Hi Mark, I’ve never written to the author of a book I have read, but I feel compelled to write to you. Although I haven’t finished “Rescuing Sprite”, I have just finished the sad chapter about putting down Sprite. To say I cried buckets is an understatement. Victoria, Australia is currently in the throes of a mean drought and I think my tears would have filled the dams several times over. The reason I write is I too will one day have to make the same hard decision as you and Kendall did. My husband Michael and I are proudly owned by a purebred tri-coloured Australian Cattle Dog called Digger and a beautiful sheltie/red heeler cross (an exotic breed, we say) called Lucy. Digger is nearing his 18th birthday this year. Yep – 18, we are truly blessed to have him in our lives for this long. We are hoping he achieves this. He is slowly going blind and is deaf (or has selective hearing), however it doesn’t stop him getting up to mischief. He has had several tumours removed and as a consequence of one of these tumours had a toe removed from his front left paw, which has left him with a limp. He has arthritis but can still bound around when he has the energy. We treat Digger’s arthritis with medication, physiotherapy and acupuncture, which he thoroughly enjoys. We call him our ‘metro sexual dog’ because he is a sucker for a massage, a warm bath and a blow wave… I have had Digger since he was 8 weeks old. Lucy will be 12 this year and is yet to show any health problems. I have also had her since she was 8 weeks old. She is very tactile and thinks she is a lap dog – a bit heavy but she tries to get up on your lap. She loves to walk and occasionally will fight Digger for his Aussie Rules football. We laugh at the way they carry on. But they are best friends. Unfortunately, due to Digger’s arthritis he no longer has his cherished walk, so we keep him occupied with gentle footy in the backyard (although someone forgot to tell Digger that we are being gentle. He is a fan of the body slam.) Digger knows that if we don’t give into his requests for treats, he goes to Lucy who uses her big brown eyes and tail waggle to melt our hearts. I don’t think we have refused her yet. I put Digger’s longevity and Lucy’s good health to being active and feeding them home cooked meals – they seldom eat canned dog food. Each week I prepare a huge pot of rice or pasta with some sort of meat (chicken/beef/lamb/kangaroo mince), veggies, garlic and a little olive oil. They love it. They also get plenty of bones and hard biscuits. We also include homeopathic supplements like flaxseed oil with omega 3 and 6, fish oil, mussel and shark cartilage powder. They are very well looked after and much loved. Digger and Lucy were there for me when I went through my marriage breakdown and instinctively knew how sad I was and made me get out and walk them. They knew I had to keep moving to get over my sadness. How right they were. They also played a big part in “choosing” my new husband Michael. If Digger didn’t like him then there was no possibility. Digger and Michael hit it off immediately and Lucy is absolutely besotted with Michael. We have a very happy family. Anyway, thank you for sharing your life and the lives of Sprite and Pepsi. I hope and pray Digger’s time is some way off, but I am also conscious that I may have to make that very difficult decision one day too. I only hope that the good Lord takes him while he is sleeping. I have always thought of writing a book for children about my dogs – I have some ideas on paper. You have inspired me. I can’t help but think of the song by Cat Stevens – “I love my dog”. I know they love Michael and me too. PS. I wanted to send a picture of Digger, wearing his bandana. He likes to dress up. It was only taken 3 weeks ago. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, your site keeps telling me the file type is not allowed, even though it is a jpg. Lucy unfortunately is like Greta Garbo – she just wants to be left alone and hides every time the camera comes out.

Natalia from Australia