When you think of your pet, what words come to mind? If your pet could read, what would your letters say?
Authors Edward J. Kaczmarek III and Michael J. La Rue collected the answers to these questions in the form of hundreds of letters, which are published in the book NYC Pet Project (Good Books Publishing, Inc.). The book is a compendium of letters and portraits of New Yorkers – ordinary and famous.
Veteran actor Ben Vereen is one such pet-loving New Yorker. He wrote the following letter to his dog (and "manager"), a Chihuahua named Augie.
Ben has starred in numerous movies and television shows, including Roots; The Jesse Owens Story; New York Undercover and Touched by an Angel, as well as many broadway plays and musicals.
Ben's daughter, Malaika, and her son Ajan wrote a letter to their dog, an akita-mix named Charlie. An excerpt of the letter appears below Augie's letter.
Ben Vereen to Augie
My little Manager who manages my life with such joy! At times when I feel that I can't go on – you jump into my lap reminding me that Life Is Good and I see it in the zeal of your eyes! You're a little dog with a big heart. I've seen other dogs three times your size, but not one with nearly the intelligence you have. You're patient, intelligent, you're loving and you're my friend. So jump into this bag and Let's Get On to the Show!!
Malaika and Ajan Vereen to Charlie
Thank you for coming into my life!! Did I find you or you find me at the shelter in Burbank? You have been my traveling partner, my and Ajan's protector, our friend and companion, my exercise buddy, a friendly face when the world did not seem so friendly, my secret sharer. … I am so glad that Ajan will get the chance to grow up with you around. It is so amazing, the way he looks for you in the mornings and how he always wants to be next to you.
You have added so much love and joy to my life and I can only hope I have done the same for you. We love you Charles Om Vereen.
With all our love,
Malaika and Ajan Vereen
The letters appear within the NYC Pet Project book in the author's actual handwriting.
Good Books Publishing, Inc. has provided some the content from the NYC Pet Project for inclusion in this website. For additional information on Good Books Publishing, Inc. or to order the NYC Pet Project book, go to www.nycpetproject.com or your local bookstore.