Our Faithful Friend Skippy
By Robin Ulbredtch
Unusual silence and emptiness filled our home in the few months after our youngest son moved out of our home and went to spend some time with his father, before heading to Arizona for college. This was only a short time after his older brother had gone to college, and we were trying to adjust to an empty nest. My husband, Steve, and I missed the companionship of the boys.
My husband Steve, a disabled veteran, spent most of his day at home alone. Though the computer and television filled part of his day, Steve desperately desired a friend to keep him company. The silence seemed to depress him in a large way.
During the day, I worked for a company doing developmental therapy for handicapped adults to help meet our financial obligations.
My husband and I discussed some different options to help lesson the impact of those quiet hours that he spent at home. We considered adopting an older child but questioned whether or not the stress of parenting would increase his number of seizures. Also, our financial situation didn’t really allow us enough freedom to support another family member. Yet Steve and I prayed that God would help us find the right solution to this problem.
One day at work I mentioned our little dilemma to some of my coworkers. Little did I know that another coworker named Wendy would overhear the conversation.
Wendy trained ‘Dogs for the Deaf’ and happened to have too many dogs in her home. She wanted to place Skippy in a home. The ‘Dogs for the Deaf’ program had rescued Skippy and trained him for their program. However, Skippy was too timid to jump up on his master’s lap when the doorbell rang. Also, Skippy did not get along with children. Wendy suggested that he may have been abused by a toddler or small child, and children made him extremely skittish.
As I ended my conversation with my coworkers, Wendy came over and introduced herself to me. She told me that she was a trainer for ‘Dogs for the Deaf’ and that she heard me talking about possibly wanting a dog. Then she told me the story of Skippy. Since my husband and I have felt–in times past–like outcasts, we felt compassion for this dog, Skippy. The more Wendy told me about Skippy, the more I believed God was answering our prayers about our ’empty nest syndrome.’
After speaking to my husband, we agreed to bring Skippy to our house for a few visits so we could get to know each other. We finally decided to adopt Skippy and bring him into our home.
Since that time, God has given us love for Skippy and Skippy has filled that void in our lives. We love him and he loves us too! He follows us everywhere, not wanting his people out of his sight. When I’m home, everywhere I go, I feel Skippy’s cold nose touching the back of my legs as I walk and I have to careful not to step on him.
Skippy has also figured out that I don’t hear very well. This faithful dog uses his training to listen at the door when I’m home alone and make sure I know if someone is walking past our house or coming to the door. He knows his training has a purpose and that purpose is to protect me. One time Skippy barked like crazy and I had Steve check out the situation. We had a huge dog out front of our house trying to get in the garbage dumpster.
Skippy has also been a faithful companion to my husband during his quiet days at home. Steve teases Skippy and plays games with him and Skippy always catches Steve when he’s sneaking something from the refrigerator.
Skippy loves to play ball and to ride in the car. Even if we go only a block or two down the road, Skippy gets so excited about going for a ride that he bounces around the livingroom and beats all of us to door. He would rather sit in the car than be at home alone, even in freezing weather.
Our faithful friend, Skippy, is a gift from God. He has filled the empty nest with lots of fun and joy! Skippy has truly been our faithful companion and friend!