There were so many mornings when he could literally make me smile before I even opened my eyes! All he had to do was cuddle up next to me and press his sweet face against mine! His touch and smell would instantly melt my heart! I am married to a handsome, sweet and wonderful man, yet he is not the one I am talking about. I am talking about the nine-pound Yorkie, Skip we rescued just over three years ago. We came across him on the Internet.
The woman at the rescue organization explained to us that he had been rescued from a home where nearly 40 other dogs were living. She said that he and a little Maltese were the only small dogs in the home. She believed that he had never had a bed to sleep on and that his meals had consisted only of random table scraps. His previous owners called him Scatter, although he did not answer to that name. She sent us a picture of this poor little guy over e-mail and we fell in love.
Several days later, we got into the car with our spitfire of a Yorkie, Chevy and headed off to pick up our new boy! We wondered how Chevy; the queen of the house would adjust to having a new friend around. My husband is a huge fan of the University of Oklahoma, so we had decided we would name this new dog Boomer. However, upon meeting him we immediately knew that Boomer was not a fitting name for this dog. He was friendly, but also timid and shy and very skittish. We understood why he might have been called Scatter at one time. We would have to reconsider a new name for this boy.

He willingly settled into the car with us, right on my lap to head to his new home. Chevy was very curious, but didn’t seem too upset by this new addition. Fairly soon into our return home, we decided that Skip would be a perfect name for this very loveable dog. We had both watched the movie My Dog Skip and felt like that was a very fitting name for him. When we arrived home, Skip curled up comfortably on the blue fleece blanket we had purchased just for him.He placed the little stuffed doggie that we had chosen for him right underneath his little chin. He didn’t seem scared, but I couldn’t help but feel there was sadness in his eyes.

We noticed early on that he was much calmer than our female Yorkie and hardly barked at all. He wasn’t interested in toys and as a matter of fact, we realized later that he really didn’t seem to even understand how to play with a toy or a ball. We learned quickly that loud noises and sudden movements were very frightening to Skip. I remember one evening when he was sitting on my lap and my wedding ring clinked against the glass I was drinking from. Skip bolted from my lap and out of the room as quickly as he could. We noticed other things too, like the way he would cower when we laid a clothes hanger on the bed next to him. It took him a long time to realize that there was nothing to fear each evening when my husband took of his belt at the end of the day. We wondered disgustedly what had happened in his past to make him so fearful. It was awful to see the fear that was so often there in the eyes of this sweet little dog.

His favorite thing was sleeping and he seemed very content if he could do that right beside me or my husband. It also didn’t take us long to realize how much he loved our bed! There were many mornings he would stay curled up in bed until 11:00 when I would have to make him get up and go outside to potty! It almost broke my heart to disturb him. We always said he looked like a lion when he had been sleeping in bed so long and his fur became a wild mane! We knew he was so happy.
One of the most endearing things about Skip was the way that his tongue would hang out of his mouth. Upon his first visit to the vet, it was discovered that Skip’s teeth were literally rotting out from lack of nutrition. The veterinarian immediately began cleaning his teeth and unbelievably every single tooth in his little mouth fell out! The doctor explained that plaque was practically the only thing holding his little teeth in. We thought the tongue thing would only be temporary, but it turned out that his little tongue hung out the side of his mouth from then on!

Everyone who met Skip fell in love with him instantly. He would melt into anyone’s arms and become their best friend. That little tongue gave him so much personality. Because he was such a lap dog, he always had the sweetest smell. He was never outside long enough to get that dirty little dog smell!
My husband and I both had loved many dogs throughout our childhoods and of course we adored our little Chevy, but there was always something so special about Skip. My husband said it best when he explained, “Skip is like that little special needs child that everyone just can’t help but fall in love with”. It was true….even if you weren’t a “dog person” you loved Skip.

I felt compelled to write about Skip because he is no longer here with us and I can’t stand the thought of anyone not knowing about him. The people who never met Skip have missed out on having the opportunity to love and enjoy him. I learned from Skip that a broken heart can be healed and that even when you have been kicked to the ground there is still always hope. He came into our home with a broken down spirit, but soon learned what it was to be loved. His spirit mended and we think his last years were very happy ones!

Skip came into our lives and made them so much richer and more enjoyable. Even Chevy learned to make room for him! On October 1, 2007, three days after moving into our new home, our neighbor’s dog attacked Skip and he did not survive his injuries. Losing Skip was the most devastating event that had taken place in our marriage. We fell apart as we rushed Skip to the vet that evening. I think we both knew that he would not be returning home with us. It had all happened so quickly right before our eyes. As I held Skip in my arms I could feel that he was struggling with each breath he took.
The veterinarian quietly explained that with all of Skip’s extensive injuries, his prognosis was not good but that he would do everything he could. As we left his office, Skip had settled peacefully into a little Plexiglas box that the doctor was filling with gas so that he could perform surgery. He looked comfortable and relaxed as he closed his little eyes for what would be the last time. I placed my hands on the outside of that little box and then quietly walked out of the room with tears streaming down my face.

The vet called a few hours later to tell us that our Skipper had crossed that rainbow bridge. He was just too badly injured to survive. It was quite some time before we felt that life might go on without Skip. However, it was our Skipper afterall who taught up about being resilient and bouncing back even after some of life’s most cruel punches. I am still sleeping with Skip’s little red sweatshirt that he liked to wear in the wintertime. I know one of these days we will fold it up and put it away, but for now, it’s fine where it is.
Chevy has returned to ruling the roost once again, and we are looking forward to the day when we can honor Skip by adopting another doggie who has been tattered and torn and is looking for a place to call home. Since losing Skip, I have often been comforted by the following words to Garth Brooks’ wonderful song, “The Dance”. “And now, I’m glad I didn’t know the way it all would end, the way it all would go. Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.” I can’t imagine having missed out on the opportunity to know and love Skip. He will always be a part of us! As we say each night at the end of my son’s favorite book, Goodnight Moon, “Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight Skipper everywhere!”

Anne from MO