NYC Pet Project: From Shephathia to Charlie the Ferret

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.

The following is a letter from Shephathiah to her ferret, Charlie. Charlie was named after Shephathiah's grandfather, who owned ferrets in England. During World War II, food was often scarce, and Charlie took his ferrets hunting to bring sustenance back to the village. The ferrets were fierce and clever – they flushed game out of bushes, helping the village in its time of need.

Like her grandfather's ferrets, Charlie was always there to help in times of need.

Shephathiah and her mother Nanette also own a Maltese named Jack and Maximus, a beta fighting fish. But it's Charlie who stole her heart.

Sorry Jack, but Charlie is Number One! Yes, you are sweet and cute, but it is Charlie who will always have my heart. My little contraband ferret. What did you ever do that made you illegal? You have brought nothing but joy to my life. You were there through my horrible college classes, putting a smile on my face when no one else could. Can you ever forgive me for bringing home the fluffy white horror that is my little Maltese dog? Oh, that he is the bane of your existence. Pulling you from a restful sleep by the tip of your ear. Forcing you to come and play whether you like it or not. But reader, beware, do not be fooled by our heroine. She is not as helpless as you might think. For at the end of every play fight she is always the victor. Yes, Jack, you are the star … but it is Charlie who is my perfect pet.


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 or your local bookstore.