Sometimes one special dog touches the hearts of everyone who knows her. Sky was that kind of dog. No one was surprised, then, when she made the ultimate sacrifice to save the man who’d become her closest friend.
Sky appeared one day at Johns Creek Harbor, north of Perth, Australia. Thin and obviously abused, she began hanging around, becoming a fixture at the waterfront. She liked everyone she met but took a special shine to a man named Franz Van Derpoll.
“Everyone at the harbor knows Sky, every single person,” Van Derpoll told The West Australian. “She never left the harbor. [T]hat was her home.” Sky and Van Derpoll soon became constant companions.
“She was with me 24/7,” he said. “If I was driving a fork lift to work she was on the fork lift. [I]f I went out on the boat doing passenger runs she was on the boat with me.”
Heroic Sky Takes Action to Save Her Friend
Fresh fish for dinner sounded pretty good to Van Derpoll one afternoon. As they’d undoubtedly done many times before, he and Sky set out by boat, ending up about three and a half miles away from Johns Creek Harbor. Van Derpoll began his dive, hunting for the perfect fish.
Unfortunately, something was hunting him, too.
Two sharks began circling Van Derpoll. It’s not clear how close they were or at what point Van Derpoll realized they were there, but Sky saw them. She apparently perceived a real threat to her friend. Unbeknownst to Van Derpoll, Sky flung herself out of the boat and into the water.
“She probably decided to jump over the side to protect me and when I came up from my second dive there was lots of blood in the water and no dog,” Van Derpoll told The West Australian.
As you might expect, Van Derpoll is heartbroken.
“[S]ometimes I Wish It Was Me and Not Her.”
Sky and Franz Van Derpoll were special friends. In the beginning, Van Derpoll rescued Sky, but after a while, said his daughter, Kate Freegard, “I feel she is the one that rescued him too.” Van Derpoll, reeling from the loss of his beloved wife, bonded with Sky in a way he didn’t expect.
“I thought I’d never love anything again after my wife died,” Van Derpoll said afterward. “Sky to me, she took Mary’s place when she passed. [S]he was a beautiful person, if you could put a person and dog in the same category that would be Sky.”
Clearly, the feeling was mutual. Without hesitation, Sky did what she felt was necessary to keep her friend safe. Her sacrifice may well have saved his life.
“You only fall in love twice in your life — once with your wife and once with a dog,” Van Derpoll said. “Nothing could ever replace her.”
Van Derpoll grieves for Sky in a way all dog lovers will understand.
“I had two good years with her in the end but sometimes I wish it was me and not her,” Van Derpoll said sadly. “I’m 62 and I’ve had dogs all my life but she was just one of those dogs; Sky was special.”
Indeed, there’s nothing like the devotion of a heroic and faithful dog. Farewell, Sky. The good men and women of Johns Creek Harbor will honor your memory with a special plaque to be installed at the harbor. You will live on in their hearts.
Photo credit (all images): Kate Freegard
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