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    PeterDobias.com / Blog / Stories & News

    A letter to my dog, Mr. Skai

    By Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

    Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. His love of dogs and passion for natural healing and nutrition led him to writing, teaching and helping people create health naturally, without drugs, chemicals and processed food.

    How I'm coping losing my sweet best friend

    My sweet friend,

    Today is a very, very big day. The kind of day most dog lovers fear more than our own death.

    I didn’t get much sleep last night – maybe two hours at best. Work took me nine time zones away from you. I didn’t realize how bad things were when I left. Perhaps, deep inside I didn’t want to see what to you was already obvious. 

    Your injury took a lot out of you. You are sixteen, that is two times eight, or 112, in human years. That is old for a large dog like you. But you did so well for so long that I almost forgot. You didn’t even have much gray hair, your coat was shiny and the neurologist who saw you last week could not believe how good your teeth were.

    When we went to see your neurologist, uncle Nick, and he told us you suffered a serious cervical disc injury, I should have clued in, but at that moment I was not a vet. I was a hundred percent your dad and dads don’t want to see their kids leaving, not for school, not for travel and especially not for good.  

    When a baggage porter accidentally swung a heavy suitcase and hit your head two weeks ago, first you tried to be brave, but then I had to carry you on the flight. The people of Westjet were amazing. They let us fly home and then one of their employees and a dog lover came to check on you when we arrived. But I could see the sparkles in your eyes had faded away. We knew, considering your age and diagnosis, surgery was simply not an option. I wouldn’t want you to go through that, my sweet friend. You didn’t deserve to suffer, it would be more for us than for you.

     

    Deep inside, I hoped you’d bounce back like you always have. Brave, shiny, sweet and full of beans. You have always been caring, so worried about everyone else. Always ready to help, asking: “What do you need? What can I do for you? What else, what else?!” That was you – Mr. Skai Wantstofly, a border collie at heart, more human than a dog.

    When we met, you were holding a bone, growling at all your brothers and sisters, fiercely defending your prized possession. But when you saw me, you dropped your bone, forgot about the growling and came to say hi. That is how the story began.

    Yes, it’s true I was told by your people that you’d be aggressive and I should not choose you, but they could not be more wrong. All I needed to do is to get you two bones and teach you, by switching them, that there will always be enough food for you. 

    Over time, you turned into a Zen dog, our pride and joy, a true best friend! As time progressed, you’ve taught me so much and inspired hundreds of thousands, or possibly millions of dog lovers to take better care of their best friends. You were a true dog ambassador and I was very happy to live in your shadow. You were the star and I was your dad.

    And then there were the girls. Boy, you loved girls! You had it pretty dialed, walking on the beach or in the park, laying right at their feet! Girls love boys to be at their feet and you were a master at that. Your success rate was pretty close to 100 percent. 

    In fact, you were the only male I know who got to sleep in the bed on the first night every single time. That is a skill that many guys would love to possess!

    Yes, I know, the Labs and Golden Retrievers were sometimes challenging. They were like the Italians. Loud, rowdy and cordial. “Manger, manger!!! Mamma Mia!!!” For you, they were a little too much. 

    You were the master of manners and etiquette, after all, your ancestors were British. Many people told me you were the best trained and well-behaved dog and I agree. Your manners led you to be my guide and protector, my service dog to help me with my sleepwalking. Yes, I sleepwalk and have since I was a child. When I was at vet school, I walked through a glass door and almost died. But since I got you, you made sure I was safe. You were my guardian, and I was yours.

    Adventures! Oh boy, you lived for adventures and we had so many! There is enough for a whole book. Do you remember when we cashed our air mile points and flew you to Paris in first class?  As a service dog, you were able to fly in the cabin and had your own pillow! And there was a woman having a fit because there was a dog in the cabin. If I had an airline, I would fly all dogs first class and put all the anti-dog people in cargo!

    It was fun to see my crazy dreams come through. You ran around the Eiffel Tower, you loved that. Also around the Louvre pyramid. Do you remember how we put you in the lap of a female statue in the park and took pictures? You were smiling as if you understood it was funny. That picture is one of my favorites.

    There was a point when you were clearly trying to tell me that I was burning out at work. It was you who gave me the idea of living a more balanced life, doing yoga, enjoying nature and spending our winter months in Maui. I loved doing yoga in the park with you because I could watch you sleeping and chasing bunnies.

    The first time I brought you over to Hawaii, we flew to the island of Oahu. I took you to the beach, the water was warm. You taught me that anything was possible. You were seven-years-old then. 

    When you were a puppy, I almost thought you didn’t love me because you were always ready to go for an adventure with your other human and canine friends. But one day, we went to a lake and everyone tried to coax you in the water, but you would not go. 

    Then I jumped in and in a second you were in the water, trying to ‘rescue’ me. Perhaps my swimming style made you think I was drowning? 

    Your sister, Peggy was a very special friend to you and us too. Did you know, originally, I chose her, but then she started to run away from me. Obviously, she had a plan. She didn’t want me to leave you behind. Have you ever thought what would happen if I left you behind? I can’t imagine. It was meant to be.

    There are not many dogs who get the chance to see their sister or brother every week. I love spending time with my siblings, so I understood how much you loved being with her and you especially loved sleepovers. 

    I could go on and on, writing about our adventures and crying my heart out because today is a pretty tough day. In fact, I don’t think I’ve had a tougher day in my life and there were some tough ones!

    You were barely walking when I took you to your favorite park the other day and I found a little stuffed doggie leaning against the post. I couldn’t believe my eyes because the doggie looked exactly like you, brown and white and he even wore glasses. It was you! I took the little stuffed “you” with me to Norway because I missed the real you so much. 

    And then there was the phone call. You were not doing well. The call I was the most afraid of. I saw your eyes and knew you were asking me to let you go. You didn’t eat or walk for three days and you were waiting for me to come home.

    I spent three hours looking for flights to see how I could get to you faster. Interestingly the same airline that carried us home when you were injured is now carrying me to you.

    I am on the way and I know you are waiting. They say the biggest expression of love is when we let someone go despite the pain we feel.

    I am aware I could go to heroic measures. I know I could take you through procedures, but that would mean more suffering. I have had many breakdowns today. Walking through the airports, not caring if someone sees me crying. I know I am coming home to help you and it feels like someone ripped my heart out. 

    I so don’t want to let you go, but I know that the biggest expression of my love is to let you go.

    I will cuddle you, I will kiss you, I will lay down beside you and then I will let you go because I love you.

    I am writing this letter on the plane to pass the time, ease the pain and be closer to you.  

    You, Mr. Skai Wantstofly, are the big reason why my life has been so good. You taught me how to be a better vet and a healer, you showed me how to be a better person and that the biggest purpose in life is to help others and spend time with family and friends.

    So, when I get to Vancouver we will act like big boys who know that the real you is timeless and limitless and that in our world you will never leave. I could hang on for a little longer because many people do. Often, I have seen people hanging on for too long. I know you loved to run and I really do not want you to suffer, unable to walk and not eating. You are telling me to let you go.

    You see, I am terrified right now, but I know I need to be strong. As a vet, I have seen many heartbreaks but I also learned that the biggest expression of love is to let you go my friend, even though it hurts like hell.

    Just hang on Mr. Skai, I am coming….

    __________________

    Note: I arrived in Vancouver at 1 p.m. on Wed. May 17, 2017. When I got home, Skai was waiting on his favorite sofa, a pillow under his head. (He loved pillows) We spent a few hours together. He had his loved ones by his side. He passed away at 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time at his home in North Vancouver, Canada.

    Our hearts are broken and it will take time to recover from losing him so fast.

    My family and I thank you all for all the messages of support and encouragement.  

    I promise I will continue to be there for you and your dogs as soon as I can.

    With love and gratitude,

    Dr. D

     

     

    Mr. Skai Wantstofly  2001 - 2017

    © Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

    Comments

    Monica Hoersch

    Monica Hoersch said:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, he certainly lived a full and happy life on all his adventures with you. I lost a special girl last year and am still hurting from that, just take your time and the healing will happen. RIP Skai ???

    Debbie

    Debbie said:

    I’m so sorry for your loss Peter as I know it well. RIP Skai you will be loved and missed forever.

    Barbara Larson

    Barbara Larson said:

    I am in tears. I had to put my beloved boy down 4 weeks ago. I am lost as I’m sure you are. You were a wonderful dad. Prayers are with you at this most painful time.??

