It was a hoot.There are times in life when you enter into a commitment and then think, "Uhm....what was I thinking?"That's sorta the conversationI had when I adopted our dog, Skipper, from an animal shelter 10 years ago.** The shelter workers gave him the name "Skipper". Oddly enough I have a brother named Skipper. It was always hilarious when I'd go fetch Skipper from the vet for boarding or check ups. The veterinarian staff would get on the intercom and say, "I need Skipper ____________ (insert last name) from kennel #6." **
Nada.I called the sweet pup Skipper Dee - with "Dee" meaning D as in Dog.Back to the story....Skipper was an adorable 5 y/o mid-sized dog with diseased eyes. He'd been waiting, and waiting, and waiting at the shelter. His owners did not take care of him...and let the shelter take him. No one had come to claim him as a new family pet. So - in 2006 he rode with me in the car to his new home like a little gentleman. I didn't have any kiddos yet, and I knew he'd be great company.Once home, he became a snarling, defensive, "don't touch me" kinda guy.He didn't bite, but boy he sure let folks know that he wanted no part of their petting, attention.
I love animals. I knew it was fear.He was AFRAID because his diseased eyes were DONE. He was in pain and couldn't see much of anything -- IF anything at all. He'd not been loved as he should've been.
I had to have the eyes removed; however, I had one removed -- the worst one....and waited a month before having the other one removed. I took him to a specialist out of state to consult with him to see IF the other eye could be saved.It could not.Surgery #2 - removed other eye.So...I became the owner of a dog with no eyes. I began to arrange his area of the house with obstacles removed, help him acclimate to his surroundings, and give him time, time, time to trust me.I would say it happened quickly, but it didn't.It took years.It took patience.It took prayer.Eventually, he let us "love him up". I did always sorta tell guests to pretty much pet him once and let that be that.Family members could pet him and rub him. Familiars. Not strangers.I'd take him with me to the group home where I work on weekends. I explained to the residents that his eyes had to be removed.After his surgeries, one of the clients with mental challenges exclaimed excitedly, "I think Skipper saw my shadow!!!"I just smiled and replied, "I bet he did!"Another client asked, "Is he wiggly blind?"What she was asking me was, "Is he legally blind?"One of Emily's first gestures of communication -- back when she came home in 2008 -- was that she closed her eyes and walked like a blind person might....with arms out touching chairs, tables, etc. She pointed to Skipper dog.That was her way of telling me she understood that he was blind.Oh my.But today....today....our sweet boy - 15 years of age - went to heaven.He got his sight back!!His health had been failing over the last year - lost 99% of his hearing, kidneys not working right, arthritis in his hips, and several other aspects of his overall well being.As his health declined, we had to attend to him -- pick him up, carry him somewhere, find special places for him to rest. I had to bathe him because he was having issues; however, I was glad to do this for him. I wanted him comfortable and content as possible.It became the norm to care for our fella. It was just part of our day.It wasn't a chore. It was an honor to 'serve' him this way - as an old boy whom I often referred to as "Paw Paw".No snarling.Just thankful appreciation for each loving stroke we gave him.Yesterday --
We patted on him, played soft music (Pachelbel's Canon in D Major), gave him a pain med...but this morning before work, I had to take my good buddy to the vet. Sweet Olivia - longtime vet tech friend - was there to help me.And to help Skipper Dee.Folks have asked me as I was grieving mightily over a previous pet's death, "How can you put yourself through this when you know he's eventually going to die?"My response: "For all the joy he gave me and all the joy we had together.....I'll do it. I'll do it again and again and again."Skipper Dee - I'd do it again for you.
Love you, Good Buddy.