Mark I enjoy your show very much. You and Rush, and sometime Sean get my blood pumping. I do have to say that you and Rush are my favorites to listen to.
I just wanted to let you know my episode with having to put my dog, Andy down this week. I read your book, and there is a story there also. My wife knew I wanted your book, so the first day it was available she went to work and ordered it for me from Amazon. She emailed me to tell me, I replied that is great, we will now have 2 copies because I already did the same thing.

Well it came and I read it in an afternoon. I found it very hard, since I had a 17 year old dog who was always at my side, and I knew it was inevitable that our day was coming. He has been relatively healthy considering his age and having Kidney problems for the last 2 or 3 years. But Wednesday morning everything seemed normal, my wife and I went to work as usual. I left work at 5 and was going to stop to buy my wife a valentines day card, when I got a call. It was my wife and she asked where I was and could I get home as soon as possible. I did to find my dog, Andy laying in the kitchen in his own urine and wimpering. I took him to the family room to see if I could get him to stand, but he could not. We called our Vet and told them we needed to come in immediately. We did and they told us we could run tests and get Xrays, but we knew the long and short of it. He had reached the end, his body had given out. The doctor told us we did the right thing. But I harken back to the book and think about yourspiel about playing God, having to make a decision like that, and I just don’t know.

I have had bouts with extreme sadness of never seeing my good friend again, but I am trying to just keep going.
Just wanted to let you know I love what you stand for, and the way Sprite affected you, and I am waiting for these terrible feelings of missing my friend to go away.
Good luck with you coming to terms with Sprites demise and I will see what happens to me.

Tony from NJ

2 Responses

  1. Fred Shuman Says:

    Somehow, the loss a few days ago of a true American great, WFB, Jr., has me thinking once more about the loss of Thor.

    I’m not a dog person. If anything, I’m a cat person. But some dogs just melt your heart, even if they’re a little feisty.

    I have a good friend, Sue, who had a 9-yr-old dog when I met her 11 years ago, a mostly-Pomeranian — you know, one of those little, yappy breeds. (I kid, but it’s true!) She inherited his name, Thor (HE obviously thought HE was in charge!), along with him, when he was a year-old pup in Jan 1989. She was rescuing him from a home situation that had become untenable; she doesn’t know whether he was being abused, but he surely would have been had he stayed there.

    Sue, who lives in your county, loves to hike, and so did Thor, and the three of us went for many a wonderful jaunt in the Virginia mountains around the Shenandoah and the Blue Ridge. You could just see the compersion in her face, her delight at Thor’s happiness during those outings. And by the time he was getting old and creaky, he was almost as much a part of me as he was of her.

    When I met her, she was living with her brother and his dog, Tucker, an Australian Shepherd, and for a little while, they had some neighbors who were dog owners of the worst kind. They had several Dobermans that they kept cooped up in a small enclosure in their yard, and the owners kept them worked up. One time, they got free, bolted into Sue’s yard, and started to attack her brother’s dog. Thor rushed out to defend his pal, and Sue and her brother went out and were able to rescue them both. Luckily (but sadly for the Dobermans, who had to be put down), the neighbors were taken to court and forced to give up their dogs.

    When it came time for Sue and Thor (now going on 17!) to make their annual Thanksgiving trip to her parents’ home in upstate NY in 2004, she already knew what she had to do. But she wanted her parents and Thor to be able to see one another one more time, so she arranged with a vet up there to do the final deed.

    After a nice Thanksgiving dinner, on the appointed morning, when she awoke with Thor next to her, she found he was no longer with us.

    Now, Sue doesn’t make a lot of money; she is self-employed as a house cleaner, so she was even relieved of the expense of that last vet bill. And she was comforted that he died in familiar surroundings, with family around him, peacefully, in sleep. All she has are fond memories of Thor, and I have a few, too. And less than a year later she did get another dog (all of us, her friends, knew she would). So I wrote her a poem, which follows. And when your book came out, I went out and bought one, because I wanted to check it out, and then went back and bought two more, one for Sue, and one for my sister, who had a marvelous female golden retriever who was in her twilight years, and who has since passed away as well. Sis will read the book when she’s ready (she’s a horse person, too!).

    So your book is spreading comfort even as your sometimes fiery words are spreading truth. I like to think of it as an entire support group between two small covers. Here’s that poem:

    I Am Thor

    He runs free
    Free of collar and leash, so little,
    Free to trot and piddle
    when the grass might need a mark
    Where now he runs so free

    I am Thor
    I was top dog in this, my house
    Meet my girl-servant –
    no dog ever had a better one.
    She rescued me from my early tormentors
    and those later aggressors
    when she saved my skin while putting her own into the fray.
    She fed and cuddled me every day
    and then I’d have my way
    with her jacket
    or blanket
    “Is that your girlfriend?” “Grrrrrr-
    RUF!” – such fun!

    He runs free
    Free of all disease
    Free of ticks and the fleas
    that once so cruelly tortured him,
    ’til she was in tears,
    and he could hardly bark
    Where now he runs so free

    I am Thor
    I always loved those outings
    I never would know where
    Until we got there –
    Hop up into the motion-machine,
    watch the world change ’round me.
    Then it stopped, and another spree
    on wonderful new ground to explore
    Or an old familiar green.

    He runs free
    Free of lameness and pain’s bright tears,
    Free of the demons that robbed his ears
    and made his sight go dark,
    Where now he runs so free

    And I am Thor
    Now I have the fields, the lakes, the beaches, the trails
    of all my memories in which to play
    Thanks to her, I have more than any dog can dream

    He runs free
    Free to roam and sniff
    Free to splash and swim if
    he needs to be thrown into the pond
    And he commands the park
    Where now he runs so free

    And those memories ever fonder, ever richer seem
    with every passing day

    For I was Thor.

    And I run free.

    (c) 2004 Fred Shuman, used by permission

    Fred from Laurel, Md

  2. Jane Says:

    Several years ago, we decided to adopt a dog. Tess is a shepherd/husky (with a dash of labbie) mix – a smart, tough, loyal gal with a better working vocabulary, more acute intuition and a strength of will than you often see in a Demo- I mean, dog.
    And then there’s Tyber. Two years ago, we decided to take in another dog, and the conventional wisdom was to pair our lively gal with a docile male. I always say that I must have walked into the shelter with “Chump” stamped on my forehead, because they brought out the most sorry 70 pounds of dog flesh I’d ever seen. Tyber, a shepherd/rottweiler mix was “10 or so” years old, never had a home, was shedding profusely, had a raw underbelly which was the result of a recently-diagnosed allergy to beef, had arthritis, hip dysplasia and muscle atrophy which meant that he couldn’t sit, had eyes clouded with early cataracts, a pendulous cyst hanging off a rear leg, and had a lethargic hopelessness, as if he had given up expecting anything like family. Other than that, there wasn’t all that much wrong with him, so we brought him home. It was and is a challenge to address his diet, training and physical limitations, but worth it. The dear boy is sitting beside his “sister” right now, looking up at me with “Are there any cookies?” in his eyes.
    Loved Rescuing Sprite – it was a very touching testament to the unconditional love of dog.