Sunday, January 02, 2011

Skye; A Great Dog

After the death of the much missed Scamp, the first pet I ever had (A lovely black and white collie mongrel with a fantastic loving nature with the bushiest tail known to dogkind who had died of old age) Mum and Dad said they'd never get another dog.  However, eventually they succumbed and went looking around a variety of Dog Rescue centres looking for a new one.  At first they found a dog called Ben, a fine looking red collie, but mental problems meant he eventually had to be put down as he had a vicious nature and couldn't be rehomed, despite Mum and Dad trying everything they could to reform him.

I went with Mum and Dad to one of the rescue centres where after seeing a few others, we met a lovely little dog.  She was another mongrel collie, nervy, skinny and timid who had been found on the side of a Welsh motorway eating roadkill, and it was believed she'd been living wild for some time.  We took to her straight away, especially after seeing her reaction to a cat who lived on site at the Rescue Centre.  The two of them approached each other, touched noses, and casually ignored each other from them on.

She was an odd girl; She never quite got over her nervousness and her unusual fear of children on bicycles.  However, cats never really bothered her - her blasé attitude to our three felines was testament to that.  She ate every meal as though it were her last, and was a fine flyball dog with the Coventry Scallywags team for a good few years until she just got bored of it.  Her favourite hobby seemed to be rounding up the sofa by running around it several hundred times, especially if a walk was impending.

When Mum and Dad got Bracken, another collie, a few years later, he became her guardian and protector.  Bracken is a brave soul unafraid of anything (which has caused him a bit of trouble over the years; woe betide any dog of any size who dares make and sustain eye contact with him) and would often act as an advance scout for Mum or Dad when they were on walks.  If Bracken saw anybody on the path ahead, he'd run back and warn them that Skye had to be put on her lead to stop her barking at them.  If it was too late for that, he'd stand inbetween Skye and the stranger, which somehow stopped her overreacting and barking.

Skye was definitely Mums dog, and Bracken Dads.  She was never a lap dog, but on rare occasion would demand attention.  Most of the time she was content to lie beside the sofa or in a darkened spot out of the way.  She always slept in a dog bed in the same room as Mum and Dad, and had the unusual habit of letting out a huge sigh when she was about to drop off to sleep, as though the weight of the world rested upon her doggy shoulders.

In recent years as she's been approaching her mid-teens, she's been slowing down.  She's not as keen as going on walks anymore, and the stairs are an annoying hurdle in her navigation around the house.  She's just as keen to jump into her favourite spot in the back of Dads car, but isn't quite as capable of getting down anymore.  However, she still has her vast appetite, and is still a lovely friendly dog with huge sad brown eyes and gorgeous streaks of white and grey dotting her thick black fur.

Something typical of her eccentricity; Last year before we went home from scattering Mums ashes at North Hill, we went back to the site just to say goodbye.  Skye went missing, and the area is such a maze of bracken and bushes that after an hour or so we were beginning to panic.  If ever she is lost or trapped, she never yelps or barks - just waits to be found.  After searching for her in vain we were beginning to think that the only option would be to leave her - there was no way of finding her.  However, we'd told some ramblers who had been walking past to keep their eye out for her.  Just as we were about to abandon the search we heard a whistle from up ahead and it was the pair of ramblers who'd seen Skye.  She emerged walking towards us like nothing had happened without a care in the world - she'd just decided to do the normal route that Mum and Dad would have done at North Hill, albeit on her own, and was probably wondering why we weren't following her.

In recent times she's been suffering from bladder problems which have been growing increasingly worse in the past couple of months.  Dad has tried every medication under the sun to no avail - even taking the desperate measure of trying something that he knew could potentially make her arthritis much, much worse - but still with no effect.  Her quality of life is suffering greatly, which added to the fact that her eyesight is fading doesn't help.

To this end, Dad is left with no alternative but to have her put down.  She's booked in for next Tuesday because there aren't any options left - she's suffering greatly and it must have been an impossible decision for Dad, but it's one that we both agree with.

At the end of the day, this blog post is just to celebrate the life of a great dog.  An odd, eccentric and scavenging dog who never really suited not living off her wits in the great outdoors, but a great dog and companion nonetheless.  It'll be a sad day when she's gone, but it's sadly necessary and Dad is definitely doing the right thing.

Bless you, Skye.  You were an ace dog and a great friend, and the lives of Dad, Bracken, Tara and myself will be that little bit less odd without you.

UPDATE: It's Tuesday the 4th at 13:50.  Skye passed away peacefully and quickly, with no pain.  Dad is collecting her ashes so we can scatter her with Mums on our next visit to Somerset.  She's be sorely missed, but I take solace in fact that for a little kind dog with a bad start she's had a good life, more than many dogs get.  Lots of meals, walks, fusses and rides in the car.  And as Tara pointed out, she was excellent at rounding up sofas.

1 comment:

  1. Best wishes to all of you. I still remember good old Scamp.


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