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It's been a long time since my last message but I have a good excuse. For the past four years I have been working on my next big project which I will be telling you all about very soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you some thoughts I received from a very dear friend in reaction to reading "I Promise You." I was very touched that she chose to reveal her personal experiences to me and I hope that you will share your stories with me too, whether by email, my blog, or on Facebook. It's from these first-hand experiences that we can all learn important lessons. I know I learn something new every day just living with my complicated, adorable pets.
Tonight I read your book about animals and I wanted to tell you my story. Your book is wise, inspirational, and specific. I thank you for writing it and hope it will receive the attention its theme deserves. I wish I had read it sooner for the benefit of the animals I have taken into my home.
I grew up with animals in the countryside. My grandfather raised ducks, chickens, and sheep. We took care of them but they eventually ended up on the dinner table.
Despite this, my experiences with pets for my kids have been disastrous. And I think it is because deep down I didn't have a love for animals like you do. They were just something that filled a need.
When we moved to Tierra del Fuego, we were living in a large house and the kids wanted a dog. Since I didn't want to be responsible for raising it, a friend gave me a cat, full-grown and litter trained. Within a week, the cat had run away, mad that we had locked it up in the kitchen over the weekend. We had gone to the countryside and when we returned, the cat had knocked all the potted plants to the floor and was furiously waiting for us under the pipes. He scared me and I yelled at him as if he could understand me. I opened the door so he could go out into the garden. The next day sadly he ran away.
Two years later I took a job that kept me away from the kids for several months. To compensate for my absence, I bought them a beagle. I had done a little research, knowing I wanted a dog that wouldn't get too big and wouldn't shed a lot. The part I didn't read was how nervous they were. Within two days, it had eaten all the rugs! The dog never calmed down, running from one room to the other without stopping. At night she whined. We didn't know how to calm her down. We didn't understand what she wanted. We vaccinated her, kept her clean, bought her a bed and proper food. The kids enjoyed playing with her but there was something the matter with the dog. My son was having allergies and the doctor said to keep the dog outside. But in the cold climate where we live, that wasn't possible. I had to find someone to take her but secretly I was relieved to have an excuse to get rid of her because she was driving me crazy. An animal-loving friend who had 3 dogs and 5 cats took her but in a month called me crying because she couldn't calm the dog down. She found a pharmacist who took the dog as a surprise gift for his children but after a week they couldn't put up with her either so she went to another person. After that we lost track. Every time we saw a beagle we would call her name but it was never her.
Finally, as if that wasn't enough, last year when we moved to Buenos Aires the kids once again wanted a pet. Since I felt bad that they had to leave all their friends behind in Tierra del Fuego, I agreed to a kitten. I went to the vet and he sold me a cat that he swore to me was litter trained and that despite how small he looked was old enough to be separated from his mother. Wrong. We got a terrified kitten that trembled (like you mention in your book), that went to the bathroom in the bed, on the couch, everywhere but the litter box. We tried to train him for three weeks until one day we put him in a crate and returned him to the vet.
It was clear we couldn't go on. When I read your book yesteday I identified with it a lot. Your book is very useful and how wonderful that you wrote it. It should be sold in all veterinarian offices and used in schools.