Monday, February 17, 2014

Skylo's Legacy

 * Today's article was written about 7 years ago after the passing of one of our dogs. I am so passionate about adopting animals from rescue shelters and hope that sharing this story means as much to as it has to me.

Skylo joined our family after spending a lot of time with the SPCA (6 months) and periodic stays with temporary homes. He was about 18 months old at the time and was about to be put down because no one wanted a dog that constantly ran away. No one seemed to realize that the poor thing was incredibly restless, unstable from the lack of a secure home and didn’t know what he was supposed to do. We soon realized the beautifully marked dog was not only strong willed and yet willing to please, he was also full of energy and intelligence that made training a pleasure. Skylo quickly became more than a “dog”.  During his 6-year stay with us, he was also a therapy for me, helping me deal with an anxiety disorder simply with his comforting and protective presence. Our boy was brave enough to tree a bear in order to protect me – yet kind and patient enough to understand the weak. Skylo also had an ample dose of gentle playfulness that had him not only making great friends with his two indoor feline “siblings”, but also making friends with neighboring cats and dogs.

Skylo was one of the best trained dogs in the city, impressing people where ever he went. He knew the border of his yard to the point of putting on the breaks right on the property line when chasing unwelcome animal trespassers out of the yard, without the need of a fence. We could take him along visiting and trust him to stay in their yard when shown the boundaries, or to stay on his bed if we were indoors. This dog could heal off leash on command and knew 22 silent hand signals and verbal cues.

Sadly, on a tragic Sunday – I was about to take him on his second walk of the day and realized I forgot the leash so I popped back inside but left him on the step for a moment. Normally that would have been no problem at all but a cat that he hated (it used our carport as a bathroom and that drove him nuts) ran out from our driveway and across the street. Sadly one of the many speeding and preoccupied drivers on our street took the joy out of our home that day. Poor Skylo was hit and injured very badly – his insides were hemorrhaging, he was screaming for me and when I got there he was shaking badly. Luckily the neighbors and some people passing by jumped to our aide helping to carry him on a blanket to a nearby truck bed and taking Skylo and I to the vet. One person even rode in the back of the truck with us and was so wonderful with Skylo, keeping him calm.

Central Veterinary Services (no longer exists) met us at the office downtown within a minute or two of our arrival, despite their being closed and the vet having to bring her young child along. She was amazing with Skylo, and climbed into the truck bed to give him a pain reliever right away, so he only suffered for about 7 minutes in total – the time it took to get him to the vet. They tell me he was in shock and was not likely feeling the pain yet.

Skylo’s death moved so many people – the vet staff cried with us, the people who took us to the vet cried with us, our neighbors grieved with us… we never knew that Skylo had become such a large part of so many people’s daily lives. One neighbor was so moved by what happened and angered by the continuing speeding on our street that she got a petition together in honor of Skylo Brummet and acquired 32 signatures in just one morning. This letter was presented to the city and resulted in the police monitoring our street for a few months after the event.

We will never know the impact this event had on the safety of our neighborhood, however we do know that people were saying that prior to this event their children and pets have had many close calls with inattentive drivers. Perhaps Skylo’s passing prevented the death of another beloved fur companion, or a child. We do know that his passing, and the passing on of his aging feline siblings (our two cats at the time) opened up a huge gap in our lives which we filled by adopting more cats and dogs from non-profit animal shelters, bringing unmeasurable joy to our home with each new furry-face that joins our family.

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