An offering of gratitude to all the dogs he has known and loved from the editor of Guideposts.
Posted in , Mar 1, 2018
It’s been a year since the release of my book, Always By My Side: Life Lessons from Millie and All the Dogs I’ve Loved, and this week it’s being released in paperback. I want to thank everyone who’s read the book and passed it on to others, and for all the wonderful responses I’ve received. Those responses have been the best part of the year.
Millie was a magnificent golden retriever whom my wife, Julee, and I lost at the all-too-young age of 8 to hemangiosarcoma, a cancer that cruelly afflicts goldens. Millie was more than special. She was a godsend, on loan from heaven to teach me how to be a better human. Though I started out to write the story of Millie I ended up producing a book about all the dogs in my life and how each one had been given to me for a reason. Ostensibly Always By My Side is a book about dogs but really it is a book about love.
"Thank You all. Every book, magazine, and letter means a lot to us when we are away from home. It gives us hope, confidence, happiness, strength and pride that someone is there for us." - Former Navy Sailor, Part of Operation Gratitude
One of the most memorable book events of the year was being interviewed by Robin Roberts, a two-time Guideposts cover subject, on Good Morning America. I brought our new golden, Gracie, along for the taping. Robin and the show’s producers had asked if she could appear with me. Of course young Gracie stole the show.
When we arrived at the GMA studios Gracie made instant friends with the building’s bomb-sniffing Lab, Haley, running and playing and barking until we had to break it up or we’d be late for the interview. Backstage she must have acquainted herself with two dozen people—especially the hair and make-up folks, one of whom brushed out Gracie’s fly-away ears and got her camera-ready. She really enjoyed the attention and treated everyone as if they were the best person she ever met. And then taping the segment with Robin she was a charming angel, though she burped in Robin’s face twice. Hey, she’s a teenager. They do that.
The most heart-warming response to the book came from Marilyn Nef, a reader who sent me a needlepoint that said, Heaven Is The Place Where Our Dogs Wait For Us. The problem with loving dogs is that we outlive all but the last one. And yet so many of you believe we will be reunited with our pets in heaven. I find incredible comfort in that, the idea that I will see Millie and all my other dogs again. After all, why would God give us these incredible creatures for only such a short time? It was that question as much as anything that inspired me to write Always By My Side.
I love that Beatles song “Paperback Writer.” You know how it goes: “I want to be a paperback writer.” Now I get to be one. You can find Always By My Side in paperback at your favorite retail bookseller.