Last week Skyy and I visited our local nursing home. We had the honor of visting a patient who was in the loving care of hospice and on her last days. As we moved into the room, we were told that the patient was not doing well at all, but had loved animals their entire life. The patient was curled up in their bed laying on their side. I commanded Skyy “all four” and he promptly jumped up into bed with the patient and laid down allwoing the patient to spoon him. He wiggled up the bed a bit and every once in a while he licked the patient’s chin.
I stood there and was amazed how a high strung, ball chasing nut like Skyy could instantly become an instrument of peace. There is no doubt in my mind he understood the situation, and acted in the peacful and loving way that was not only appropriate, but beautiful and uplifting to all in the room. He was able to demonstrate the undying love associated with therapy animals to help bring peace in a time of suffering.
The prayer of St. Franics of Assisi, the patron Saint of animals, speaks volumes to this adventure:
Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life
After a nice visit to our friends a HCR Manor Care in the North hills of Pittsburgh, we decided to go have a run at North Park. Quickly the 85 degree day got to Skyy so we went into the creek for a cool down.
What resulted were a few outstanding photos that my wife took!
What an amazing camera the iPhone 8 has!
Now, if you were a sheep and saw this creature creeping up on you, more than likely you would think to yourself, “uh-oh, here comes a wolf…time to go!”
After a nice shower at home Skyy is ready for his next adventure at the VA Hospital tomorrow!
While the subject matter of this blog is soley about Skyy and his adventures, it is becoming more and more necessary to inform you the reader that Skyy has a sister who is currently 9 months old as of this writing (23 May 2018). The reason for this revelation is that it is very difficult to seperate Skyy and Syrah from photos as she follows him around everywhere!
So, without further ado, allow me introduce you to Syrah. (Syrah is a type of red wine)
Here is a pic of her with my beautiful daughter at about 6 weeks old. (before she was fully weaned).
The day we came home with her, Skyy was very curious about this new fur-ball!
Just after this photo was taken Syrah started to try and herd Skyy by crouching low unmovingly and staring at him with the eye.
The state animal of Pennsylvania is the white-tailed deer. With these long legs, we are begining to think she was crossed with one somehow!
She is a very pretty girl, although be it a bit crazy, which has enared her the nickname “nut” by my daughter.
One of my favorite photos of her is what I call her “spooky vampire” look…..
So this wonderful puppy has graced our lives and poor Skyy has become a bit of a chew toy for Syrah. She is already as tall as Skyy and still has some growing to do!
A few weeks ago my daughter sent me a side by side of Syrah and her mother Katie. This is a striking similarity!
So while the rest of the stories will be about our buddy Skyy, please note that he does have a “nut” sister who loves him as much as we do!
HUGS TO ALL!
The border collie breed is named for the region in the United Kingdom on the border of Scotland and England where the dogs have thought to be intially bred. The breed is highly intelligent as the farmers in the border region of the UK needed a dog which was a workaholic, always wanting to please their master, and a very quick study – to the point of becoming predictive in nature. Additionally the breed is meant to somewhat resemble the look of a wolf for intimidation purposes.
The goal of the border collie? To care for sheep in the fields and to be able to move them from one field to another and to bring them in for shearing.
In the first of December 2017, we took Skyy to a sheep farm to see how he would do “rounding up” the herd. The goal was fro him to chase the sheep in a clockwise and counter-clockwise mothion around the handler. This is the beginning of training for a good sheepdog.
Here’s what happened…
As seen here, I was trying to show Skyy how to get the sheep off of the fencing, as soon as they were away from the fence, the instinct kicked in!
The boder collie moves sheep/geese/mailmen/cars/children/leaves/snowflakes (whatever they are trying to herd) mostly through an intimidation stare, or “the eye”. Just through pure staring and intimidation, these dogs can move flocks of sheep across miles of teritory!
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One of the coolest things I have seen with dog training is the agility competitions done by Purina and Crufts. Skyy certainly has several amazing talents and some of these talents are not seen by the residents he visits because he should not be doing agility in a nursing facility! In that light, to share some of his other talents, here are a few videos of Skyy enjoying his athleticism!
Weave poles (bugger missed the last pole!)
Agility at the park (He was moving kind of slow because he had been running for 90 minutes prior…
Learning is move to his left (come by) and move to his right (away) with a special treat at the end of the video!
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As the recreational therapist, Skyy and I walk around to patient rooms, the residents of the places we visit are questioned if they like dogs. Many residents have a puzzled look on their face when the question is asked, because they were not prepared to see any type of animal there. It is really fun to watch their reaction when Skyy comes into their view.
Oh how wonderful!
Sometimes, it does not go as well. A patient may say no. I liken the “no patient” to a guy like my father. See, Dad is a great guy, but he grew up on a farm when he was young. To him, all animals have a farm purpose and that is all. To ask him if he would like to see a dog is like asking him if he would like to have a visit from a pig or cow!
Skyy and I never take offense to a no. Who knows, maybe next time it will be a yes?
In the first visit to the VA, Skyy and I met a veteran who didn’t want anything to do with him. Skyy did not take it personally.
On our second visit, our veteran friend said they would give Skyy a pat on the head. Skyy accepted this with grace.
On our third visit, Skyy’s buddy ask for him to put his paws on their lap. Skyy really loved this!
On our fourth visit and since then Skyy comes up to his buddy and, with permission, jumps up and gives lots of kisses.
Oh the difference we can make if we just keep trying and offering……