Connecting with Skippy

I remember the very day some 38 years ago when my father came in the door of our home carrying an 8 week old puppy. My brother, sister, and I were ecstatic as we were now the proud owners of a beagle. We named him Skipper fondly known as Skippy. From that day forward, Skippy was a member of the family. I have many memories of Skippy, but can only write of a few. Kids spend a lot of time in an imaginary world. Both my brother and I would team up and create Skippy’s “biography.” Not many people know this courageous beagle was the most decorated
dog in the “Dog and Cat Wars” of the 1970s. His heroism and valor led to him becoming a 4 Star General. Because of his stellar wartime experience, Skippy was elected President. That’s right….that is what I said, “President”. When Skippy would enter the room my brother and I would hum “Hail to the Chief” and out of respect refer to him as “Mr. President”. We put our beagle, our Skippy, on a pedestal in our imaginations and that was all a part of our early years with Skippy

I also remember the times I would talk to Skippy and he to me. This began with me saying “ruff” in a short quiet manner. Skippy would respond in kind with a “ruff”.
Then I would belt another longer and louder ruff. Skippy would reply with the same pitch and duration. The barks escalated in volume and in length back and forth. I was talking to Skippy and he to me. I am not sure what was said but I think Skippy was thrilled that he was having a conversation bark to bark, howl to howl. In my home today, recalling this memory, I found my self reliving this story by actually barking like I used to bark with Skippy some 38 years ago. I wonder if Skippy heard me, I wonder if he barked back.

Having heard Mark Levin’s discussions about Sprite and the difficult times all
lovers of pets experience through the loss of these innocent creatures, I thought
I would close by quoting C.S.Lewis. Often our reactions to the suffering
of a loss is to avoid further suffering by withdrawing and seeking a safer life.
Here is what C.S. Lewis wrote:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

Michael from Ohio