I explained who I was, and my situation. She finally let me in to her very warm kitchen and a telephone. Bobby the black lab immediately gave me hug as if to say things would be okay. We searched through the neighborhood association watch directory and their emergency numbers and finally found someone home that knew the phone number of a neighbor that I knew had one of Mom’s emergency keys.

You have to understand that these neighbors are not exactly close, but were actually up another icy hill about 18 houses away from where I was calling. This neighborhood is a very old historical neighborhood. Most of the people who live in this area are elderly. The neighbor gave me a jacket and sent me off with hope. About half way up the hill, a security car happened to drive by on their way to work. He stopped. I’m sure he thought I looked suspicious. I told him the quick version of the story, and this angel of man drove me to the neighbor with the key, than waited while I tried it. However, I was still stuck for a second time.

The key worked on the bottom lock only. The bolt lock on the front door was still locked. When I came in, I used the garage door opener, and it was in my locked car. I never went through the front door. All the good keys were inside in my coat pocket. Mom’s neighbor who had the emergency key is in his late 20’s. He is in the Army Reserves. He was watching us from his window, and came over. He climbed Mom’s 8’ fence like it was nothing. Slid around back, opened her back door with the key, walked through her house, and opened the front door to let me in. Sasha met me in the hallway licking her wet paws. She was pouting because she had been outside too long and was wet! Yes, she was mad at me! I thank everyone for their help and promised to be more careful.

All this took almost three hours to get back to where I was supposed to be. I literally ran through the house grabbing some clean clothes, feeding Mom’s little Rescue dog, and rushing back to Mom’s room at the hospital. I now only have the cuts, bruises and wounded ego to remind me of that morning.

Mark, this morning when I made that routine trip again, I put the keys in my jeans pocket. I unlocked every single door before I took Sasha outside, and I kept my coat and gloves on. After cleaning up, I called my husband and daughters to wish them a Happy Christmas Eve. This brought me to tears. I miss them. I was lonely, stressed from all the late hospital stays, and again in a hurry to get back up there. I am missing the rest of my family and the Christmas we had planned. But I have a little dog looking at me with great big black eyes and wondering why I’m crying.

Me too! I’m inside. I have clean, warm clothes, and just about everything else I need. God is looking after us this week. My adventure could have turned out worse. I could have lost my Mom. She could have lost me. And Sasha……she is probably home in her bed tonight, still laughing at me!

This is Christmas Eve. I am sitting again in a hospital room listening to my Mom breathing as she sleeps and typing on my laptop. Our family is not together physically, but mentally we are trying to hang tough with our situation. I have a lot to be thankful. And Mom’s little black cocker…….I know deep down she is happy to have a good home with my Mom.

I’ll be starting over reading your book again this evening. Mom always forgets where we stopped, and so we start over.

Mark, this book has brought much comfort to my Mom. For your experiences and skilled penmanship, I am thankful. Your story keeps my Mom entertained while she is uncomfortable and hurting.

My husband and I listen to you, Rush, and Sean every day. You have taught us far more than you will ever realize. Much more than I learned in school about our government, it’s laws, our past and our future. Your compassion for our service men, and our country gives me strength. What I experienced this week is a little bit of nothing. I got through it.

For our servicemen, I pray tonight that they are each and every single one very Safe. I pray they don’t have to jump fences, or loose a boot. I pray they have what they need to stay warm and win this war for all the rest of us. And of course we pray for all those pets that keep our lives in perspective.

You are truly a kindred spirit.


Elizabeth from TX