Dear Mark,

Thank you so much for writing your book and sharing your heartfelt feelings and experiences with your dogs Sprite and Pepsi. I recently had to put our family pet down on December 6, 2007. He was a beautiful black pug. I had other dogs in the past but I was busy raising my small children so I never got attached to a dog as much as I did with Sammy. He was my baby and we had a very special bond. He would come with us to our daughters softball tournaments and loved to go for rides in the car. He would lay on my lap and I would bring his food and water and wrap him in a blanket when it was cold outside. He was the teams mascot. He loved to cuddle and would sometimes lay across my neck or at bedtime he would find a spot behind my knees. I would carry him to bed like a baby and tuck him in between my husband and I. He would lay there just like a human with the blanket on and we would just laugh in amazement at this dog! I always knew what Sammy needed – he would bark to get my attention and show me what he needed like a lost toy, or more food! We had a family portrait taken this past May in our backyard for my sons 8th grade graduation and Sammy jumped right in. I look at that picture every day sitting on our mantle.

Sammy was only 2 years old and started developing kidney stones. Before Thanksgiving we had the stones removed because he was having problems going to the bathroom. The vet told me his liver enzymes were high and that it was due to a shunt which did not close when he was born – very common. So all the food he was eatting was not being filtered through his liver which was causing the stones. The week after Thanksgiving I took Sammy to have the shunt closed. We brought him home the day after his surgery and he had a major seizure. We brought him back to the animal hospital where they tried to get his seizures under control. Another problem arose, he aspirated while under anastesia and developed bronchial phnemonia and was placed on a ventilator. We did everything we could for the poor fellow but when the vet took him off the ventilator he started having seizures again and we could do nothing more to help him. I did not want to put this dog down – he was only 2 years old and we thought we would have him until the kids were grown up and in college. It wasn’t fair that he was taken from us so soon. My kids and I prayed to St. Francis, St. Jude, St. Mary etc. in hopes that a miracle would happen but it wasn’t God’s will. When I was mourning that week, a friend sent me a story about a little boy and his cow that he raised and it died giving birth to her baby. The little boy said that God gave his son for us and that God loved his son too. That helped me put things in perspective.

My husband and daughter brought home a cute little Shitzu the same day Sammy died. I wasn’t ready for the new dog either because I wasn’t done mourning over Sammy. The Shitzu is very cute and I have bonded with him now. His name is Sushi and looks like a little stuffed toy animal. We will never forget Sammy and I have Sammy’s ashes in our trophy case in the basement along with your book and his favorite toys. Shitzu’s are suppose to last a long time. I have a friend who’s Shitzu is 15 years old! Lets hope Sushi lasts that long!

Thanks again for writing your book!

Jackie from IL