    Mary

    Mary said:

    I am so sorry. He was clearly an amazing creature and friend.

    Evonne and Abe

    Evonne and Abe said:

    I am heartbroken. I am so sorry, so very sorry! I just don’t have the words. Big hugs and can’t wait to really give you a hug!
    We love you!

    Carole Ann Lewis

    Carole Ann Lewis said:

    I am so very sorry for the loss of your friend. Your letter was beautiful. Skai had a wonderful, adventure filled life and knows he was very loved.

    Mary

    Mary said:

    So sorry for your loss Dr.D. Ski will always be with you. RIP Skai

    Terri Spence-Ptolemy

    Terri Spence-Ptolemy said:

    What a wonderful eulogy for your best friend, Dr Dobias, thank you for sharing. I am so sad for your loss, RIP Skai. Thank you for all you share about looking after our furry family members.

    Jan

    Jan said:

    My heart aches along with yours. Prayers that your grief will be lifted by memories of his love for you.

    Sheena cunningham

    Sheena cunningham said:

    Dr D my heart breaks for you as I read that your beloved Skai has gone to the Rainbow Bridge. We have let 2 amazing dogs go in peace and pain free.
    Because of you we are giving our 3rd dog the Dobias lifestyle….wish we had found you before. We know how much pain you are in but you were the best Dad to Skai…you were unselfish and let him go when the time was right for him because it is never right for us! God Bless You and Skai xxx

    Suzanne

    Suzanne said:

    You were perfect together, you are both so very fortunate to have found each other. Peace be with you both.

    June

    June said:

    My heart is breaking for you. What a sad day, but what a happy full life he had. Thank you for sharing the letter and pictures. Take care, as you know only time will ease the pain.

    Hresa

    Hresa said:

    I am so truly sorry for the loss of your Skai. Cherish the beautiful memories you have of him, he will always live in your heart. Fly free and rest easy Mr. Skai Wantstofly ❤️

    Benito Luigi (w/Mom)

    Benito Luigi (w/Mom) said:

    We hope these memories will continue to give you strength when you need it the most & that you will continue to find him within his Brightest Star☆Benito Luigi (w/His Mom) Under the Light of His Beloved Brither’s Brightest Star

    Eo McNeil

    Eo McNeil said:

    Oh, Dr. D….I am inconsolable as I write this. I feel your loss and sadness and it pains me that you are going though this grief right now. It is the worst!

    For the past couple of days, I have been checking your FB page for an update. I was not expecting this sad news and I am totally shocked and devastated to read that Skai has left us. Yes…us…He was such an intricatal part of everything you stand for and we believe in.

    Please stay strong…this is a tough one. My thoughts and prayers go out to you, your family and the community that is grieving right along with you right now.

    RIP, sweet Skai….now you are free to fly!

    Hugs, Eo

    Ava Coleman

    Ava Coleman said:

    My heart breaks for your loss . If I die and am reincarnated , I hope it’s as your dog…

    Linda

    Linda said:

    No words can ease the pain of a broken heart. Hope you find peace and comfort. A bond that you had can never be broken. Love is forever. He lives on. ?

    Rache Marie

    Rache Marie said:

    No words very heavy Heart ❤️

    Carolyn Heimann

    Carolyn Heimann said:

    My heart is breaking for you! I am so very sorry for your loss. I have two dogs of my own, one 14 and our newest Rescue who is 8. I want to thank you and Skai for helping to make their lives better by caring so much about our fur babies. Prayers for your aching heart! Run happy and pain free Skai! Your Dad will see you again someday! Peace and love to you and yours!!!

    Lisa Gilmore

    Lisa Gilmore said:

    So sad. Crying and reading your letter with Cale. We both miss Skai so much. Sending you love, peace & light to help through this incredibly difficult time. ???❤️ I know Talus will be there to greet Skai at the rainbow ? ?bridge and have a play.

    Tayler muskett

    Tayler muskett said:

    So very sorry for your loss. What a life that pup lived <3

    Melinda

    Melinda said:

    My tears are flowing, my heart his heavy, my prayers are for you, Dr. D. Like so many others, I, too know your ache.
    There are no words. I am so so sorry❤️

    Diana Lorenzen Collins

    Diana Lorenzen Collins said:

    I am in tears for you!! What a beautiful,eloquent letter..you’ll see your boy again one day! ???

    Claudia

    Claudia said:

    Very, very sad …..sorry for your loss !!!

    Kim Bradley

    Kim Bradley said:

    My deepest condolences to you! But what a rich life you both enjoyed together…a bond that death simply can’t destroy! Rest in the knowledge that you did your very best for your wonderful doggie…right to the end.

    Ms Penny

    Ms Penny said:

    So terribly sorry to hear about your loss of skai…i am crying with you and wish strength for you as you grieve…

    Lynn Bellamy

    Lynn Bellamy said:

    What a wonderful life the two of you had – lots of love, adventures and happy memories. RIP Skai knowing that you left peacefully in the arms of your special human.

    Patricia

    Patricia said:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I cried throughout your eulogy as it brought back the pain I felt when I had to put my 14 year old Shih Tzu. I cried for months and vowed I would never have another dog. God had other plans tho and sent me 3 over a 8 month period of time. Nothing can replace the dog you lose but your heart can certainly love again. In my case I have 3, all different and very special and they all have my heart. You will always miss Skai, but the day will come when a dog, probably one different in every way possible, will find it’s way to you and into your heart. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Rose

    Rose said:

    So very sorry for your loss. Nothing better than a dog’s love. Blessing to you and yours at this time of deep sorrow :(

    Kim Marks

    Kim Marks said:

    I am so sad to hear about Skai passing from this life. I loved to hear about his adventures with you. what a wonderful soul.

    Nicole

    Nicole said:

    So sorry for your loss Peter & family.
    I know this pain all too well.
    Skai will always be looking over you.
    RIP Mr. Skai Wantstofly. xxoo

    Patti

    Patti said:

    Peter, I am so sorry for the loss of your Skai, such a beautiful loving furbaby. I hope you find peace in your heart.

    sue

    sue said:

    I am so sorry, sad and devastated. We will miss hearing about his adventures, Skai and you both inspired us to do better by our dogs. Deepest sympathies.

    Dolores Matthys

    Dolores Matthys said:

    My tears are flowing… I’m so sorry for your immense heartbreak. It’s a feeling which is all too familiar. Sending much love to you and those close to you. Skai will be by your side, always, just like my Squirt will always be with me. Much love and strength ?

    Virginia Yates

    Virginia Yates said:

    My heart goes out to you and your family. You were so lucky to have him and he was so lucky to have you. I am sending love and healing energy from Montana.
    jenn

    jenn said:

    A day of tears that keep flooding….as Chris Cornell sang for us all…..

    “Scar On The Sky”

    As I fall I leave this scar upon the sky
    A simple note for you, I’ll wait for your reply
    And in your answer I’ll regain my will to try

    So hover in the diving light
    We will rip the night
    Out of the arms of the sun one more time
    Close your eyes and we will fly
    Above the clouded sky
    And over the dumbstruck world we will run

    In these hills they wash the golden grains away
    To the valley under all of this I lay
    And may you dig me out unearthed and saved

    So hover in the diving light
    We will rip the night
    Out of the arms of the sun one more time
    Close your eyes and we will fly
    Above the clouded sky
    And over the dumbstruck world we will run

    We can rip the night
    Out of the arms of the sun

    A blood red feather leaves a scar upon my hand
    No longer scrounded like a painted bird on a fan

    So hover in the diving light
    We will rip the night
    Out of the arms of the sun one more time
    Close your eyes and we will fly
    Above the clouded sky
    And over the dumbstruck world we will run

    We can rip the night
    Out of the arms of the sun

    Natasha Thompson

    Natasha Thompson said:

    So sorry to hear this. Well done for giving him a beautiful life.

    Janine

    Janine said:

    I’m heartbroken for you….it is the hardest thing losing your best friend, your little brother. He is waiting for you on the other side

    Barb

    Barb said:

    Sending my deepest sympathies at this very difficult time. Hope it helps to know that Skai will be waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge where he has been made whole again and not suffering. RIP Skai

    Kelly

    Kelly said:

    So sorry for your loss. I lost my best friend in November and didn’t want to see him suffer either. Skai was very lucky to have you. Take care.

