Dear Mark,
Just received your book, “Rescuing Sprite” for Christmas, and couldn’t put it down. You said in your book, that you had doubts about writing it because you didn’t think anyone would want to read it. Boy, were you wrong! Look what you’ve started. Just as you were bring Griffen into your lives, my family was losing our dog of 15 years, Shorty. I thought you might enjoy reading the following story that my daughter wrote about our little dog. As I’m sure you have figured out by now, you’re not alone. I wish your family all the best. I hope you enjoy the following story:

Shorty was a great dog. When I say “great”, I don’t mean grand or beautiful or strong. He was just a great dog. We got him when I was eight. He was supposed to be my brother’s fifth birthday present but I always thought I bonded more with Shorty than my brother did. Maybe because I named him. Maybe because I’m the one that was holding him when he jumped out of my lap (I was sitting in the door way of the storage building) and broke his leg. I think it was my fault because I tried to catch him and probably just tripped him up. Mom took him to the vet and dropped him off to be examined. When she came back, there was a cast on it. She would have never authorized having a cast put on, mostly because she knew Dad would have a fit. Luckily for Shorty (and for me) the vet didn’t consult Mom. She made us promise not to tell Dad how much it cost.

He was also supposed to be a full blood Chihuahua. He was given to us by someone who had found him as a stray puppy. As he grew, it became apparent he was not a full blood Chihuahua. He was colored like a pug-fawn with a darker strip down the back. He was never accused of being pretty. He was smart though. One little oopsie in the house and he was potty trained. He liked to play when he was a puppy. He would latch his little teeth onto my night shirts and let me pull him around the room. He liked to play fetch and tug of war with dirty socks.

My parents got divorced when I was nine. Shorty was my Batman Light (refer to Van Marsalis’ song, Batman Light). He was with me when I wanted to cry. He would just curl up right beside me and let me hug him. He moved to Purcell with us. I loved him so much. He was so smart. One time I was lying on the floor watching t.v. with my head resting on my arm, palm up, stretched out above my head. I felt something in my hand and when I looked, Shorty had dropped a toy ball right in the middle of my hand. I couldn’t say no.

As Shorty aged, he stopped playing with toys. He became too mature for that. I would like to now convey how truly special Shorty was. In my mind, he wasn’t a dog. But not in the way that other people have dogs who are their “babies”. Shorty was much more like a little man. He didn’t like to be picked up and carried around. He didn’t like to be cuddled. It would seem almost ridiculous to baby talk him. Almost insulting. You never had to get on to him or give him direction and guidance the way you do most dogs. He was like a friend. He liked to sit and be petted and enjoyed human companionship.

His vocabulary was astounding. He knew more English than some people. People outside my family always made fun of the way I talked to Shorty in regular sentences. They didn’t believe that he could understand me until I showed them. He started losing his hearing probably about six months ago. I often wondered if he wondered why no one talked to him anymore. I hope not. I still talked to him even if he couldn’t hear. I’m not an idiot. I know that he was actually a dog. But remember, he was a great dog.

Heather from OK