I am not as much of a recreational reader as I would like to be but your book has touched my heart. I, like yourself, was persuaded (as only a child can do) in June of this year into adopting/rescuing a dog by my 9 year old daughter, Jordan. I am and have always been a dog person. But having two cats and in my early fifties I did not want to have the responsibility of another “child”. I liked my freedom. But along came Baxter who changed my life in ways I had forgotten.

Baxter was a one year old black and tan coonhound. His gentle yet aloof demeanor, human – like facial expressions, and need for love melted my fears and anxieties away, The consistent prodding from my daughter did not help, We adopted him and I thank G-d we did. He was truly a G-d-send.

It was a lot of work in the beginning especially because I have Epstein-Barr / Chronic Fatigue. Baxter forced me to walk, lose weight and to get back into shape. He was an active dog. I, like yourself, work out of my home so Baxter and I spent a lot of time together. We bonded. He became my best bud. Coonhounds are not the most common dogs in the East so Baxter was a hit. Everyone knew Baxter and very quickly touched everyones hearts and souls. At the dog park, which I took him to every day and on weekends usually twice, he was known has Houdini because of his ability to find imperfections in the fencing and escape or Sarge because of his ability to break up a fight with his loud hound bark.

Unfortunately, Baxter had a quirk. He hated trucks. Any type of truck. He would go nuts. No matter how hard I tried he just want to devour them. I was, however, working on calming his desires.

On January 8th, I decided to put him outside because it was a beautiful 65 degree day. He hated being tied up in the backyard and i had not yet decided whether to fence in the yard or put in a “hidden fence”. He did love my SUV though. He found comfort in lying in the back. When I brought Baxter home the SUV became his . I folded down the back seat, put in a large bed and there he stayed during the warm weather. If he was tied in the back he would bark forever (and I mean forever) until I came and brought him in, He loved having company. I would love to have left him loose, as I did with my other dogs, but Baxter loved to run and smell the scents that only an animal can appreciate. I loved listening to the way hounds go on the scent and then bellow to let everyone know they are close. It is primal and yet one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard.

Baxter was a very quick learner. One of the smartest dogs I have ever known. I know, given a little more time , the need for a leash or tying him up would not have been necessary. But, on January 8, 2008, all my hopes and aspirations for him died.

As I said earlier, it was 65 degrees and since he hated the cold he was in the house more than hounds should be. I took advantage of the weather and tied him, as I always did, to the back of my truck leaving the door ajar and the windows open. He loved the truck and his bed. His tether was a 26 foot training leash so he was secure and had plenty of room to roam. I usually backed the truck into my driveway so it would be facing the backyard which, by the way, is big. For some odd reason I decided to turn the truck around so the back was facing the street. I live on a very quiet cul-de-sac.

January 8th was a Tuesday – garbage day. My wife and I were in the house. We heard the truck coming up the street but he only barked once. I thought he was OK. Next thing I knew we heard the garbage truck’s horn blast once. My wife and I looked at each other and we both said “that is not good”. We opened the front door and saw Baxter lying in the street in a pool of blood. The truck had run him over. I have never seen so much blood. Baxter wanted to get to the truck so bad he broke the leash. I don’t know if he chewed it or it split from his determination but there he was my friend, my best friend dying. It must have been only a minute or two from the time we heard the honk to the time I reached Baxter. He was almost gone. I tried to see if he was breathing but it did not look as though he was. I screamed his name and I swear I saw him take two very shallow breathes and then stopped. It was as though he waited for me to get there and then pass on.

I have been crushed. The outpouring of love from neighbors and friends has been unbelievable. Baxter touched everyone.

The day after Baxter died a friend called and told me about your book. Not more than 15 minutes later my next door neighbor rang the doorbell and brought flowers for my daughter and a book. The book was “Rescuing Sprite”. Another neighbor came by that afternoon and also mentioned the book. It must have been Providence.

I have been reading your book almost every night to Jordan who absolutely loves it – and so do I. I cannot start reading to her without a box of tissues nearby.

There is something special about dog lovers. Their patience, warmth, love and caring are beyond the understanding of most mortals.

I thank Jordan for dragging me to the “event” where we found Baxter. I thank Baxter for coming into our lives. I thank you for writing such a fantastic book. I also thank you for helping me to remember there is nothing like the purity of love that only dogs / animals can give.

Bless you and stay healthy.


Justin from NY