    Jody Freeland

    Jody Freeland said:

    It is truly a sad day. I’m so sorry for your loss. I really have no words, but I share my tears with you and your family.

    Rita Nixon

    Rita Nixon said:

    I am so very sorry for your loss…RIP Skai..Peter remember the good times and know that love never dies….Skai lives on in your heart…he will never leave you…

    vicky

    vicky said:

    I am so so sorry to hear this terrible news. I shed tears for Skai’s passing and for all of his family and friends.

    rozanne

    rozanne said:

    I have felt so fortunate to find your website . To see that a dog could have a good life with health and vibrancy. I almost list my dog last year to a serious operation so I have great empathy in your loss. I am sending love and support in my meditations and prayers during this difficult time. We are a world community here to comfort each other in the adversities and changes in life. Blessings to you.

    Mary-Lyn

    Mary-Lyn said:

    I’m so sad to read this. My heart hurts for you and the rest of Skai’s friends and family.
    So sorry.

    Diana Lorenzen Collins

    Diana Lorenzen Collins said:

    Dr.Dobias,

    I’m POSITIVE you will see Skai again!! (I am unable to edit my post above of ACCIDENTAL ???‘s) …grieving for you right this minute.. :-’(

    Joanne

    Joanne said:

    I am in tears reading your letter to skai. I am so sorry for your loss Peter. I just walked by your house and saw cars but no lights on in front. I know what you are going through from past experiences but this is so fresh and heartbreakingly painful. I think that when it’s time to leave, animals know it, and they cross the rainbow bridge in sheer pleasure but to us it’s a burden we have to live with for a long time before it gets easier. My heart goes out to you. It’s a very sad time. Hugs, and love

    Bonnie

    Bonnie said:

    So sorry to hear of your beloved Skai’s passing. I know you loved him BIG! May the many wonderful memories of times you shared with him bring you peace.

    Samantha

    Samantha said:

    I’m sorry for your loss. No words I can say will make things better. The love and healing of our animal companions is unconditional and timeless. I see as an empath and psychic bonds beyond explanation. I’m weeping as I have read your words and send Light and Love your way.

    Pam

    Pam said:

    My heart hurts for you as the pain of loss is still fresh in mine. What an amazing life you gave him and what amazing gifts he gave you in return. I always say, I did a lot for my boy in the end but I would do it all again in a heartbeat because of all he did to take care of me.

    Debbie

    Debbie said:

    So sorry for your loss Peter & Dean, I am privileged to have had the opportunity to know Skai, he was truly an amazing dog. My heart breaks with you! Forever in my heart.Debbie Benson ?

    Joan billesberger

    Joan billesberger said:

    My Dear Dr. Peter,
    the best vet in the world. My heart goes out to you. A big hug from me and Adera. You have always been there for me and your other clients and friends, now it’s our turn to support you in your grieving. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Joan

    Kathleen Smith

    Kathleen Smith said:

    I am deeply sorry for your loss. Skai is a beautiful soul and I can feel your love for him every time I read your posts; it warms my heart to feel such love. May fond memories ease your pain. This is a lovely letter to Skai and I’m crying as I read. My sweet boy got his wings last September and he was the world to me as well. You had a very special relationship and be very proud of the wonderful life you provided to Skai. Big hug!

    Michelle Gurney

    Michelle Gurney said:

    Thank you for sharing such an emotional, true, tender, raw reminder of the love that we give and get from these special four legged blessings that come into our lives. There are no words to express how sorry I am for your loss. My heart is very heavy with learning of the passing of Skai but it is also refreshed in reading of how much love this boy brought into your life and I am sure many others.

    Debbie

    Debbie said:

    So sorry for your loss Peter & Dean, I am privileged to have had the opportunity to know Skai, he was truly an amazing dog. My heart breaks with you! Forever in my heart.Debbie Benson

    Barb

    Barb said:

    I am so sorry to hear about your baby. He sounded like an amazing guy. When I first read about him it gave me hope that my boys would be around for several more years. I had two German Shorthair Pointers. I just lost boy Chief on May 7th when they found a tumor that ruptured in his spleen. He was only 10 1/2. My hearts aches because I miss him so much. My heart,aches for you as well. I’m so blessed to still have his brother Wilbur to help me through this. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Colette Okamoto

    Colette Okamoto said:

    I am deeply sorry to hear of your loss. Skai was an inspiration to me, to the point that I changed the way I cared for my babies. I wanted them to be as healthy and happy as he was. I am going to miss his blogs and adventures. Rest in Love Skai Wantstofly!

    Carole Johnston

    Carole Johnston said:

    your loving letter is so beautiful – sad to Hear of Skai’s passing – sending love and strength at this most difficult time -

    Cathy

    Cathy said:

    So very sorry for your loss. It’s been 5 years since my Hudson passed. He was a collie husky x and 7 years since Maguire my malamute passed. They were both my rock in bad times and the most fun to just hang out with all the time. I was so fortunate to have had them in my life and would have them both back in a New York minute…..May he RIP and may you, and all who had the pleasure of knowing him remember him with love. Stay strong.

    Maureen Russell

    Maureen Russell said:

    I am so so sorry to hear about Skai. I’m crying as I write this. He sounds like he was one amazing dog. I loved it when “he” would post his letters. Truly a very sad day. My thoughts are with you

    Lana

    Lana said:

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your beautiful companion, Skai. I’ve loved reading of your adventures over the past few years and was sorry to hear of the airport incident that set him back.

    He couldn’t have had a more fulfilling life, and I’m sure he’ll be waiting for you to reunite at rainbow bridge.

    “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”

    My sincerest condolences…

    Bet Turnbull

    Bet Turnbull said:

    God sent Skai to you. To be your best friend, your teacher, your guardian, to show you love. In return you were his DAD, his friend, his guardian and returned that beautifu love to him. My heart likewise is broken along with you. It is so important to think about what you had together. Just picture the peace he is experiencing in Heaven and will continue to be watching out for you. You have come full circle and will be together again one day.
    Bless you. One day you will realize time is healing. It will happen.
    My heart aches for you, and all who knew this beautiful friend.

    Micki Ashurst

    Micki Ashurst said:

    My heart is absolutely breaking. I’ve known Skai since he was a puppy, and loved him very much. And I’ve always been afraid of you losing him, knowing your closeness. Having lost our first soul mate Montana and many things has taught me that there is no greater heartbreak. Thank God you could be there with him at least for his last few hours. I’m forever grateful to have known him, and now I wish that you can find consoling and peace with your loved ones and in your memories. Our hearts are with you.

    Linda Dallas

    Linda Dallas said:

    Peter & family: I’m in tears reading the news & your letter. Skai, you were very special to those of us lucky enough to meet you, we will see you again.

    Jocelyne Monette

    Jocelyne Monette said:

    Oh Peter …. I am so sorry ,,, I dreaded reading this post .. I cried as I read your words as I can only imagine your deep deep sadness and loss. The grief journey you are embarking on is a testament to the unconditional love and bond shared with Skai. One day, the cloud will lift and the memories will not only provide you peace and serenity, but your heart will smile at having known such a beautiful soul.I want to leave you with a favorite quote of mine by AA Milne / Winnie the Pooh:“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” Sending you hugs and light …Godspeed Skai WantstoFly!!

    Cindy

    Cindy said:

    I’m very sorry to hear about Skai.
    I let all of my dogs go when they let me know it was time. Only one had to die on his own because the vet refused to believe me when I said he was dying.
    All of them are still close in my heart.

    Peter Calandra

    Peter Calandra said:

    Very sorry you had to let Skai go. I know how much a part of your life and happiness he was and that’s what makes it so devastating. With each dog we love and then help pass it gets harder instead of easier. I suspect that it’s because from each dog we learn valuable lessons and those lessons accumulate along with our devotion to the canines. I never thought I could give my dog a syringe of insulin every 12 hours but I do, and I know his raw diet and your powders are sustaining him 2+ years after his diagnosis. Peter, I hope you take some time for yourself to grieve your boy. His love will never leave you, in fact he is now part of you. Blessings to you and your family.

    - Peter

    NICOLA DeSousa-Heide

    NICOLA DeSousa-Heide said:

    What a beautiful heart felt letter. I am sorry for your loss. Until you meet again….

    Trudee B

    Trudee B said:

    Your love letter to Skai is awesome. He waited for your return and how blessed you were to comfort him. That shows how much he loved you in return. He knew you would grieve more deeply if he didn’t wait. Love endures for eternity. I believe you will be united again, in time. That is your wish and his.

