At my father’s insistence, I am writing to you. My father is a staunch republican in Texas and listens to your show regularly. When he learned of the passing of my Black Lab (Zeb), who was 13+ years old, he suggested I read your book and to contact you. So here I am.
Like you, I have been an animal lover all my life with dogs at the top of my list. At one point, I thought I wanted to be a Vet. That ended when I was about 8 years old and saw how they checked for worms! ;-) When I was in my early teens, one of my older sister’s came to visit and brought her black lab along. I absolutely fell in love with that dog and said if ever I had the opportunity, I wanted a lab. This dream came true on Thanksgiving of 1994. While I was living in Minnesota, a friend of mine in Texas told me about a friend who had a litter they were selling. I got my LAB! Truly an event to give thanks for. He went thru many trials and tribulations with me, including a separation and divorce from 1998-2000. After that, he became my confidante, my protector, my companion. In 2004, I remarried and moved to California. My new husband loved him almost as much as I. Last month, February 2008, there was an incident at the house that caused Zeb to require emergency surgery. A dear friend, who happens to be a Vet Tech, helped me so much with after-surgery care. He was with her when he made a “run for it” and that was all his heart could take. This happened on the morning of February 14 – yes, Valentine’s day. Her mother is an amazing writer and copyrighted this poem for me and I would like to share it. It reminds me so much of a church song our Lutheran church would sing for Baptisms, “Borning Cry.”
I have also attached a picture.
Thanks for reading.

Sandy from CA

I first held him when he was a baby,
And within my arms he cuddled so close;
His brown eyes just seemed to attach to mine,
As he nuzzled my neck with his sweet nose.
Too soon he outgrew the ability
To be held in arms, so close to my chest;
But as he grew, he made sure I still knew
That as close friends go, he would be my best!
There were seasons when he would romp along,
Eager to go faster as we would walk;
And he seemed to just really understand,
As from deep in my soul, with him I’d talk.
He brought me out of depths of depression,
As I struggled to survive my divorce;
In fact, with all of my negative moods,
Zeb was a relentless, reckoning force!
He knew how to make me smile, and then laugh,
His love was just so unconditional;
Like almost all dogs I can hear you say,
But he truly was non-traditional.
Zeb knew me better than most anyone,
When I needed him close, or needed space;
And the joy he seemed to derive from me,
Spread throughout his whole body from his face.
Both years and Life changes have come and gone
Since I first snuggled and kissed him “Hello,”
But the depth of his love and of his worth
Lives on in the deepest part of my soul.
You sighed, my dear Zeb, and took your last breath
In 2008 on Valentines Day.
I think you knew – it would be so like you –
That each year, for me that can now be Your Day!
Claudette Good-O’Neill, © 2008