17/09/2021 Run Fast & Free Sky Sharam Sunburnt Sky The happiest, most loved little red dog
We lost Sky very suddenly and in tragic circumstances on Friday 17th September 2021. A very brief explanation is that Sky contracted a very rare and extremely severe form of Canine Meningitis, which caused severe brain inflammation and had spread to her spinal cord. She was gone within 48 hours. She was only 3.5 years old.
Sky was a dog who lived her life fully, so it would be doing her a disservice to focus on the tragic circumstances surrounding her death. Instead, I want to celebrate her life, a life that was so large it could barely be contained. If there was a soul on this earth who truly, wholly, and unashamedly loved life, it was Sky. She was joy personified. She radiated joyous energy and love, and she threw herself headfirst into everything life had to offer. Absolutely everything was a fun adventure for Sky, even the most mundane of things. Going out into the yard? Best thing ever!! Doing laundry? Best thing ever!! Assembling furniture? Best thing ever!! She was so much fun to be around and always wore the biggest smile on her face. She poked her inquisitive little nose into everything and followed me everywhere like a little red shadow. She loved to please and I always say she tries so hard to be a Good Girl. You could see it quivering in her body, from her tippy toes to her wet nose to the end of her stumpy wiggly butt. She was so earnest in everything I asked of her and poured her heart and soul into everything we did together. She dove headfirst into every training session, every fun walk, every beach run, every agility lesson – she had hands down the most incredible work ethic I had ever seen in a dog. I don’t think it’s even fair to call it work for her – everything was fun! She found pure, unadulterated joy in absolutely everything she did.
Sky loved to run. She only every had two speeds – running flat out like a speeding little red rocket, or bouncing 6 feet in the air like a kangaroo. She was my bouncy little kangapup and people used to laugh at the sight of her bouncing next to me when we were out on walks. She was a noisy, crazy, little whirlwind of mayhem and sunshine. She ran and ran and ran and ran, and barked with joy as she ran, she jumped and leapt and ran even more. She loved going to parks where there were big empty spaces she could let loose and run as fast as her little feet could go. But no matter how fast or far she ran, she always ran right back to me.
She was so full of love and loved harder than anyone. To those of you who have had the privilege of meeting her, will know that whenever she sees you she greets you as if it were a reunion of a long lost friend, even if it was your first time meeting her. She loved every single person, dog, cat, or creature as if they were her bestest friend. Know that she loved you with all her little doggy heart. She radiated love with every inch of her fur. And I love her more than anything. I hope anyone who has seen us together could see just how much I adored her and how close of a bond we shared. I hope everyone could see how much she loved me back with every fibre of her little being. I hope my love for her was as evident as the clear blue sky because I would have done anything for her. She was and is my little dear sweet baby girl and I grieve myself for not being able to protect her from this horrible tragedy.
I had so many wonderful things planned for Sky’s future. So many trips to go on, so many fun outings, so many adventures that she would’ve enjoyed. We were hoping to start trialling in agility and were excited about starting to enter some trials once lockdown was over. We were halfway through working on a routine for DWD. We were making progress in sheep herding where she was slowly learning that simply yelling at the sheep to move wasn’t going to be enough for them to listen! We were looking forward to performing at the Royal, the Dog Lovers Show, and other dog events with the MCF team. And, this is something that very few people know, but with the help and support of her lovely breeder, I had been planning to breed my very first litter from her. I loved her temperament, her personality, her work ethic, and everything that she represented, so with my breeder's guidance I was considering taking the Breeder’s Certification Exam and applying for my own prefix, to breed her with the hope of a puppy to continue her line. In fact the breeder’s exam package had just arrived in the mail 2 days before Sky left me. At first my thought process was just to continue Breeze’s lines, but over time I wanted Sky in it just as much. So many dreams and hopes for the future, gone.
When I first got Sky as a puppy 3 years ago, I have to admit – the main motivation behind me getting her was so I could have something that would keep me going when I inevitably lose my beloved Breeze. I needed another dog to give me a reason to get out of bed when Breeze leaves me. Sky was the perfect dog for the job. When I first got her, I’ll admit, I didn’t like her very much. I was in a bad place mentally at the time. I also wanted something as similar to Breeze as possible, and I was probably a little resentful that Sky seemed to be the complete opposite of Breeze, although I can see many similarities now. She was a high drive, working dog, and I had no experience with handling that. She was an extremely steep learning curve, and I wasn’t in the right place mentally to be prepared for that. Still, I tried my best and I’m so so proud of the dog she has become. I don’t know how I could ever have felt that way. Very very quickly, I fell head over heels in love with her. How could you not, with a puppy that was just so bubbly and happy all the time?? She became my most precious little baby girl in no time at all. I’m so glad that she turned out to be her own little dog with her own larger than life personality, I’m so glad she turned out the way she is. I poured all my energy and love into raising her, and I am so grateful that she felt safe enough with me to be able to authentically be herself and express herself. Whenever we go somewhere new she gets so excited she has to yell happily about it at the top of her lungs for the first 5 – 10 minutes. At first I was embarrassed, and I worked hard to find ways to mitigate it, but eventually I grew to love that part of her that was so unashamedly unafraid to be herself. Of course, once she had expressed herself, she was bombproof. She was fearless and confident and friendly and I could take her anywhere and everywhere. I felt I could learn something from her about being unafraid of expressing your joy, and voicing your feelings. Now whenever we go somewhere and she is loudly happy, I apologise to the people around us and just explain “She has a lot of feelings!” and they usually nod and laugh and understand. And I understand. And I respond back to her, acknowledging her joy and excitement, and I never want to kill her joy or dampen her enthusiasm for life. I wanted her to stay a happy, crazy puppy, bursting with happiness at every moment, for the rest of her life. I hope I managed to give her that.
