“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less.” Marie Curie (1867-1934)

sky n football

10 years ago, I was so terrified of dogs that I rarely visited friends who had them. Then this little one came home. Skylar weighed less than a pound. She’d been taken from her mother too soon so I had to feed her with a dropper around the clock. We had high hopes that she would be a companion for our children who begged us to get her. Within a few weeks, however, she became my sole responsibility.

Having never owned a dog, I didn’t relish the task. My ignorance was boundless but she was patient with me. The first time I took her for a walk, I put an old cat leash around her neck and almost strangled her. When I dropped a sock out of the laundry basket and she brought it back to me, I thought she had super powers. “Look what my puppy did!” I bragged on Facebook. “It’s called fetch,” my friends replied. Apparently every dog could do it.

Skylar watched my hair turn from brown to gray. She transformed from a rascal who chewed up shoes into an obedient pup who thought sunflower sprouts were a treat. She was there through high school then college graduations, followed us into three, different homes in three, different states and hovered at my side through two, major surgeries. She made me laugh over little things like the face she always made when I brushed her teeth. When I played the piano, she howled along as if we were in it together and we were. At night, if I tossed and turned then sighed, astonishingly, she did the same. Yes, she barked at most everything from falling leaves to FedEx trucks. However, after she alerted me to a midnight prowler, I came to respect her every growl.

I often marvel how I ever managed to live so long before finding such a grand companion. Few humans are as unabashed in both their affections and distresses. Skylar was ALL IN for everything and everyone was a potential friend. For several thousand days, I have held her close against my heart and then, last week, as she took her final breath. The house is pin drop quiet now. Our long running conversation has ended but I will never forget how wonderful it was to have.





20 thoughts on “ALL IN

  1. Lovely piece. I’ve always been a “dog” person. Read a quote that said, “Anyone who thinks diamonds are a girl’s best friend has never owned a dog”. Never a truer statement.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Helen, for sharing. Amazing how loving another being can grow our heart, … and widen our circle of care. Even when they’re not with us anymore, … they remain in our bigger heart, .. eh? Sending a big hug from Topanga. xx, Peter

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Helen, I am deeply saddened to learn of Skylar’s passing. She was so full of life when I met her, I thought she’d live forever. No doubt you miss her terribly, we try to focus on the joyous memories of our departed companions.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You have my sympathy, Helen. Dogs are so undyingly loyal and affectionate. But you have to commit your time and love too. Hope you can fill that empty gap. Beautiful animal, whom you cared for deeply.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So sorry for your loss. In the last 4 years I’ve lost two little 4-legged companions and it leaves you with a great big “empty”, I had to fill that void so I went to the Humane Soc. and rescued a cute little one eyed dog.

    Liked by 1 person

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