    Sharon Shaw

    Sharon Shaw said:

    So heartbroken….Dr. Dobias, please know that Skye is free and happy, and looks down at you with love and gratitude….
    Much love,
    Sharon in Miami

    Tammy

    Tammy said:

    Dear Dr. D: During this last year, I had to say goodbye to both of my dearest friends, aged 16 and 17. It was as you say
    the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. A kind friend gave me a card with this written on it: “It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are”.

    Gail Simms

    Gail Simms said:

    I am heartbroken for your loss of your best friend. I know Skai will always be with you tucked in your heart and guiding you through the rest of your life.
    They are truly Angels amoung us.????

    Gretchen Mayer

    Gretchen Mayer said:

    My ❤️ goes out to you. Skai is an inspiration to me for my 10 year old Coco. Thank you so much for all you shared.

    Wanda and Graeme

    Wanda and Graeme said:

    We are both crying for you and Skai. We will miss the adventures. We’ve been reading your adventures for so long we feel a part of your lives. Our Aussie is now 14 and not doing very well and after reading your story we realize that a decision must be made for his best interest. I know we hold on too long hoping for a miracle but in reality it is inevitable. Time will heal and don’t forget, we all get to see our best friends some day at Rainbow Bridge.

    Audrey Vlasvich

    Audrey Vlasvich said:

    Dear Dr. Peter, I am very sorry about Skai’s passing, he was very lucky to have had a wonderful life with you. I was frequently checking your site, looking for updates on Skai, and so sad to hear this news. I am so glad you were able to get home to him. he knew you were with him again. I’m sorry for the pain you are in, I know it’s intense, I’ve been there. God bless you all.

    Rebecca Bickerstaff

    Rebecca Bickerstaff said:

    Times like these, words are so inadequate. Their unconditional love goes beyond physical realms, and remains beyond those same realms and more. I often wonder, who is really the Guardian? Godspeed Skai!

    Jennie Watkins

    Jennie Watkins said:

    Dear Dr. D. Thank you for telling us all of Mr. Skai’s passing. My heart breaks for you. It is clear Skai was a very special being. Take care of yourself and know others are thinking of you and Skai.
    Thanks to both you and Skai for the work you have done.

    Steve

    Steve said:

    Hello Dr, I am about to lose my Rough Coat Collie named Sydney and I am having a tough time to know when it is time, I am hoping she will tell me . I have followed you and Skai for many years and had good luck with your products. I am very sorry for your loss and having a very tough time here in Victoria. My Collie still wants vto walk everyday. Steve

    Georgia

    Georgia said:

    Oh Dr. D, I am heartbroken for you. Tears are rolling down my face as I think of you and Skai and those who love both of you. As soon as I discovered your website ,I could feel through your writings just how much Skai meant to you, just as my Ari means to me. My dog is ten and I follow the same way of taking so much care of him as you did for Skai Thanks to you and Skai , I think he still has many good years. I know this might sound crazy, but when you are at your stillist you will feel him around you. That is because he is around you.These are such special souls. Both of you have helped so many. He is there to help you get through this , if you listen in your stillness. RIP Skai ,one of the best dogs I never met.

    Tanya

    Tanya said:

    Dr. D and Skai…..the bond you shared can never be broken, not with death, nor sorrow nor pain. You will meet again and soar together. He is waiting for you in the Happy Hunting Grounds……

    Carol Wallach

    Carol Wallach said:

    Heartbreaking news of your beautiful pal Skai. He is in many people’s hearts form your posts. I’ve lost my oldest dog and cherish the times we’ve had together. but I have always gained another dog at some point. You and Skai have been very inspirational, I know he’ll always be with you.

    Ulla ogasawara

    Ulla ogasawara said:

    I am just heartbroken . I was praying that Mr.Skai would heal . I am crying now , both for you and for myself .Reading your letter brought back the memories of my dearest Standard Poodle who died in my and hubby’s arms 2 1/2 years ago . He was 11 years 9 months old . I have never felt a sadness and loneliness that I felt that time …..I can only say I am so so so sorry for Mr.Skai passing away . Sincerely Ulla. ( I have a little dog , Marc 9 yo who helps me when I am sad )’

    Tina

    Tina said:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet Skai. There is no greater love than our dogs and when they pass the pain is at times unbearable. I have tears thinking of what you are going thru but the years of love and devotion and memories is priceless . You were a wonderful dad to Skai and Skai had wonderful life.

    Brenda

    Brenda said:

    So sorry to hear about the loss of your boy! I too know the pain of losing a fur child…my miniature Schnauzer passed away at the age of 13-her name was Jaqueline. She too waited for all the family to come home to say goodbye to us. She could barely walk but she climbed up onto her favorite spot on the sofa-she loved sitting next to the window to scare away the squirrels that would dig up our plants. She protected us in every way she could. Saying goodbye was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do but like you said, it’s not all about us..we have to think of them and take care of them as much as they took care of us. My heart is with you and your family

    Brent, Amanda Our 3 dogs Molly,Maggie and Tazz

    Brent, Amanda Our 3 dogs Molly,Maggie and Tazz said:

    Sorry for your loss. Hope the pain of his loss subsides and happy memories help to soothe the pain.

    Krista

    Krista said:

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your dear sweet Skai. My heart is breaking for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and everyone who loved him.

    Thomas and Sandra Gebhart

    Thomas and Sandra Gebhart said:

    We are in tears reading your letter to Skai Wantstofly while remember in our mind all amazing time we passed with your and Sky. We am so sorry for your loss Peter. Our heart goes out to you . It’s a very sad time. Hugs, and a lot of love
    Annette

    Annette said:

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. Our pets are such a part of us. Our 17 yo whippet Ksee is starting to fade and it saddens me so. Take comfort in your many memories and know we are grieving with you.

    Anjani Edwards

    Anjani Edwards said:

    I cannot make it through your letter to Skai. I am crying for you and your immense loss. For my own losses, for anyone who has loved and lost a beautiful fur-friend and for the fur creatures who have no one to love them as surely as you loved Skai. I am so sorry.

    “You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

    vera

    vera said:

    RIP BABY DR SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS VERY HARD TIME. .BEAUTIFUL MESAGE RIP SKAI TAKE CARE WE ALL NEED YOU

    Diedre

    Diedre said:

    His spirit will always be with u
    ❤️??? Now and forever

    Nancy Robertson

    Nancy Robertson said:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I had so hoped that once you got home Skai would improve. The loss of a best friend like Skai is unbearably painful. But he will forever live on in your heart.

    Ella

    Ella said:

    I’m so sorry for your lost. R.I.P Skai. I lost my Elly just a month,still hurting and is difficult time.
    Be strong. Skai – He will always be with you.

    Patricia

    Patricia said:

    My prayers go out to you Peter, What precious memories of you both to have and to hold in your heart forever.
    Love’n Light, Patricia,
    Rio, Si & Jaia

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xCGibIVp3Q

    Eleonora

    Eleonora said:

    Dear Dr D,

    I am so sorry that time came and one more time so grateful you shared this with us.
    I had a similar relation with my passed away doggy : he pulled me up, made me discover I wanted and could do better, saved me so many times. He was and still is my dear best friend, and like you I felt that nevertheless th I had to not be selfish, let him go that day, and promess him I’ll keep going, because I could see in his eyes he was worried to let me. So I put my eyes in his eyes, told him that thanks to him I was stronger, that I’ll keep going and well, and wanted him now to just think of him because made me strong that

    Wendy Galt

    Wendy Galt said:

    Peter and family, I am so sad and sorry to read this post. I have been thinking about you as I read your post, that you were heading home. I so hoped the outcome would be better. Thoughts are with you at this difficult time. You have so many great memories to cherish.

    Jana

    Jana said:

    I’m deeply sorry for your loss, and although I’m just someone who follows your blog, I’m grieving with you this evening. We lost our beloved mini-schnauzer unexpectedly, nearly 7 years ago now. It still hurts though I firmly believe she’s in a far better place and I know we’ll see her again. Perhaps she and Skai are enjoying a game of fetch or something as I write this. I’m local to you so if there is anything at all that I can do please don’t hesitate to reach out. God bless xxxxxx

    Jan I.

    Jan I. said:

    The moment I saw your facebook post, my heart stopped. After reading your letter, my heart has broken into countless pieces.
    I am sooo very sorry to hear the news of Skai….so very, very sorry.
    You provided such an amazing life to Skai. I am so very sorry….so very sorry.

