Let me start by saying, right up front, it’s very hard to get decent photos of Skye. She’s uncomfortable with attention focused on her and that includes a camera. I even tried to get shots of her running around in the kitty enclosure, through a closed door, but she saw me and stopped. I still wanted to make some sort of tribute to her because what she has accomplished in one year’s time is nothing short of a miracle and I feel it deserves to be marked.
One year ago Skye came, literally, in from the cold. I found her running along the road, into an arroyo, after a major snowstorm. She was a puppy, approximately 2 1/2 months old, wild, starving and freezing to death. She was covered with puncture wounds. The vet figured she’d been used as a bait dog to teach fighting dogs how to kill. Her prognosis for anything like a normal dog’s life was not good.
This is the first picture I took of her about a month after she came to stay. She’d done nothing but eat, sleep and drink since her arrival so she’s chubby here. She was still isolated in the mudroom because she was terrified of me and the other animals. Although I’d made her a comfy bed of clean blankets and fleece, she always went back to this dirty old bin, so I put a blanket in it for her.
This was her very first day venturing outside. The mudroom is connected to the kitty enclosure so she had in and out access through a kitty door. My cats were quite gracious about giving up their outdoor privileges. I’d rescued animals before and they knew the drill: The rescued animals were always put in the mudroom and the cats lost their ability to go outside. By this time I was carrying her upstairs every night to sit on my lap for short stretches of time. It was more torture for her than pleasure, but I knew I had to do it if she was ever going to get to come out of that room.
Eventually the day came to give Skye the choice of leaving the mudroom. I opened the door and she didn’t come out for hours. My perfect animal angels gave her all the room and respect she needed. Much as they wanted their mudroom back, they didn’t enter her space. I took no photos that first day or over the first few weeks. She was terribly insecure. But eventually I brought the camera out and snapped a few of her initial efforts at joining the family.
Little by little she became part of the family. She fell for Kelee first and they became inseparable (see previous post, Night Skye).
She gained more and more confidence, took us all on as family and even started to PLAY. The house and kitty enclosure were hers, but she still was too scared to venture out the front door.
And then we arrive at today—her first anniversary of coming to live with us. There was fresh snow this morning and little Skye dove out the kitty door with gusto and started to romp and race in the new white stuff. It was almost as though she was celebrating this anniversary but, truth be told, every day seems to be a celebration for Skye. I grabbed my camera and here’s where she caught me and stopped in her tracks.
I celebrate this day not only because this one particular dog survived and has found a life, but because Skye is an example of life’s yearning unto itself—of life’s indomitable spirit. I think this kind of endurance and healing needs to be acknowledged. Because the fact is we all have it in us—the ability to come through something so painful there’s no knowing whether we will survive it. And yet we can and we do. And we don’t just survive. Sometimes we thrive.
Skye is a reminder to me, every day, that my happiness is a choice, one I make moment to moment. It’s often hard work to heal old wounds. It wasn’t easy for Skye. But we get to choose—bitterness or forgiveness; joy or sorrow; fear or trust; life or a living death. Let’s choose wisely.
Love to you all,