The house feels so empty and large without her. She loves to go exploring in her toy box and leaves all the toys strewn about absolutely everywhere, no sooner than when I had just tidied it all up. She loved to play and was ready for a game at any second of any day. She loved pushing her body into the couch and rearranging all the cushions. When Grant and I first moved in together, she was told no dogs allowed in the bedroom! Well of course within two days the hooman bed was her domain. She would launch herself up into the pillows and lay there wiggling her little stumpy tail in such joy and the most earnest look on her face, how could you even tell her no? She loved her cuddles and demanded them incessantly at all times. She would punch you in the groin with her nose if she thought she wasn’t getting enough attention. She would gently pull your hands away from your phone screen to pat her instead! And she would wiggle her way immediately into your heart with every cuddle and kiss. She loved to watch TV – Bolt and The Lion King were her favs. She and grandma Breeze had bucketloads of fun playing every day – games of wrestle, bitey face, tug, and their recent new favourite, Cops & Robbers where Sky would goad Breeze into chasing her, and then do absolute manic zoomies all over the furniture, leaving a trail of mayhem in her wake. She was the best playmate for Breeze and they loved each other. She made me laugh every single day with some funny, weird antic. The house is too quiet now without her constant talking or yelling about something, her little tippy taps of paws running up and down the hall, her constant doggy laughter - the silence and emptiness is unbearable. When you have had the joy of a dog as lively and vivacious as Sky, the silence that unfolds when they are gone is larger and more noticeable than ever.
Breeze is coping– she is strong and steady, and I think she understands what has happened. No doubt she is sad. Nobody is feeling quite right. We all miss her so very deeply. I don’t think I will feel ok for a very very long time. I feel like she was cruelly robbed from me. Like someone has broken into my house and just snatched her out of my arms. Grief is the price you pay for love, and my love for her was immeasurable – so the grief will be much the same.
If there was ever a dog that was put on this earth to teach me a lesson, it would have been Sky. She has taught me so many valuable things. She is the eternal optimist. Life is to be experienced fully. Dive headfirst into everything with your whole entire heart. Love so deeply like you are set on fire. Explore every path, stick your nose into every hole, treat everybody like they were your family, play every game. Eat your veggies (oh gosh she loved her veggies, we always joked about her being a vegetarian). Embrace your body and use it fully – launch yourself into life. I will honour her memory and the lessons she taught me by trying to live my life as best as I can, as vivaciously and as joyously as she lived hers.
Thank you Sky, for giving me the best 3.5 years of my life. Thank you for filling me up with so much love and happiness every single moment. Thank you for being my best little puppy. Thank you my little red bean hazelnut chocolate macchiato mochaccino. I will remember you at every moment, every time I look up at the sky, I know you are here with me. You were perfect. You fought so hard and were so brave. I am so proud of you and no words could express how much you have become a part of me. You are the little red spark that will never go out.
Just after Sky passed, a fiery sunset lit up the sky. I think it was her, living up to her namesake that I chose for her – Sunburnt Sky. I like to think she was letting me know she was OK. And immediately after the sunset faded, it started pouring heavy rain. I think it was the earth grieving for the loss of a dog who loved living more than anything. This profound, deep guttural loss will stay with me for a lifetime. But her love and radiance will stay with me for even longer than that.
I love you so much Sky pup. I can’t wait to see you again and have you bounce into my arms.
Sky came to me as a 9 week old puppy, she is now a 3 year old female red tri Australian Shepherd. She comes from the 'Sharam' kennels and is the direct granddaughter of Breeze! She currently resides in Melbourne, Australia with her owner, her grandmother Breeze and her friend Jiji the cat.
Sky comes from terrific bloodlines, being a Breeze granddaughter and has inherited her grandmother's incredible work ethic, beautiful temperament, intelligence, and will to please. Although they are similiar in many ways, they are also very different in personality. Sky is very loving, she is extremely outgoing, friendly, confident and completely fearless. She is a little "pocket rocket" and learns new things super quick! Like her grandma, Sky wears her heart on her sleeve, she loves everybody and everything, and everyone she meets becomes her new best friend. Sky is now busy exploring her new world as a much-loved pet, as well as following in her grandmother's footsteps in various dog sports including Dancing With Dogs, herding, agility, disc dog and trick dog. We are very excited to see what the future holds for little Sky!
For now, Sky's focus is just to grow up as a happy, confident puppy, she will learn good manners, self control, confidence & relationship building, and most importantly, to simply enjoy life! Sky will also be joining Breeze in her work as a superstar trick dog entertaining crowds across Australia. We also hope that she will eventually qualify to be a Therapy Dog and work in hospitals, schools, and aged care facilities. Sky also knows a variety of tricks and is constantly learning new ones!
Sky has an outstanding temperament, optimistic and very confident. She does have a lot to say sometimes especially when she is excited about exploring new places! However once she settles, her zest for life and happy-go-lucky nature makes her great fun to live with and a joy to take out and about.
Sky's favourite games are catching frisbees (future Disc dog perhaps?!), tug-of-war, puppy burrito, and Beat Grandma Up. She is a huge dork and never fails to make everyone laugh with her crazy antics. She loves running at full speed and is a real working dog. If Breeze was a bit of a couch potato, Sky is the red rocket that never stops! I love her to bits and can always rely on her to always be right by my side, wherever I go.
She is a massive bundle of fun in a little red package!
We are members of: Dogs Victoria Australian Shepherd Club of Victoria (ASCV) Melbourne & District Freestyle & HTM (DWD) Club Inc Australian Canine Scent Work (ACSW) MDBA (Master Dog Breeders & Associates)