    From Harry and Beulah carr

    From Harry and Beulah carr said:

    Dr Dubias,we are terriably sorry to here about the accident and death of Sakai,it really break our heart, we lost our ten year old lab last year and it is very heart broken so we know just how you felt our deepest sympathy to you god be with you.

    Phylis Brown

    Phylis Brown said:

    This is so heartbreaking, so many tears are being shed all over the world tonight. My deepest condolences to you Dr.Peter and your family and all those who loved Skai. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures throughout the years. Rest in Peace dear Skai.

    Olivia

    Olivia said:

    So very sorry to hear what has happened. We know the pain, but yours is doubly so with Skai being a service dog. Please accept our condolences and hope you know Skai will be watching over you.

    Wayne Spurgeon

    Wayne Spurgeon said:

    So Sorry for your loss – It hurt so much reading your letter but also a blessing to feel so much love – This reminded me of my love ones that have gone beyond rainbow bridge – The pain crushes me when i must say by to my loved ones but i always wind up with another in my life because to live without my companions is even a greater pain. I now have Miss Maggie (8 years) & Mr WolfStorm (1 & 1/2 years) – But i still cry over Lord Falcon & Lady Princess & Sheeba – I feel your pain, Its a pain no human can cause me to feel

    Heather

    Heather said:

    I was so sorry to hear about Mr Skai, my heart aches for you. I was in tears reading your letter as I can tell how much you loved your wonderful dog. Thank you for the courage to share those feelings. I often look at my 10 year old Vizsla with his greying face and think “please don’t ever leave me”, he is my soul and heart just as Skai was yours. I am sending you wishes for love, peace and comfort…
    “all you have loved in your life and have been loved by are eternal and true” …

    Denise

    Denise said:

    I am sorry for your heartbreak. Losing the animal that we love most in life is a painful journey, that time alone will ease to a degree. I hope that your journey is filled with love, peace and memories.

    Gail Bright

    Gail Bright said:

    To Skai’s family,
    Peter and Skai you have been heavy on my heart for the past few days. So sorry for your loss. It truly is a pain like no other and they live in our hearts forever till we meet again. I sit here sobbing because I know the pain. Blessings my friends and as I look at your pictures what a wonderful life you had together.?❤️

    Eleonora

    Eleonora said:

    Dear Dr D,

    My deepest and warmest condoleances.

    I am so sorry that time came and one more time so grateful you shared this with us.
    I had a similar relation with my passed away doggy : he pulled me up, made me discover I wanted and could do better, saved me so many times.

    He was and still is my dear best friend, and like you I felt that nevertheless th I had to not be selfish, let him go that day, and promess him I’ll keep going, because I could see in his eyes he was worried to let me. So I put my eyes in his eyes, told him that thanks to him I was stronger, that I’ll keep going and well, and wanted him now to just think of him because he made me strong enough for that too.
    All my childhood and life I took care of others and Jerry was the one taking care of me till the last drop of his incarnation.
    I thank him for that too, hold him dear in my heart for that too : I deserve me too to be loved like I love others.

    Your letter to Mr Skai made me remember my Jerry, my love for him, his love for me, made me love even more your Mr Skai and you for being a such human being in this crazy world.

    Thank you, love and gratitude,
    Eleonora

    Stacey

    Stacey said:

    A beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend from a devoted owner. Run free over Rainbow Bridge Mr.Skai x

    MONIKA BARBOSA

    MONIKA BARBOSA said:

    I’m so sorry for your loss! I have once suffered the same and know exactly what you feel….there are no words to describe..
    crying for you .Good memories and a forever love in your heart and soul.

    Stephen Crouse

    Stephen Crouse said:

    Greetings brother Peter,
    The words"Today is a very, very big day. The kind of day most dog lovers fear more than our own death." are a tough reality as I have 36 produced because I want fertile dogs that have found the darndest ways to have the girls or meander around the boys. I had hoped to find homes when the population was smaller but have a tremendous amount of wet noses and licks as the pack leader. Even now a half a dozen continue with the incorporation of your fermented vitamins into their diet.
    As the inevitable if I live long enough happens, I can relate to your commenters who had no words. The severance from our unconditionally loyal canine friends is increasingly hard on me; I know it is not what God intended. However, death entered creation with man’s sin, and this deeply hard part of being a man is to be a man.
    Thanks for sharing what God has given you. May his love distract you always and especially during this time of “the strange” pain. With love from a distant friend in Tennessee, Stephen

    Manuela Gomes

    Manuela Gomes said:

    It’s even hard to write something after reading this beautiful letter. I am in tears! Skai lived the best life a dog can live and taught not only you but all of us. He will be forever in our hearts. The one and only ambassador <3

    Sharon

    Sharon said:

    So sorry for the loss of your precious furchild .I had to say goodbye to my sweet Sheena on 14/9,she lost her battle with cancer.I share your pain.

    Jill Newby

    Jill Newby said:

    I thought I could not activate your link to access this letter then after several tries I am reading about your loss. I never had the privilege of meeting Skai in person, but I certainly knew him from your newsletters. I am sitting her at my computer with tears streaming down my face as I write this because I know so well how difficult it is to say goodbye to a beloved companion. Skai was the best, and so were you for Skai, and he passed on at a remarkably old age knowing he was well loved. We should all be so lucky! My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Jill

    Kimberly

    Kimberly said:

    Your journey with Skai is one that touched us all. Your loss is our loss and we grieve with you. Thank you for sharing the beauty of your heartfelt letter.

    Pamela Lang

    Pamela Lang said:

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss . It is a very difficult time just know that you did the best you could for him and he did his best for you . Rest in Paradise Skai Wanttofly …

    Alexis

    Alexis said:

    It is 1:29am here and the title caught my attention and I said no not your dog. As I read this my eyes began to water as I really don’t know what to say. O am.somsorry for your loss and will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.

    Olivia

    Olivia said:

    You and Skai have been an inspiration to me. All I want is for my dog to live a happy and wonderful life such as your Skai did. This letter has me in complete tears and this is just proof of how many strangers lives he has touched. Rest in peace Skai. Thoughts of you and Skai from California.

    Livia

    Livia said:

    Dear Peter a Dean,

    I just picked up my phone and saw two words…‘sad news’….and I was terrified to open the whole email. Even as I’m writing this, those tears won’t stop rolling down my cheeks. I’ve never met your Skai but I feel like I knew him so well through your words Peter and through Dean’s pictures. I miss him so much already and my heart is breaking for you.

    I found this poem from Nayyirah Waheed and as I was reading it, I felt a tiny light in my heavy heart…

    ‘the hard season will split you through. do not worry. you will bleed water. do not worry. this is grief. your face will fall out and down your skin and there will be scorching. but do not worry. keep speaking the years from their hiding places. keep coughing up smoke from all the deaths you have died. keep the rage tender. because the soft season will come. it will come. loud. ready. gulping. both hands in your chest. up all night. up all of the nights. to drink all damage into love.’

    I am so very sorry…

    I miss you Skai❤

    craig larsonv youhad.

    craig larsonv youhad. said:

    So sorry for your loss. Knows the luv you had/have for your best friend .I am the same way. .All the best!!!

    Michelle Patterson

    Michelle Patterson said:

    So very, very sorry to hear that the best vet in the world has lost his so loved dog.

    debbie sutherland

    debbie sutherland said:

    Dear Peter
    I remember Skai so well and your beautiful bond with your boy.
    I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I too left on a trip not understanding how bad Kailey was doing and we had some hours together when I got home. The pictures of you and Skai are amazing and you two were meant to be! You had so many joyful times together-pure love.. Thank-you Skai for teaching Peter so much so he could help my dog Kailey. and me. xo

    Barbara

    Barbara said:

    I feel so sorry for your pain losing your beloved dog Skai. I feel your pain because I lost my Tibetan Terrier almost 14 years old in Feb. You get so close to them and your heart beaks when you lose them. It’s true they let you know when they want to go. You have to love them that much to let them. I pray that all the good times you had with him will give you peace and joy. Take care and bless you for being such a wonderful vet and a human being.

