My name is Skyler and I was given a copy of Rescuing Sprite by one of my father’s coworkers because of my dogs passing in November. Your story had touched my heart so deeply and I think finally helped me make piece with loosing my dog.
I had my dog for almost 13 years. He was a blonde golden retriever named Shadow and he was truly my dog. I remember being in kindergarten when my dad took me to see the movie “Homeward Bound the Incredible Journey.” I fell in love with the main dog, which was a golden retriever named Shadow. After the movie was over I remember asking my dad if I could get a dog like Shadow. Not really wanting a dog, my dad said “If you can save up your money to pay for one then you can.” For most little kids, they would find this dream unreachable, especially after finding out that $200 was ball park for a golden retriever, not me. I saved every penny I made: birthday money, Christmas money, allowance, I even tried selling my artwork for pocket change. I was determined to get my dog. A year and a half later, I had my golden retriever puppy, my Shadow.
Shadow couldn’t have been a better dog to our family. He was loyal and friendly to everyone. Anyone that came to the door that was greeted by Shadow became his instant friend. I was so proud to have him and to tell others he was my dog. He was truly part of the family. I think that’s why I took his death so hard. It was unexpected and couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
The last few years of Shadow’s life, he had all the ordinary symptoms of an old dog. He got cataracts in his eyes, but he wasn’t completely blind, he slept and lounged around a lot, and he slowed down and it became clear that his joints and muscles were sometimes achy. None of this stopped him from being sweet and very young at heart. He stilled loved being pet on his stomachs and being brushed. He still managed to perform all his tricks for a treat and I think he loved kisses in his face and head the older he got. He showed no signs that anything serious was wrong.
Thanksgiving Day is when it all happened. My parents were up early as usual starting to prepare the dinner, and I was getting ready to join my boyfriend and his family for lunch. Shadow seemed like himself, laying around and sleeping in. I remember sitting in our living room petting his head before leaving. It wasn’t until after 4 when my boyfriend and I got back. We were walking up to my house when I realized something was wrong. Everyone was standing outside and my brothers and dad were walking up the street. My mom told me that Shadow must have gotten out when they were hauling in tables for our dinner. I went to change my shoes so I could run and find Shadow. I remember thinking it was a little odd that Shadow tried to escape. Since he had gotten older, he wasn’t as determined to try and run out the door, I actually couldn’t even remember the last time he had gotten out. I remember walking outside on my porch and looking up in my neighbors yard. That’s when I saw him. He was lying on his side in the snow. I knew then that he was gone. I started to cry and looked up to see my brother check him and shake his head basically saying he was gone. As I walked back in the house, I noticed my nephew was watching “Homeward Bound the Incredible Journey. I couldn’t around that so I went to my room to cry.
My dad informed me that he didn’t seem to have any broken bones and he just thinks he went off to die. I didn’t know how to take something like that. The next day was even harder. I hadn’t seen Shadow except from a distance in my neighbor’s yard. We had planned on taking him to the humane society to dispose of his body. Shadow was wrapped up in the back of my parent’s jeep. I couldn’t even bring myself to look back. When we arrived at the humane society, they informed us to bring the jeep around back to take him out. We went to the back where to woman walked out pushing a cart with a blanket on it. I immediately knew what was about to happen. Still facing forward in the back seat, my dad opened the hatch in the back where my dog was. He then asked if I wanted to say goodbye. I turned around and saw my Shadow; he looked peaceful with his eyes closed and in a comfortable position. I pet his fur on his back and then on his side, it felt so soft. I sat and cried as I pet him because I remember thinking he was so soft because I had just given him a bath a few days before. I think Shadow liked when I gave him a bath because I would put my bathing suit on and get in with him and talk to him as I scrubbed his fur. I would kiss the top of his head and tell him what a good boy he was being. I then realized this would be the last time I would pet my dog.
I didn’t take Shadow’s death easily at all. He had been a part of my life for almost 13 years. He was a part of my family. I wasn’t until I read your book that I began to feel better about everything. I couldn’t put the book down because every chapter brought me back to my relationship with Shadow. I would find myself smiling as I cried as I read about your memories with your dogs that reminded me so much of my memories with Shadow. I just wanted to say thank you for writhing this book and truly capturing what every pet owner feels about their pet. Reading this really made me believe that Shadow was happy and felt loved during his life. I’m crying now as I write this e-mail not only because I miss Shadow, but also because I’m reminded of what love and joy he brought to so many peoples lives.

Skyler from IA