On Sunday, August 28th we lost a member of the Henderson family. My brothers’ Siberian Husky, Skyy, passed away very unexpectedly. One minute she was running around his house and then ten minutes later she was flying with the angels. Skyy was 8 years old, about 60 in “human” years (give or take a few years). Through the course of my life I’ve attended many funerals; relatives, friends, even strangers, but for some reason Skyy’s death affected me in a different way. I think because it happened so suddenly, literally in the blink of an eye. She wasn’t sick, she wasn’t in pain, she was enjoying life up to her very last second, her very last breath.
When Skyy passed away she took with her a lifetime of memories. Memories of the beginning of my brother & sister in law’s marriage, the start of their family, the ups & downs that they went through. She was a beautiful part of our whole family, every member has a special memory with her. She was so very loved & will be very missed.
This isn’t a tribute to a dog, although I’m a dog-lover & Skyy’s certainly deserving of the highest tribute. I truly believe that animals go to heaven & I know that one day I’ll be greeted at the pearly gates by my own childhood dog, Pappy, and others that I will love over the course of my life. Working in veterinary clinics I’ve been witness to dozens of euthanasia’s, held the hands, hugged, and wiped tears away from many pet owners that have made the tough decision to end the life of their beloved pet. I’ve listened to stories and been moved by how much love humans have in their hearts for the four-legged (or two-legged, winged, slithering, swimming etc) members of their family. You will never be able to convince me that God doesn’t have a special spot saved for them until they can one day be reunited with those that have loved them so dearly.
Dogs’ have so much to teach us, the last few days I’ve thought about what humans can learn from dogs. What we can learn by loving them and allowing them into our hearts to love us back. My Grandpa Henderson, for example, was a tough man to be around, he was at times a tough man to love. But he had a Dalmatian mix named Dottie, and that dog loved him and he her. He’s been gone for almost 5 years and my aunt now has Dottie. Dottie sleeps on the corner of the couch that my Grandpa favored, she lays there, for her that’s where the memory of my Grandpa is strongest. That’s love. One look into a dog’s eyes and you know they’re so much smarter than we could ever give them credit for.
Skyy’s life-lessons, advice for all humans
10. Be rebellious!–You know the rules, but sometimes they have to be broken. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be on the couch, but it helped me to see out the window. Sometimes you have to break the rules to see the “bigger” picture.
9. Run!–Every chance you get go for a nice long run. Stretch your legs. And if you can’t run, walk! Just get up and get moving.
8. If you get lost, turned around, or off-track STOP & wait! —you’re loved, you’ll be found.
7. Watch out for skunks!–They look like they’re fun to play with, but beware get to close & you’ll get sprayed. This could result in a cleaning up process that could take a long time.
6. Learn your place!–Dogs are pack animals, there’s a hierarchy for a reason. If you’re at the bottom, obey those ahead of you. They’re wiser & have earned the right to be listened to. If you’re at the top, be a wise leader, always be a servant and look out for the best interest of your pack.
5. Be gentle with kids!–Let them dress you up in princess tiara’s, lay on top of you and fall asleep, chase you around the yard with squirt guns. You may be annoyed, but they love it, it gives them positive memories. Kids grow up so fast & before long you’ll miss the days when they wanted to do that.
4. Love!–As a dog its pre-programmed that we’re man’s best friend. That means you absolutely, no strings attached, until the ends of the earth, love unconditionally. You greet everyone with kisses when they come home after a hard day, or after they walk outside to get the mail. You never leave their presence with them questioning your love for them. It’s that simple.
3. Smile, be happy, & show joy!–there’s so much to be happy about. The world is full of laughter, things that taste & smell great, fields to run in, faces to kiss, balls to chase…how can somebody not be happy everyday!
2. Forgive!–Human’s aren’t perfect. Sometimes they leave you outside in the rain, sometimes they forget to feed you, sometimes they yell at you when you don’t understand why. But you always forgive them, no matter what they ever do. You forgive them because you love them (see #4) and the two always go together.Then forget the mistake & move on.
1. Be loyal!–Your #1 responsibility. You protect and never desert those in your heart. Listen & obey and put your trust in others because they put their trust in you. Always remember, God gave us loyalty so that we can escort those we loved into heaven when their time has come. They’ll be nervous, they’ll need a guide. We posses the qualities that God wants humans to strive towards. Dog spelled backwards is God.
*R.I.P. Skyy Henderson. Enjoy running and chasing chickens in heaven until your called into duty again*