I just finished reading Rescuing Sprite. It was difficult for me as I just lost my beloved German Shepard mix, Harley, on September 6, 2007. Harley had just turned 13 years old and we had him since he was a puppy. His story resembled Sprite’s in so many ways.

Out of the blue, Harley had two massive seizures. These seizures left him weak, but he was still able to walk at first. We took Harley to a neurologist and had an MRI. The doctor discovered that Harley had a brain tumor located very close to his central nervous system and spine. Due to the location of the tumor and Harley’s age, the doctor didn’t think that Harley would survive surgery to remove the tumor. At first, I tried to stay positive and was probably in denial thinking that we would get through this. Over a six- day period, Harley went down hill fast. When he got to the point that he could not walk and his poor little legs would buckle under as we tried to carry him outside to do his business, I knew in my heart it was time to say goodbye. We put our beloved Harley to sleep while we held him in our arms whispering how much we loved him and stayed with him until he took his last breath.

I too was faced with wondering over and over again if I made the right decision. I kept thinking that maybe we missed some medication or some type of therapy even though the vet told me there was nothing more we could do for Harley. I struggled with knowing that I made the decision that ended my Harley’s life. Of course everyone said it was the most compassionate thing to do, but it was the hardest thing I have ever had to face. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of Harley. I miss him terribly.

On the brighter side – back in the spring of 2007, we adopted a puppy from a local rescue. His name was already Charley and we decided to keep the name, as it seemed to suit him. Charley is a yellow lab/chow mix and amazingly looks a lot like Mark’s Sprite, but strangely reminds me of Harley with his mannerisms. We have another yellow lab mix named Diego who is almost 5 years old. Diego and Charley are the best of buds.

Something my vet wrote to me in a card when Harley passed away has helped me through this trying time:

Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love.
They depart to teach us about loss.
A new dog never replaces an old dog,
It merely expands the heart.
If you have loved many dogs,
your heart is very big.
By E. Joy

In closing, I want to thank Mark for writing about Sprite. The story really touched my heart and comforted me. It warms my heart to know there are people out there like Mark who cares so deeply about his four-legged best friends.

Jamie from FL