Saturday, December 30, 2023

Bye, Skye

There comes a day every dog owner dreads, the day you have to say goodbye. It's no secret that Skye had been struggling a bit for the last several months. We think that she had a fall down stairs, and hurt something a few months ago. We had her to the vet, who couldn't find anything particular wrong besides pain and weakness in her rear legs. She prescribed some pain meds, and rest, and that helped enough that in a few weeks she was back to climbing stairs to get into the house, and taking walks on the beach with us, but it was pretty clear we were on a declining slope. 

Wednesday, I walked her on the beach, in the rain. It was a very high tide so we couldn't go too far, and she made the round trip, but not too excitedly. Thursday, the day I fished, Georgia reported she climbed the basement stairs, and basically collapsed on the kitchen floor, ate and drank a little, and headed back out to her favorite bed, a heap of leaves and cedar chips in the back. She had no interest in a nighttime walk. Yesterday, Friday, she barely stirred from the bed, and when I tried to get her up for beach walk, she refused. She did not eat, or drink, apparently all day. I gave her a pain pill in the evening. This morning, she had barely stirred, and  occasionally howled in apparent pain. I gave her another pain pill, and when that didn't have any effect, we made the arrangements at our local vet. We arrived at 11, said our goodbyes, petting her as she lay on the floor. It was quick and painless and we cried.

Skye was our third dog, and our second and a half husky. The first dog, of our children's youth was Sybil, half German Shepherd and half Siberian, by reports. We liked the husky side of her traits, except for the shedding, and our second adopted dog, after the kids were grown, was a full blooded Siberian, also named Skye, one blue eye, and one brown eye, and 20 lbs lighter than Skye II. She was the rare husky you could let off the leash at the beach. She suffered some kind of stroke or heart attack at the age of 14, while we were on a trip to California. It was not a shock as she had suffered some previous similar attacks. 

This Skye, or Skye II as we sometimes called her, was adopted on Halloween Day in 2015. She had been turned in to the local pound with a brother. A local rescue group took her out, but the brother was gone when they arrived. A friend told us about her, and when we came to see her, after finding out that we had a husky previously, they basically handed us the leash.

Skye was a good dog, not a great dog. She was strong and strong willed, and had a full measure of the worst Siberian traits. She pulled on the leash, up until the last week. She was famously an escape artist, digging holes under the back yard fence, until we buried 2 X 8s along the bottom and anchored them to the bottom. She would find a crack in a door, and be gone in a flash, a trick she once pulled at our sons house in Canonsburg PA. She also pulled the leash apart at the snap more than once. She was never gone long, not because she ever came home on her own, but because we had our phone numbers on her collar, and she went to visit the first willing person she could find. And she shed, a lot. There might have been some month that she didn't shed, but it wasn't a long period. She was definitely an outdoor dog, and needed a lot of exercise, and was willing to demand it. We needed the exercise so it was a good trade.

But on the good side, she was the world's friendliest dog. She assumed all people wanted to pet her, and all other dogs wanted to play (on her somewhat rambunctious terms), and she was often right. While we looked for fossils, she looked for people to give her pets, and other dogs to pester. She was well known on the Calvert Facebook fossil page, and people often identified us by her.  There was never any quit in her, up until the last week.

In the last year or so, she changed a bit. She was clearly mostly deaf, hearing only loud bangs, which tended to startle her. She gave up sleeping on our bed, and took up sleeping in the back yard, in a spot that turned into a mud pit in the rain. She didn't care, water didn't penetrate her fur, and there in no weather cold enough in slower Maryland to seriously challenge her. We wrote it off to advancing age, and a touch of senility.

If there's any truth to the rainbow bridge stuff, I expect Skye will check in now and then for a pet (and a treat), and then be off to the next adventure. 


  1. Fritz, I’m so sorry about your loss. I enjoyed the beach pics with all you in it and I got a chance to meet her on Memorial Day at Makota a few years back. She passed as a happy dog I’m sure

  2. These things always bring tears to my eyes, knowing how hard they are on the owner's emotions. I've gone through this multiple times myself, and every time is difficult.
    I'm sure you did the best for Skye as you could her entire life. And that always lead to those final moments where you choose less pain for them, and more for you.

    1. Sorry to post this as a reply but the overlords at gurrgle won't let me publish any other way.
      The loss is never easy. But take solace in that there is another leash waiting for you to take hold. God Bless you with many good memories and many more to come in the New Year.

    2. Losing family and friends is hard. Losing pets is hard in a more basic level. My prayers are with you both.