Skimmer   loved by Elaine Sehnert   Missoula, Mt

You first appeared as a fluffy ball of fur abandoned on our landlady's front porch on Christmas Eve. She immediately knew that this should be a little boy's dog, so you came to live with us and stayed for 13 years. Mark, the little boy who literally grew up with you, named you Skimmer (after a jaunty, brave little speedboat in one of his children's books). From lively puppyhood through adolescence and adulthood to the slowing down of a senior citizen dog, you gave us friendship, companionship, and joy. You were so much smarter than we were and really deserved a family that knew how to train you, but since that isn't what you got, you just trained us instead. You also kept us healthy; that two-mile walk you insisted on every evening (rain or shine) was probably the best exercise program I ever had. Perhaps most important, you loved us unconditionally. In all the families I've been a part of throughout my life, you were the only family member who was always so glad to see me when I got home that you would jump up and down and shout with joy -- every time -- no matter how long I'd been gone. You put up with a variety of cat companions over the years, and right now you're probably at the bridge playing with Angela, Leroy, Max, Jake, Elwood, and the cat that you always stopped to visit on our nightly walks. There won't be any trouble finding you when the time comes; you'll be the one jumping up and down and shouting with joy -- and this time, I think maybe I will be too.

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