Unusual silence and emptiness filled our home for several months after our youngest son moved out, and went to live with his father before heading to Arizona for college.
My oldest son had gone to a college in Seattle, 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 reduce 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 overheard 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. 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.
God gave us love for Skippy and Skippy filled that void in our lives. We loved him and he loved us too! He followed us everywhere, not wanting his people out of his sight. When I was home, everywhere I went, I felt Skippy’s cold nose touching the back of my legs as I walked and I had to be careful not to step on him.
Skippy also figured out that I don’t hear very well. This faithful dog used his training to listen at the door when I was home alone and make sure I knew if someone was walking past our house or coming to the door. He knew his training had a purpose and that purpose is to protect Steve and 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 was a faithful companion to my husband during his quiet days at home. Steve teased Skippy and played games with him, and Skippy always caught Steve when he was sneaking something from the refrigerator.
Skippy loved to play ball and to ride in the car. Even if we went only a block or two down the road, Skippy got so excited about going for a ride that he bounced around the living room and beat 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, was a gift from God. He filled the empty nest with lots of fun and joy. Skippy truly was our faithful companion and friend!
A few years ago–at 12 human years of age–Skippy suddenly started having seizures. We called the veterinarian and eventually took Skippy in to the office. We are not sure what caused the seizures and they began to appear one right after another. The vet said it could be a brain tumor or poisoning. She gave Skippy medication to stop the seizures and did blood work on him. The blood test revealed that Skippy was a diabetic. We had no idea.
Since Skippy was 12 years old and had lived a long life, we could see sticking him in his body every day to test his blood and give him shots. The diabetic and seizure medicine was also too expensive for us to purchase on our limited income. We finally came to the conclusion it would best for all of us if we had him put down. Steve held Skippy and I stood next to him as the veterinarian administered the shot. It made us both sad but we knew it was the best thing to do.
Skippy was indeed our faithful companion and friend. We miss him a lot.
Roxy A few years after Skippy was put down, we got another dog named Roxy. She has brought a lot of joy into our home. I am thankful we have the companionship and love that Roxy gives us. I know she appreciates us too because, like Skippy, she sticks close by us all the time and watches out the window in our living room. She is faithful to warn us when people and animals pass by. Oh, how she barks when the neighbor’s cat walks by!