Thanksgiving Weekend. A time to give thanks to whomever or whatever you believe in for all the good that has come into your life and the life of your loved ones.
Skye (aka Liberty) came into our life almost 8 years ago. In late November 2010 we met Skye at Sue and Scott Currie's home for the first time and yes, it's a cliche, but it was love at first sight. She had recently been released from Hell - an Amish farm in Ohio run by inhumane wannabe humans who call themselves God Fearing - after existing 5 1/2 years in deplorable, disgusting conditions.
Through the efforts of people we can never, ever repay Corrie Yeoman of Westies in Need, Pattie Thames who was so key in her rescue, Susan and Scott Currie who did more than foster - they opened their hearts and home to this Little White Dog whose tail couldn't be found until she had had two or three baths to remove the accumulated fecal matter. She was scared, timid, skinny, unsocialized, abused and FREE. Free from her home of 5 1/2 years - a cage. Free from having never seen the sun, never having touched grass, never having gone up or down a single step, being malnourished, producing litter after litter from the time she was no more than a puppy herself. Free to be loved, cherished, respected, held.
And so it was - Skye entered our home, our lives and so deeply entered our hearts. Without apology I can say she lived in a bubble, could do no wrong. I've tried to explain this several times and will attempt this one last time. I felt it necessary on the most basic of levels to show Skye that not all humans are the same. That we are not all Amish farmers, backyard breeders, people who put dollars ahead of love and caring. The majority of humans are identical to Jan and I - and all those in the rescue "community" are certainly a part of this - and we abhor, loathe and despise those who mistreat the creatures who have put their trust in us to care and look out for them.
Skye, well, Skye was amazing. She looked gorgeous - everything a Westie should be. But inside, she was broken. Extremely timid, no sense of "Westitude", no interest in playing with toys or other dogs, no idea that squirrels were enemies. She took over 2 years to realize a terrier can dig a hole. We applauded. She barked perhaps 3 times in 5 years. In the past couple of years she found her voice and would bark but only when excited to see us or visitors. In the eight years she blessed us, she was never angry - not a single growl, not a single snap - even when caught by surprise. While Dolly Lee was with us, Skye learned it was okay to greet people at the door - not necessary to hide under a bed. Dolly taught her that it was okay to eat at her bowl and not take each piece of kibble to a distant place to eat and then return for another. Small things but significant in the life of Skye.
A month ago Skye needed extensive dental surgery - it turned out that 13 teeth were removed and the dental vet told us the roots of all these teeth looked "moth eaten" - extreme calcium deficiency. Without doubt dating back to her time in the mill. She was on anti-biotics and pain meds but never seemed to get back to normal. We had her checked a week ago and a different vet said her mouth was healing and everything appeared on track to recovery. She then developed a rapid, shallow breathing/panting. We returned yesterday and spoke to the dental vet who urged x-rays - which showed several severe issues. Her heart was greatly enlarged to the point of almost closing her trachea, her lungs were filled with white which indicated infection or pneumonia. We decided to have her stay overnight - on an oxygen feed, intravenous to administer anti-biotics etc. We didn't realize when we said goodbye to her that it was a final goodbye.
At 7:30 this morning we received a call saying that her condition worsened rapidly moments before and she had passed. The vet said in his opinion with 24 years experience, it was a cancerous tumor on her heart.
I know I've gone on at great length. I thank you for having read this far. Please find the time to try and do a couple of things. The first is hold your pet - dog, cat or gerbil - close to you and thank God for having given you such a gift. The second is perhaps not so easy - do what you can to educate those you come in contact with on the horrors of "puppy" mills, backyard breeders and all those of the same mindset.
Give thanks, as Jan and I are, for having a "Skye" in your lives.