It was August 2002 and we were just a month removed from putting down our 5 year old Sheltie, Callie. She had contracted a radical form of Lymphoma and we were devastated by the loss. I’ve never cried so hard in my life.

We had no immediate interest in acquiring another dog, but something kept drawing me to the Sheltie rescue web sites. A local rescue had acquired a male Sheltie who had been abandoned. For whatever reason we immediately expressed interest and went to see him. He was about 6 ½ years old and had been shaved – he looked pathetic. Despite that, we fell in love with him and eventually adopted him. We called him Dusty.

Even with some medical issues and an unknown past (we think he was abused), Dusty quickly became a beloved member of our family. His desire for affection and display of unconditional love were always evident. He wanted to be held like a lap dog even though he weighed 30 pounds. We sometimes felt sorry for him because he didn’t know how to play like other dogs. He seemed, however, content curled up in a corner or on someone’s lap.

Over the past couple of years, Dusty’s age started to catch up with him – he didn’t want to run around as much and his hearing and sight waned. We knew that we would have to say goodbye to another loved one sooner rather than later.

In June, 2010 I was packing my car to begin the relocation process from Florida to Texas. On a pass through the house, I noticed that Dusty was on the back patio performing what I thought was his ritual back scratching. When I came back through the living room, he was on his side twitching – something wasn’t right. I figured that Dusty had suffered some sort of seizure, losing control of his bodily functions.

I hosed him off, scooped him up and rushed him to the vet’s office where they confirmed my suspicions. When I looked in his eyes, he had a glazed over look, as if he didn’t know me. As hard as it was, I knew it was time.

My wife and I cried over losing our Dusty “Boy” but we knew that he had well cared for that he was no longer in pain. Will we get another dog, even after losing two? Absolutely! It’s just going to take a little longer this time.

Rescuing Sprite provided a form of healing for me. As I read through the book, especially Chapters 9 – 11, I found myself putting the text down in order to wipe my eyes. It hit really close to home. Thank you Mark for sharing your experience with us.

— Steve from Plano, TX