For the vast majority of animal lovers, their pets are not just house guests but are considered members of the family. So when one family left their dog with a sitter when they went on vacation, they were probably nervous about what would happen once they left the animal behind. When they returned home, however, they discovered exactly how the man had treated their fur baby.
James Liakos is a busy young creative based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Originally from Camden, New Jersey, the 37-year-old describes himself as a “filmmaker, photographer, public speaker and environmentalist.” He is passionate about the planet and wildlife, and he uses his work to raise awareness of environmental issues and animal rights.
However, being an animal advocate and capturing creatures on film was not enough for Liakos. He felt that he needed to put his money where his mouth was. So, when he wasn’t out with his camera, he offered his services as a pet sitter. That’s how he came to meet Skylar, an adorable white whippet, in 2009.
Like many of that long-legged breed, Skylar the whippet is a ball of boundless energy. However, that didn’t put Liakos off her at all. In fact, the filmmaker-turned-dog sitter fell head over heels in love with the animal. And he decided to prove his affection by using all of his skills to make a short film about their time together.
The resulting video opens with a scene that shows Liakos and Skylar’s easy friendship. In the footage, the dog jumps up at a baby gate to enthusiastically greet her sitter before beginning to frantically circle the room in excitement. Eventually, though, Skylar settles down with Liakos on the sofa and lovingly licks him all over the face.
The following scenes in the film chart the pair’s subsequent activities. First, Liakos put the outdoor exercises he practiced with Skylar in the frame. The sitter was obviously keen to show the dog’s owners the lengths that he had gone to to keep their pet in good shape. So, the film’s quick edits show off the whippet’s super-fast frisbee catching skills and penchant for racing around the garden.
And after all that working out, Skylar is shown to be exhausted. The next part of Liakos’ film then focuses on the adorable dog bedding down. Yes, one scene shows her climbing into her cage after a long day with her sitter. In the sequence, she settles into her bed with a yawn before presumably drifting off to doggie dreamland.
And the footage captures the love which developed between the director and the canine star, too. In fact, numerous scenes are dedicated to documenting Liakos and Skylar as they cosy up for cuddles, curl up together on the couch and share some sloppy kisses. But like all great romances, theirs was evidently not without a degree of sadness.
You see, while Liakos was shaping up to be a fantastic sitter, Skylar still missed her full-time human carers. In the next section of the film, the whippet cries longingly into the camera as Liakos desperately tries to comfort her. “Don’t start crying on me,” the filmmaker tells her in the moving yet amusing scene. “They’ll be back soon.”
Thankfully, though, the tough times were few and far between for Skylar and Liakos. And their love story was not one without some adventure, either. During their limited time together, the pair enjoyed many great walks, too. The couple’s scenic routes would often take in the local neighborhood and a rather lovely-looking lake.
By this point in the film, the pair’s romance had blossomed Disney style. To demonstrate the point, Liakos included a number of shots of the duo waltzing around the house together. And to make sure that people really understood the strength of their bond, the filmmaker added an inspirational song to the scene’s soundtrack.
And when Liakos and Skylar weren’t celebrating their special connection, they were still creating plenty of laughs. Indeed, the video shows them having lots of fun pretending to be superheroes and frolicking with their beloved frisbee. Throughout the short film, in fact, a smile is never far from either of their faces.
And since the two bosom buddies clearly loved to have fun, it is unsurprising that Liakos struggled to make a straight-faced film about their friendship. As a result, the film concludes with a series of production bloopers. These include one in which Skylar refused to return the frisbee to her sitter. Meanwhile, in another howler, the leading lady wouldn’t stop licking the director’s face.
Like all good things, however, the pair’s romance eventually had to come to an end. Yes, when Skylar’s family returned home from vacation, Liakos had to say his fond farewells to the whippet. Thankfully, though, he had the videos of their time together to help him remember their great friendship.
Then, after editing the footage together and adding captions, Liakos decided to share it with the community on YouTube. The heartwarming video was named Cute Whippet Dog Story: Man’s Best Friend by its creator. And it didn’t take long for Liakos’ and Skylar’s story to make great virtual box office.
Since Liakos posted the video on his YouTube channel in July 2009, in fact, more than six million people have enjoyed watching the rom-com. Moreover, the short film has clocked up close to 400 comments. And it seemed like the online community just couldn’t get enough of Liakos and Skylar’s special bond.
“Whippets are the best kept secret of the dog world. I have two of them and they’re awesome companions,” one enthusiastic YouTube user wrote in the comments section below Liakos’ video. Meanwhile, another fan added, “Agreed, I’ve got one and [whippets are] the best dog I’ve ever had.”
And the love online wasn’t just reserved for Skylar, either. Liakos’ starring role also attracted some ardent fans. “So, is your dog sitter single maybe?” read another comment. “Seriously, what a sweet guy, I’d leave my dog with a guy like this anytime (and I’m very protective of my maltese girl)! Way to be a good human!”
And for some other viewers, the close connection that they witnessed between Liakos and Skylar in Cute Whippet Dog Story: Man’s Best Friend was all too familiar. “That is great,” one said. “My dog Prissy died a year ago and I am still not over it. Dogs are truly man’s best friend if they are treated right. They love no matter what.”
It is not known whether Skylar’s family ever hired Liakos as a sitter again or commissioned any more film work from him. So the rest of the world will never know if the pair got to rekindle their romance. We do know, however, that Liakos has gone on to sit other lucky pups. But it is surely his first love, Skylar, who will always own a special place in his heart.