My name is Dan Sadler and I have a border collie, Skyy, that my wife and I trained to be certified through Therapy Dogs International. The amount of affection he shows people is so rewarding to us, that we thought our stories of his escapades would brighten the days of many more people. Enjoy!
On Monday, 11/12, Kellee, Skyy and I had the honor of participating in Independence Middle School’s (Bethel Park, PA) Veterans Day program. The day started with a lovely breakfast cooked and served by the members of the student council and Bring A Smile To The Service Group. The veterans and their families were treated to a patriotic celebration that included the students singing several emotion-packed songs and an original poem written by two of the students. Many of the veterans in attendance were deeply touched by the enthusiasm, appreciation, and courtesy that was shown to them. Their service and sacrifices were not forgotten. Skyy was a hit. Greg, a Marine vet, requested that his picture be taken with Skyy. Of course, Skyy, the ham, was happy to oblige. He is not one to let a photo op go by!
I spent the afternoon providing students with the history of the border collie breed, the difference between service and therapy dogs and showing them what makes Skyy a much-loved and anticipated visitor to the Aspinwall, PA, VA hospital. Skyy was in his element. The more the students cheered for him, the more he showed off. By the end of the day, after having performed five separate presentations in order to accommodate more than 600 students, Skyy was tired but very happy to have been an honored guest.
Kudos to social studies teacher/student council and Bring A Smile To The Service Group adviser Jenn Makel (proudly raised by a Marine, as her shirt said) and principal David Muench for providing the support the students needed in order to put together a well-coordinated, enthusiastic celebration of those who have served our country. A big thank you to all of the students for making us feel so welcome. A special thank you to Matthew R., who had been our contact throughout the planning stages.
Great job by all! Perhaps we can do it again! God bless our vets.
Last weekend as my wife and I were cleaning up the yard for the winter, Skyy and his sister Syrah were using the nice day as a chance to run around and enjoy life.
Suddenly, Skyy came up lame and would not put weight on his left front paw. We looked over his paw and leg vigorously and found nothing. After ten minutes, Skyy was back to his old self.
Later in the week, we noticed that he was favoring his paw.especially in the mornings. We had a big weekend planned for Skyy and Syrah, so I made an appointment with the Vet.
It turns out that Skyy may have poked himself or bruised his paw and was starting to lick his paw too much, causing more damage. Luckily, the paw was not infected, but due to the injury, we needed to get the paw wrapped up and our weekend plans were dashed. We were excited about the chickens on the wrapping tape!
I am happy to report that Skyy is feeling better, but we can not unwrap the paw for another few days to allow healing. We look forward to getting back on track with our adventures in the next few weeks.
Walking through the VA with Skyy on Saturday I noticed a collage of 3 photos hanging on the wall dedicated to the working dogs of the US Armed Forces. These are canines that neither Skyy nor I would want to tangle.
I recall watching the movie “Megan Leavy” a few months back, based on the true-life story of a young Marine corporal whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq. How difficult must it be for these men and women whose lives rely so much on a furry companion to give them up when they retire. I don’t think I could do that.
A quick search on the internet and I found the following website: https://www.uswardogs.org. There are some incredible stories on this site that tells the tale of these fantastic soldiers and the training, discipline, and dedication they give to these magnificent animals.
Yesterday, Skyy and I received our award for completing 50 visits on behalf of TDI-DOG.org. The certificate came with a pin and a thank you letter from the President of TDI. Skyy and I have been visiting the VA Hospital – HJ Heinz campus and HCR ManorCare in the Noth Hills of Pittsburgh since this March.
We have made so many friends in these past months and we cherish our visits every Sunday. There have been several friends whom we made friends that are no longer with us. Each of those lovely people had at least a few moments of relief due to a happy, furry face.
Since Skyy is a breed from the border of Scotland and England (hence the name border collie) we traveled to Ligonier PA today to walk around. We had a great time! Hopefully next year we can come as part of the Scottish breeds pavilions.
This year on November 9th, 2018 Skyy and I will be attending a very special day in the Bethel Park School District celebrating and remembering our veterans. Although we have yet to meet, Skyy and I feel a special kinship towards a young man helping in the organization of this event. Matt is in middle school and has a particular passion for aiding our veterans and current military men & women. Skyy and I have heard that he is organizing boxes to be sent over to the guys and gals currently serving overseas, and Skyy’s information will be in there!
If you are a service member and received a box from this school, please comment below (if you are able) so you can let our buddy Matt know what you think!