    Diana

    Diana said:

    I am crying so much at your raw and beautiful letter to your boy, Skai. You were both incredibly blessed to be paired together on this earth. May you be surrounded by those who loved you both for as long as you need. Cry deeply and long for as long as you need. So many of us followed the adventures of you and Skai and we will continue to hold you in our hearts as you walk this hardest of roads: the incredible loss of your best friend, Mr. Skai Wantstofly. So glad he waited for you. What a blessing.

    Elizabeth Coles

    Elizabeth Coles said:

    I am so so sad for you and the way it all happened. He had such a wonderful life with you. I feel for your pain. Your website taught me and helped my lovely old lady Sandie who,is now 15 years 8 months a collie GSD cross. You taught me and her vets her liver caused her 3 am panting. Without holistic vets like you she wouldn’t be here. I hope so many kind remarks help your anguish at this time, you are not alone.

    Magdalena

    Magdalena said:

    I am so very sorry Dr Peter for the loss of your best friend. Skai was every dog lovers friend and inspiration. He was and will always be the part you and us-your friends. We lost Buzz- BC- couple of years ago and it still hurts. They leave us but stay in our hearts forever

    Maria Belrose

    Maria Belrose said:

    There are no words… Good Speed Skai… Run free and whole again at the Rainbow Bridge.

    fionacrossfield@shaw.ca

    fionacrossfield@shaw.ca said:

    very sorry for the loss of Skai.i lost my Sky last year at 15 like others of mine that have gone before him. He is always with you. I think the best thing I ever heard is the little boy who said to his dad that was sad at the loss of his dog so early is "Dogs don’t need to stay as long on earth as humans because they have learned what humans need 100 years to learn and dogs only need 10 years ’ then they can go to heaven.they are so wise.I have learned so much about life from dogs that I will be forever grateful for the little time I have had with all my dogs.Peace be with you and Skai

    Pat

    Pat said:

    So deeply sorry for your loss of Skai and for your heartache. Mr Skai was a very GOOD dog.

    Rose

    Rose said:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, Skai. I so feel what you you are experiencing as I have lost my sweet and dear furry friends after many years of love and devotion. Thank you for sharing your love for Skai. Blessings to you.

    Cathrine Chartier

    Cathrine Chartier said:

    Dr. Dobias,
    I cried reading your note you wrote to Skai, I"m so sorry for your loss. I believe Skai will always be walking by your side…Energy doesn’t leave. There will be moments his presents will be stronger than other times. Or you’ll have a wiff of his smell….Just know he’s one of your guides…if your in need of guidance, Know he’ll be there for you…
    .Blessings
    Cathrine, Peek and Lucy Chartier xo

    Corrinne

    Corrinne said:

    I am so very sorry, I wish I had some words of wisdom to help soothe your heart……..Mr Skai loved and was loved everyday of your lives together. You were both blessed!

    Amanda Richards

    Amanda Richards said:

    My heart goes out to you Peter!
    Sending you love and hugs!
    ?

    craig larsonv youhad.

    craig larsonv youhad. said:

    So sorry for your loss. Knows the feeling of loosing your best friend! Knows you are remembering all the good times as I would/did!!! All the best

    craig larsonv youhad.

    craig larsonv youhad. said:

    So sorry for your loss. Knows the feeling of loosing your best friend! Knows you are remembering all the good times as I would/did!!! All the best

    Hilary

    Hilary said:

    Thank you for sharing such beautiful memories. I can’t imagine how difficult it must me losing your wonderful friend and companion. Mr Skai will always have a very special place in your heart and will be with always in spirit.
    Thinking of you Peter.

    Rose

    Rose said:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, Skai. I so feel what you you are experiencing as I have lost my sweet and dear furry friends after many years of love and devotion. Thank you for sharing your love for Skai. Blessings to you. Skai will always be with you.

    Cheryle

    Cheryle said:

    May peace be with you all during this most difficult time.

    David Borgula

    David Borgula said:

    Dear Peter,
    I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved Skai…my heart goes out to you. I have a friend, one of the most gifted writers that I know. Chuck wrote this very moving piece about his dog, Mugsley and I thought I would share it with you…I hope it helps in some small way.
    David

    MUGSLEY AT 15

    Boyfriends don’t come my way too often (Yentl: “People are blind.”), but I’ve had my dog Mugsley for eight years now, and I think sometimes that I’ve learned as much about love from him as I would having had a hunky (or even semi-hunky) man in my bed night after night. Mugs has been my main guy for most of those nights, although lately he’s let it be known that he prefers his own bed. Like all old men, he’s coziest in his own digs, not to mention that he’s grown weary, I’m pretty sure, of my constant tossing and turning and fussing. A dreadfully poor fall-asleeper, I get up and down, up and down so many times before finally conking out that at some point in the proceedings I usually thank goodness that there’s not a man around for whom I’d feel the need to fake bedtime normalcy. Of course, the insistent thought right after that one is that the times there was a man next to me for a sustained number of nights were also the nights I slept longest and best; made still at last.

    I got Mugsley, who is a white-with-brown spots Jack Russell Terrier, when he was seven years old and at first he wouldn’t stay in the same room with me, much less sleep in my bed. He’d sit by the front door, waiting, like some be-sad-on-cue movie dog, for his owner to come and get him. Mugsley had been raised, and brilliantly trained, by people who knew somebody who knew my friend Libby, who briefly took him in when his owners decided, reluctantly, that they had to give him away. It seemed they had a new grandbaby in the house that Mugsley was snapping at, leading to an ultimatum by the child’s mother that the dog must go or the baby stop visiting. I never met the man who raised Mugsley but I imagine him as a fellow who is freshly surprised from time to time at how very much he misses his dog and who looks then at his grandkid and wonders if the trade-off was worth it, and then chides himself for even having the thought.

    I always carefully observe Mugsley around babies and young children and can report that he does indeed snap at them. I think it’s because their movements scare him. In children three or four and under there is little predictability of mind and that makes him nervous — he can’t process their wavy, grabby hands and so he lashes out before they can. Something like that. When we’re out walking and come upon little children, one will almost always ask, “Does it bite?” which I think must be one of the first sentences children learn to speak. I always answer “Yes”, and the kids, quite sensibly, made a wide berth around Mr. Mugs, usually walking backwards, never taking their eyes off him. Don’t try to pick him up either, I could add. A couple of years ago I took him to a party and at one point, with my back turned, I heard my friend Joe ask, “Does he like to be picked up?” and before I could turn and call out a warning, Joe had tried to lift him — always a mistake —and Mugsley bit him on the hand. That’s the one and only time he’s drawn blood, but still…be wary. There’s reason there, too. Mugsley, nearly 15 now, has loose leg joints and arthritis and is always aching, so you have to know where his sore spots are, which isn’t too much different, if you think about it, from having a boyfriend.

    In those first months with me, Mugsley slowly made his way down the long hall to the room where we’ve spent most of these eight years, propped up together on my bed, me against pillows and he on my robe at the foot of the bed, which he arranges and plumps up himself with a nudging nose and swiping paw, a process so specific and labored that it never ceases to fascinate and amuse me. Mugsley can’t jump up on the bed anymore, but he can jump off it, although I try now to lift him myself since his hind legs are pretty wobbly. If he jumps off now, he’s liable to limp badly the rest of the day and my heart can’t take that pathetic sight. But it used to be that I had to position the bed in such a way that there was room for him to jump off and make his wild landing — with a legs-splayed slide and a thump against the wall. Apparently, proper bed positioning is an essential component of a dog’s feng shui, a lesson I learned the hard way, years ago, after spending a Saturday afternoon rearranging the bedroom — bed, TV, phone and cable lines — only to discover that it all had to go back because in its new spot there wasn’t room for Mugsley to jump up and down off the bed, and that just wouldn’t do at all. It’s his house, after all; he just lets me room here.

    His name, by the way, was originally Pugsley, or so it says on his papers, after the boy in The Addams Family. Somehow, before my time, it became “Mugsley”, a change I’m grateful for because he can also be “Mugs” or “Muggers”, or when it’s just the two of us, alone and private, “The Mugger Man.”

