Our Faithful Friend, Skippy
Silence and emptiness filled our home as we tried to adjust to having an empty nest. Our youngest son moved out of our home because he desired to spend some time with his father before moving out of the area. He was a senior in High School and would be heading across the country to attend college in Arizona. I tried to convince him to find a school closer so we could at least visit him, but his mind was already made up. It saddened me to know he would be going so far away that we couldn’t even afford to go visit.
My husband, Steve, and I missed having children in our home. It seemed so quiet and empty. Steve, a disabled veteran, spent most of his day alone at home. He periodically has seizures so he couldn’t drive. The computer and television filled some of his time but he longed for people to visit and the silence depressed him.
At that time I worked part-time for a company that did developmental therapy for those who were challenged developmentally. I had to work to help meet our financial obligations.
Steve and I discussed the possibility of adopting another child. However, we were not sure if we should take on this responsibility. Steve’s memory loss and seizures seemed to get worse whenever his stress level went up. In addition, our financial situation did not allow me to quit work and stay home during the day with a child. My patience also seemed to wear thin at times, especially since I was going through a lot of trials at work.
Steve and I also considered getting a pet to help fill the void in our lives. We could not decide which option would be the best for us so we prayed to God for direction. A short time later I happened to discuss our little dilemma with some coworkers. Little did I know that another coworker overheard our conversation. This woman, named Wendy, trained dogs for the “Dogs for the Deaf” program. Later that day Wendy told me she had a dog, Skippy, at her house and she was trying to place him in another home.
Wendy began telling me about Skippy. He was part Border collie and Pampion. He had been rescued from an animal shelter and put through the “Dog’s for the Deaf” training. However, Skippy did not pass the program because he was too timid and because he had issues with small children. We guessed that he might have been mauled by a toddler.
As Wendy talked about Skippy, God put a love for him in our hearts. Steve and I had been helping out at a local mission that tried to rescue men for the kingdom of God. Steve and I had both previously been abused and we both knew what it felt like to the considered “outcasts.” I was sure God was answering our prayer and giving us a solution to our “empty nest syndrome.” God also knew Skippy needed us. Since our children were grown and gone, we didn’t have to worry much about having other children around Skippy. When children came to the house, we could put Skippy in the bedroom or out in the back yard until they left.
Wendy and I worked out a time when Skippy could come by our house to meet Steve and get acquainted with us. After a couple of visits, we decided to adopt Skippy. From that time, until he died 12 years later, Skippy filled the void in our life. We loved him and he loved us. He followed me everywhere, following so closely that I felt his cold nose touch the back of my legs as I walked down the hallway in our home.
Skippy was a faithful companion to both of us. He was a lot of company for Steve during his quiet days at home. Skippy loved to play ball and we tried to make time for it several evenings a week until he got older and seemed to lose interest.
Skippy also loved to ride in the car and wanted to go everywhere with us. One day, when we were out doing errands, I dropped Steve off somewhere and went to get a pizza from our local Papa Murphy’s Pizza place. Whenever Steve was not in the front passenger’s seat, Skippy assumed that it was his place to sit. After purchasing the pizza, I set it on the front passenger seat so I could drive to the place where I would up Steve. Skippy was in the back seat. As I pulled out of Papa Murphy’s parking lot, suddenly Skippy jumped up into the front passenger seat and was sitting in the middle of our pizza. He was looking out the car windows and turning his head back and forth to see the sights. He never even looked down at the pizza to see what he was sitting on. Thankfully, the pizza was wrapped up well in plastic wrap. As soon as I could, I pulled over and made Skippy move into the back seat. Yet I still remember him sitting up, proudly looking out the windows as though nothing unusual was happening. I shared the story with Steve when I picked him up, and we both laughed. When we got home we checked the pizza covering and there were no holes or tears in the plastic so we decided to go ahead and have it for lunch.
As I got older, I began to have some hearing loss due to family genetics and from playing in a band and church orchestra for many years. When I was home alone or stayed up late at night, Skippy always stayed close to me and guarded the front door of our home. On several occasions he alerted Steve and I to potential dangers. He warned us about strangers walking by or coming up to the door. One night Skippy began barking adamantly at the front door and pacing. I alerted Steve, who was asleep in bed and Steve came to the front door to check out the situation. Steve opened the door and discovered a huge dog was trying to tip over our big garbage dumpster. I didn’t even hear a sound but Skippy new something was happening.
Our faithful friend, Skippy, was an answer to prayer and a gift from God. He loved us and we loved him back. He filled the empty nest in our home for many years. He was indeed and loving companion and a faithful friend.