Decoding Dog’s E-Mails Reveals Fascinating Truth About Retriever’s Life

Susan Lustig with author Shilo.

Susan Lustig with author Shilo.

Even the cleverest dog couldn’t figure out how to buck the Internet’s reliability as a source for translation programs – otherwise, Susan Lustig may never have been able to decipher the mysterious folder she discovered while reorganizing the files in her computer. The folder contained nearly two years’ worth of emails written by her rescued Golden Retriever, Shilo, to Max, her sister’s Bichon Frise.
Once she got over the shock of reading Shilo’s take on everything from cats to Christmas tree etiquette (“I’m a normal male dog, and we both know the true purpose of a tree. This is too much,” Shilo wrote), Lustig found photographs to illustrate Shilo’s chronicle and created the book E-mails from Shilo, now available at, Amazon or at your favorite bookstore.
“It was so bizarre to find this weird file and not be able to read it,” Lustig said. “But Shilo’s strange behavior when I found it, his constant efforts to distract me, made me suspicious enough to search the net for a doggie translation program.”
Once she found a way to decode the file, Lustig was struck by Shilo’s deep-seated issues from being given up for adoption to his odd curiosity about the human race.
“Apparently, Sammy, the Bassett Hound next door, was Shilo’s mentor and a very well-regarded authority on the early history of dogs, and the folklore of ancient wolves,” said Lustig. “Shilo’s relationship with Sammy was clearly a very special part of his world, and was extremely influential in Shilo’s inner growth.
Lustig, a life-long animal lover who worked as a creative producer for major theme park companies, now focuses on writing, graphic and web design at Acme Digital Design. Lustig and her husband, Bob Dahl, a producer for themed entertainment and special events, live in Los Angeles with the extraordinary Shilo.


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