As I am writing this, my dog Skai is sleeping on his favorite chair, his legs twitching, dreaming his doggy dreams with his head resting on a pillow.
I never imagined in my wildest dreams my lovely dog could bring so much joy and learning into my life.
I love to ask people I meet how they got their dogs. The stories are often touching and sometimes even dramatic and usually have a happy ending. I very much enjoy hearing them because I know how much dog people love to talk about their dogs. And I am always happy to share the story of Skai.
The year 2001 was a challenging one for me. I went through a divorce, a serious family illness and my veterinary clinic was very busy. I felt a need for balance in my life and decided to get a dog.
A friend mentioned there was a litter of Border Collie puppies at a nearby farm. I did all the research and learned how to test for puppy’s personality traits — only to realize in the end that one doesn’t choose a dog – a dog chooses you.
I sometimes joke that all the canine souls have regular gatherings up in the heavens to decide who is the best match for whom and what lessons they will teach each of us. The whole thing became clear when I decided on a female puppy named Pence. I so wanted her to like me, but she obviously had a different plan. Whenever I approached her she ran away to the corner. At first, I took it quite personally! However, now I am so grateful for her suggesting she wasn’t for me.
Around my third or fourth visit to the farm, I brought a bag of fresh raw bones for the puppies to chew on. I sat down on the ground and every puppy got a bone. That is when I saw the most feisty one of the batch sitting in the middle growling at all the other puppies like a little lion. The farm owner pointed to him saying: “You definitely shouldn’t take that one. He’s going to be aggressive.” Then something magical happened. That little puppy dropped his precious bone and ran straight to me. The decision was made.
In the meantime, another couple arrived at the farm and guess what – Pence, the puppy who didn’t want anything to do with me, ran straight for them without any hesitations. Pence’s new owners renamed her Peggy and I called my new puppy Skai.
Skai is living proof that our dreams create our reality because he is exactly as I imagined. Since the fall of 2001 Peggy’s 'parents' and I, have become great friends. We sometimes joke that we are family through the dogs. Living through the cold and rainy Vancouver winters, I often imagined the dogs running on a beautiful, sun-drenched beach, playing in the waves. And a few years later it really happened. Peggy and Skai each own half a share of a house in Maui!
I wake up every day seeing Skai’s head propped on a pillow. He loves pillows and sleeping in, however, he is always ready for a walk, car ride or another adventure. What he loves the most is being with friends. Skai has been a great teacher in so many ways. He approaches life with joy and excitement and lives in the moment. When he runs on the beach, it's as if the beam of his energy touches everyone around. He turns frowns into smiles and darkness into light.
He loves to run on the beach, enjoying his freedom and coming back every time. He was trained by purely positive methods and still is one of the most thoughtful and obedient dogs I have ever met. He is sensitive and in tune with others and shows empathy with animals and people in distress. He loves his family and friends more than his food or material possessions. He simply smiles at the world and the world smiles back at him.
A few years ago, I made a T-shirt that said: “The best part of my life started with getting my dog.” Now, years later, I would like to add: “and he has been my favorite teacher.” Thank you, my dear friend.
Read my blog post “Why can Skai Fly?” and see how I took him to Paris, flew him on First Class and did it for free!