    Here is what The Mugger Man knows about love: On a hot August night a few years back, I broke up with David, a man I’d come to love, which was a fact I acknowledged to myself, and subsequently, to him, far too late to do any good (“I wish you’d told me this two months ago”). By the night that I made my grand proclamation, and invited David to move in with me, he’d already agreed (he finally informed me) to move in with someone else, a very nice, very rich fellow I’d actually met a time or two and who I knew full well that David was seeing in addition to me. (It was all very modern.) This man, who seemed perfectly decent and who I know adored my guy, had made David — who was on the verge of bankruptcy and whose career was going nowhere and who was forty and terrified — an offer he couldn’t refuse, one that has led, in these intervening years, to world travel, and, presumably, an upgraded credit rating (so who am I to say David was wrong to accept?). Near the end of that long final night David and I were lying atop my bed, sort of wrapped up together — I was sad then, not mad (not yet) and I couldn’t quite let him leave. I started crying, then sobbing, wrenchingly, and then David started crying (he cried all the next day too and isn’t that interesting?), and between us I guess we made quite a racket. While I’d just as soon forget the heart-knotting pain of that night and the time-wasting, regret-filled nights/months/years that followed, the one thing I’ll remember forever is Mugsley, down on the floor, unable to find a spot to jump up onto the bed, going crazy, whining and yelping, craning his head up, trying to get a look, trying to get to me — worried, frantic, mad with loving concern. Mugsley has a painfully loose joint in his left hind leg and at dinner that night I’d been telling David that the vet said Mugs needed $2000 surgery and I couldn’t decide whether to try and raise that. David said that was too much money to spend on a dog, even a great dog (he called Mugsley “Moonpie”). Later, in the midst of all those tears and Mugsley freaking out at the foot of the bed, I turned to David and said, “That’s why you think about spending $2000 on a dog. Because when you’re crying, he comes running.”

    What I’ve learned from Muglsey is that love is a never-ending conversation. He and I are always communicating, talking back and forth, keeping an eye on each other, making each other grin. We read the signs, seeing the changes in each other and making the necessary accommodations; trying this, trying that. He keeps me alert and attentive and I think he’s helped keep me alive. Because there was a period, not so very long ago, when I spent a good deal of my day and brain-time devising my exit from this world — I was so sad and so tired of being inside this mind — and I thought I’d come up with a pretty efficient, low-mess way to do it but I couldn’t figure what to do about Mugsley. I could leave instructions for a friend to take him but I knew that Mugsley wouldn’t survive long under a new roof — it’s the well-worn rhythms of our days that keep him going — and I was afraid too that he’d go nuts when the police came (he hates uniforms) and end up in the pound or worse, and while you hear stories about people taking their pets out, along with themselves, I knew I could never do such a thing, and so I stayed, alongside Mugsley — who kept making me smile, when smiling seemed least likely — while I gave more thought to our exit and how best to work it and after a while I noticed that I’d stopped thinking about it. And so here we still are, me and this dog.

    “I want to live!”, as Susan Hayward exclaimed, which isn’t to say that I’ve been reborn or am bursting out with happiness. Just last night, I was lonely, bitter and scared, familiar feelings that will very likely return after I walk away from this desk. (Here, such feelings serve me.) Yet, Mugsley still needs me; as do many equally swell humans (I’m lucky in love after all). And sometimes lately, more often than in years really, I get this little flutter in the exact middle of my chest that feels like excitement or anticipation and which isn’t based on anything that can be named or anything that’s just happened or is about to happen. I’m remarkably poor right now, always on the edge of ruin, and I’m still single (relentlessly) and I have absolutely no idea what to do with the rest of my life, not even the next 30 days, and yet…and yet, the little flutter comes anyway. From time to time. My old therapist told me once that I was an optimist but didn’t want to admit it, and wondered what I wanted my life to feel like. I drew a blank at the time, but I think that the feelings that give rise to flutter are the answer to his question. They come when I’m aligned with my universe, when I’m fully present (the hardest trick of all); not watching myself waiting to live, but actually living.

    Dogs have a way of keeping you present, because they can’t and won’t fend for themselves for very long. Cats understand that the universe is fickle and that desertion can come at any minute, and so they make a bowl of food last, while dogs gobble it right down, confident that the two-legged giant will soon return to fill it up again. Since I left my full-time job I’m home all the time, and I’ve noticed that on days when I do have work that keeps me out of the house all day, Mugsley won’t eat when I get back, and I realize that he’s rattled and mad at me, as if I’d put a scare into him. I have to woo him back. After eight good years together, the Mugger Man still has abandonment issues.

    It’s 3:21 in the morning right now, and I’m writing, and Mugsley’s behind me, curled up on my bed, right in my sleeping spot, which means it’ll be hot when I finally climb in and I hate that, which I think he must somehow know. He knows so many things. I’ll probably wake him up before I crash, which’ll make him growl at me. I’ll carry him into the bathroom, where I keep an extra leash hanging on the towel hook, and I’ll put it on him and set him out the bathroom window, which is at ground level. I’ll lean out and twist my head up to see if there are stars, and he’ll walk to the full extension of the leash, shake himself — which will make his collar jingle — and then he’ll pee, his head slowly turning, trying to spy the neighbor’s cat. The bonus pee I call it and since we’re heading toward dawn, I may give him a bite to eat, too, to tide him over, both things meant to keep him from waking up too early. His human needs sleep. Mugsley and me, we’re getting this livin’ thing down.

    IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR

    For a man whose dog died just over a week ago, I’m in a surprisingly upbeat mood. Just now, with a good tune spinning on my stereo, I caught myself dancing down the hall. What is this, I wondered, and sat down here to try and figure it out.

    Is this betrayal? What’s the proper timeline for wracked, immobile grief and does a goose step of happiness mean I’m already over the loss of my dog Mugsley, who I loved above all things?

    Ah, but he loved me too—mightily—and what came to me as I sashayed down the hall is that in having been loved—fully, utterly, purely—I’ve been released. Love is an unbinding, isn’t it? We forget that, don’t we? We get it backwards. We pull love in and out in great gulps, but eventually, we forget to let it out. We try to keep it in, keep it ours, like a lungful of air, fearful I guess that if we let it out it won’t flow right back in. So we begin, in small increments—and then fully, tightly—to hold it in, like a possession—as if love’s breath is a self-generating current and not one that’s a back-and-forth exchange—so of course it ends up seeping out the edges, and the force of it—the flow of it—is lost, confirming our deepest fear. I knew it, we say. But maybe love is really meant to be a continuous pull and release—like a heartbeat. A breath in and then a breath out. Mugsley, struggling so to keep breathing, to keep loving, his eyes boring into mine. As if to say, This, this is the lesson. Look at me. This is what I have to tell you. This is my life’s offering. This impossible breath. The machine has failed, the love has not. Take it, then, and give it right back to me. We’ll keep doing that and it will keep me here. Keep us here. Together together together. The Mugger Man would not give up on “together”.

    Grieving is a continuation of loving, and like a fully lived day it can be first one thing and then another. And so I can find myself last night suddenly reduced to hot hot pouring tears at the sight of a puppy on television who looked just like Mugs while tonight I can exult at the song’s beat as I move through my house (his house too; ours). Each action, the tears, the click of my fingers in time to the music, is part of the same thing: I cry because I love and was loved and I dance for the very same reason.

    Just now, while getting up from here and walking back down the hall to change the music, I thought, There’s this too: I can dance because he did not abandon me, my Mugs. He did not reject me or outgrow his love for me. He did not replace my love with that of another. My love was enough. My love was plenty. (“Plenty” is a great word, isn’t it?)
    All the way to the end it was the only love he wanted, all the love he needed. He believed in it so much that kept breathing even when he knew—when he knew—that it was time—past time—to lay his head down and close his eyes. Mugsley, Mugsley, who loved to sleep, would not sleep in the end. Because he wanted to keep looking at me. I walked into the bedroom at midnight that night and knelt down next to him and placed my hand on his heart and I could feel it slowing down—even now I believe that I heard its faltering beat—and I realized that he was dying. Really dying. Right then. Right in that moment. A being. Dying. In my bed (his bed; our bed). Home from a long day at the doggie cardiologist, newly informed, I’d been wailing for two hours at my new knowledge, at my impending loss. Falling to my knees and keening. For myself. Crying for him but mostly for myself. And when I stopped crying and walked into the bedroom and looked at him—really looked at him—I could see, with more clarity than I’ve ever known, that he was dying. Suddenly it wasn’t about me, it was about him, about what I owed him. And so I dropped to my knees beside him and urged him to close his eyes, telling him that this was the moment to rest; that he’d done his work, that it was okay to sleep, that I’d be alright, that he’d given me all I’d ever need—all those words and phrases we speak to the humans we love when we’re trying to cajole them into releasing their final fierce clench on this world. Kneeling there beside Mugsley I remembered how Linda and I had sat on either side of Karen in her hospital bed a dozen years ago and urged her on, urged her toward that damned light—all that clichéd movie-of-the-week jargon that turns out to be how it really works, or, rather, is the language that comes to us in that moment of truth. The soul clinging tight, the eyes wide with a terrible, terrifying urgency, saying No No I will not go; you need me. Mugsley’s eyes said what Karen’s had said. Mugsley, who’d been dying for days, wouldn’t let go and kneeling there, I knew it was because of me. His eyes staring into mine with ferocious intensity. (Love is ferocious, isn’t it? It’s the bite of a maddened hound.) Mugsley, I’m convinced, believed in that midnight moment, that if he kept his eyes on my face then he’d be able to hang on and that holding on was what was required. He couldn’t imagine anything beyond me, beyond loyalty and love. But I could imagine it—I could imagine release for him; the beauty of it, the rightness of it, and that vision is what I was trying to give him with my eyes.

