Dear Mark,

My story might be long but I know it needs to be told.

I always wanted a dog. I asked my Dad if I could get one and he said it wouldn’t be fair to allow me to get one since he told by sister and brother-in-law, who lived upstairs with their two children, that they couldn’t get one, since they lived in four rooms and wanted a boxer. Seven years later, my sister and brother-in-law bought their home and got a Sheltie.

Two weeks after I got married, my sister took her Sheltie to her Vet, and the Vet asked her if she wanted another Sheltie puppy. She said, “yes” and brought the new puppy to my parents home, to replace me. Skippy became the star of the house. My Dad never went anywhere without Skippy.

In 1979, as my Dad got up from bed, he suffered a stroke. My Mom called 911 and before the EMT would enter the home, they told my Mom that she would have to lock up Skippy. My Mom put her in the basement. After the ambulance removed my Dad from the house, my Mom opened the door to the basement and Skippy ran through the rooms, looking for my Dad. When we came home from the hospital, usually Skippy greeted us at the door. However, this time she didn’t. We looked for her and found her laying in the bedroom, by the side of the bed where my Dad slept.

After 5 months, my Dad was moved to a rehab hospital. We were able to take him outside in a wheelchair. One Sunday, my Mom brought my Dad outside the hospital and my husband and I brought Skippy to see him. My Dad cried and Skippy went wild. Skippy realized that my Dad only had use of his left side, so Skippy stayed on the left side of his wheelchair so that my Dad could pet her.

After a couple of months, we brought my Dad home from the rehab hospital and, needless to say, Skippy was his constant companion.

After three years, my Dad took a turn for the worst and we had to hospitalize him. He never came home. He died 7 hours of his admission to the hospital.

When we came home, after he died, Skippy sensed something was very wrong. She barked at us as if to tell us that she was mad at us for taking him to the hospital. She went into the bedroom that we set up for him when he was discharged from the rehab hospital. She would stay in that room until she needed to go out.

Skippy became attached to my Mom but always returned to the room where my Dad spent his final days.

Eleven months after my Dad death, Skippy took sick. She was bleeding and the Vet said it was her liver. The Vet assured us that she wasn’t in pain, so we brought her home. She went straight to the room my Dad used to be in and laid down. She died there very peacefully.

We were thankful to have her four 14 years. It amazed me to see my Dad, down on the floor with her, after she torn her ear on a thorn on the rose bush in our backyard. She would greet my husband and I every night, when we visited my parents. Even if she was sleeping in the bedroom, she would race to the side door, with her head cocked to the side and her tail wagging slightly. As we neared closer to the side door, the tail wagged rapidly and she would jump and turn in circles until we came through the door.

We buried her in the pet cemetery near our home and visit her several times a year. She gave us all nothing but love and warmth, especially my Dad. I know she missed my Dad. Whenever, my husband would go the the garage and take my Dad’s car, Skippy was there and had to get into the car. She knew her place and that was his car.

They say animals are dumb. That’s not true! We could learn valuable lessons from our pets. They give us invaluable messages in their actions. We still miss Skippy. I buried both my parents with pictures of Skippy. I know how much they loved her. I always joked with them, that I was replaced by a dog. They told me that she brought them just as much happiness that I also brought to them.

Thanks for listening to me. I enjoyed your book and have purchased copies for all my friends. I know they will enjoy it as much as I have.

I enjoy listening to your program. You have enlightened me more than you can ever imagine.

Janet from NJ