Sky has been with me for more than 11 years, providing me with companionship and emotional support day and night. I am often surprised when we are walking on a random street in Manhattan and from a distance I hear someone yelling for Sky, wanting to say hi but I have no idea who it is. Being a service dog has given her the opportunity to share her special spirit not only with students, clients and teachers but also store owners, flight attendants, wait staff (often startled by her presence under the table) and the stranger on the street who just wants to say hello. A little therapy for all.
As I sit with this emptiness, initially for just one night that turned into four nights, I am still very optimistic. Given the choice, for me there was only one decision. What about the families that have absolutely no way to pay for such a procedure? Their need to have their friend is just as important as it is for me.
Anytime you are hit by that unexpected expense it’s a hardship, I know all too often that given something terrible something special can evolve. It seems that most of my dogs have been blessed with a certain spiritual quality that has transcended the here and now.
I’ve been given the ability to give a home to many dogs but three of them were the spiritual leaders of the tribe. That being said, only Sky was given the responsibility to keep me happy.
The first of these spiritual leaders was Tess. She altered the way a small specialty clinic, staffers, caretakers and doctors treated their patients after their encounter. Everyone that had a chance to be in her company left with a different way of thinking. A better, more compassionate understanding of what it means to try. The moment she walked the bridge between here and there, her spirit became one with another very special creature. Her compassionate spirit was passed on to Sedona.
Years later Sedona was diagnosed with a cancer that didn't look very promising. Cancer treatment for pets was still very new and extremely expensive. Treatments were once a week for 6 months, then every 2 weeks for a year followed by once a month for 6 months. The cancer came back after 9 months. Things were grim.
We started the treatment again and she beat lymphoma. We were often asked to console a family just starting the process. They were terrified. After they saw Sedona and heard our story, I witnessed certain relief followed by a mystical connection with Sedona.
Sedona died in my arms. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
On the morning of Sunday 8/19, I felt a familiar feeling. Sky just wasn’t acting like herself. You just know when something crosses over and becomes priority one, an emergency. After the initial examination, surgery was the only option and it had to happen immediately. She had a hysterectomy due to some sort of infection in/and around her ovaries.
As I was leaving I hung the same Lakota Sioux medicine bag that I had placed on Tess’s cage and Sedona’s cage now on Sky’s cage. At this point there should be a lot of powerful mojo in that bag.
Monday and Tuesday were tough. She contracted pneumonia, wasn’t eating and having a real hard time walking which only conjured up old memories. Wednesday showed a little progress but the pneumonia and lack of eating was becoming a major concern. Her surgeon was doing rounds and eating an apple, and coincidentally, Sky likes apples. Before she knew it Sky had a few pieces of a Granny Smith. She came home on Thursday but the stairs were a big no no. After five nights together on a sofa, we finally conquered the stairs with ultimately me carrying her up to the bedroom. There is no problem going down but going up is still very difficult.
If there is anyway you can help out it would be greatly appreciated. Any donations above our needs will be given to other families in more unfortunate positions directly or donated to the Canine Cancer Awareness Fund (non-profit).
I will give a regular update on Sky’s progress. We are hoping only for the best.