    Mugsley’s eyes, though, that’s what I remember so vividly as I sit here typing. So clear, so wide, you wouldn’t believe it. Holding mine. Saying: I see you. See me. This is what life is, this exchange, from me to you and you to me. This is what we’ve been doing all these years; this is the distillation of all we’ve been together. Mugsley, wanting to give and give and give; give love, just love, because he knew I still needed it, and knew too how much of it I’d given to him. Maybe that’s it. Maybe he was trying to fill me back up, like a transference, a rejuvenation, and maybe that’s why I can dance a little on this night nine days later, because he did it, he succeeded, he filled me back up. Love love love, moving me down the hall tonight, that urgent pulse that for Mugsley, there in that final hour, was stronger and more lasting than any that had ever pumped through the valves and pathways of his earthbound heart.

    Debbi Porter

    Debbi Porter said:

    I am so sorry and sad for you Peter! Skai will be looking out for you as always. Thank you for sharing him with us! Hugs and love to you!

    Debbi Porter

    Debbi Porter said:

    I am so sorry and sad for you Peter! Skai will be looking out for you as always. Thank you for sharing him with us! Hugs and love to you!

    Suzanne Hunt

    Suzanne Hunt said:

    I don’t even have words, but I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face,. weeping for your loss … and for the loss of all of us who have grown to know andlove Skai through you. The measure of your pain, Dr. Dobias, is the measure of your love. And grief is an individual and personal thing. There is no time limit on that, either. Know that you have a whole world of people grieving with you. We will miss you too, Mr. Skai Wantstofly, <3

    Bonnie B

    Bonnie B said:

    This day had to come and you blessed him in every way possible. What a spectacular fellow he was. Rest In Peace, sweet Skai. Take care of yourself, Dr. Peter. You are needed.

    Mark Truscinski

    Mark Truscinski said:

    Dr. D,
    I am sorry sorry for your loss, so sad! Your letter brought tears to my eyes!! May God give you strength and healing for the loss of your best friend!
    RIP MR. SKAI!!

    Sherry

    Sherry said:

    So sad to hear of the passing of Skai. No words will help right now, only time will. He will be dearly missed

    Donna nickens

    Donna nickens said:

    The love we share with our furry family members never stops, Skai was putting you first even at the time of his calling to the rainbow bridge, that unconditional love kept him going so that he could bid you farewell. Love and devotion between man and dog, nothing compares. We lost a great friend on Good Friday, so thankful we had 12 years with our chocolate nose Cooper and everlasting memories to sustain. Remember always. My heart breaks for you,
    Best, donna

    Sandra Daley

    Sandra Daley said:

    Dr Dobias, I am tearfully writing this sympathy note. I expected Skai to make a good recovery and to continue going on adventures with you. Skai’s passing is a great loss, He was an amazing dog and his spirit will live on forever. My deepest sympathy. ❤

    Sherry

    Sherry said:

    So sad to hear of the passing of Skai. No words will help right now, only time will. He will be dearly missed

    BJ

    BJ said:

    So very sorry to hear of Skai passing , our hearts break for you , what a beautiful letter to your boy, R.I.P. Skai, I hope you can now Fly, sweet little Mr wantstofly

    Mary Lou

    Mary Lou said:

    So sorry to hear that, Peter.
    I know it’s difficult for you……for anyone to go through the most difficult time.
    Although I haven’t met him, but he is forever in my heart. A happy healthy dog, forever!
    Yesterday, one of my favorite golden retriever passed away.
    He is my dog’s great-grandfather. After I heard that he was not good, I went to visit him immediately and brought him a gift. I didn’t know the second day was his 12th birthday before I set out from my city. So when his owner told me this, I felt so much blessed.
    His owner told me that he was not good but from the bottom of my heart I really hoped him could recover, although I knew it was almost impossible.
    Then, yesterday, I got the bad news. I have prepared some although, the pain still break my heart. I haven’t recovered yet……
    I can feel what all of you feel now. I just want to say something although may cannot really help. I still hope all of you feel better……
    With lots of love for Skai and all of you,
    Mary Lou

    Kathy Herren

    Kathy Herren said:

    I am crying my eyes out right now and my heart is broken for you. This is a pain beyond imagination. Many, many people will not forget your precious Skai. I know your heart will never quite be the same, but the precious memories will live on and on. As you remember, there will be moments when you cry, but also moments that you smile or even laugh. Those are now your treasures. Thank you for sharing your letter to Skai. Thank you for sharing Skai with us! He truly was incredible!

    Sheila Z

    Sheila Z said:

    So sorry for your loss of Skai. Although new to your newsletters, I felt you had a special bond with Skai. I know it’s hard, if only we could have our pets for so much longer. Keep the good memories you and Skai had together. Every Dog should be so lucky as to have had such good care and life.

    Jan Gordon

    Jan Gordon said:

    He was so very loved and loved back with all he had. I just lost my 15yr old boy my big red Baby BlueDog. My heart hurts my soul is list right now. I know your pain but never forget he had an amazing and long life filled with love a d doing all the fun things dogs love. Hugs.

     Brandi

    Brandi said:

    My sweet babes passed away Jan 3 and then Jan 31…I held them both and thought maybe I would die too. I was just having afew tears when I saw your post… we really relied on your vitamins and advice to keep them comfortable in life and I feel like I owe you a debt of gratitude for your knowledge and passion when other vets told me to give up. I’m still shocked to see them missing every morning but man, did they live it up every day they were here. Thanks for that… sending every bit of love and compassion I can muster. Take care.

    Connie

    Connie said:

    I am heartbroken to hear this news! Skai is our health Hero! A constant model of living life to the fullest by incorporating natural methods and products! Ruby and I are forever grateful for all of the stories and memories that you have shared about Skai (and his family!) Please, know that you are lited up in prayer by so many that love their dog just as you do Skai! Godspeed, Skai!

    Terry Journey

    Terry Journey said:

    Dear Peter, I am heartbroken reading your letter. I just want you to know that I am praying for you tonight. I know, too, that Skai is still with you…and I urge you to keep your heart open so that he may show you, somehow, that he is still there. God bless.

    Joy

    Joy said:

    My heart breaks for you, Dr. Dobias! God blessed us with Dogs to love. Your news and then your letter made me sob. I so honor the way you expressed your love, concern, and care for Skai, and also for all of our Dogs. You essentially saved Samson’s, my Dog, life. When we rescued him, we nursed him to vibrant his health, verified by your HairQ test, with your SoulFood, GreenMin, and Gut Sense. You guide us by your incredible articles and training. I prayed for you and will continue to ask God to comfort your heart as you grieve your loss of Skai Wantstofly. Fond memories of him will live in our hearts forever. Good people (that’s you!) are good to their animals.(that’s you, for sure).~ Proverbs 12:10. With tender compassion, ~ Joy

    Clare McLaren

    Clare McLaren said:

    Peter, my heart breaks for you and with you! Rest his precious and beautiful soul. There are no words I can say and you have said so much so beautifully already, so I send you our love.
    Clare, Rob and Beacho

    Lynne and Monty

    Lynne and Monty said:

    My heart is breaking for you. I am so sorry to hear your very sad news. Both Skai and you are in my prayers and thoughts.

    I was only telling a friend on Wednesday how wonderful both you and Skai were, strange that you came into my mind on that now very memorable day. I have just read your letter to Skai and it made me cry tears of sadness for your loss but also happy tears for the wonderful life you had together.

    Sending you a million blessings. Lynne and Monty (England).

    Jane