Beloved pet taken by sharks
Sky with Mr Van Derpoll's grandaughter Shanaye Freegard, 8. Picture: Kate Freegard.

A devastated skipper says his faithful dog Sky was probably trying to protect him when it was taken by a shark off Point Samson, 1260km north of Perth.

Franz Van Derpoll said he was out catching a fish for dinner with Sky when he saw two sharks circling where he was spear fishing, 6km off Johns Creek Harbour.

"She's 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," he said.

"I had two good years with her in the end but sometimes I wish it was me and not her … I'm 62 and I've had dogs all my life but she was just one of those dogs; Sky was special."

Sky was no ordinary Pilbara dog.

For the past two years, the harbour near Point Sampson was her home and Mr Van Derpoll said there wasn't a man who worked there who didn't know her extraordinary story.

"Everyone at the harbour knows Sky, every single person," he said.

"She never left the harbour … that was her home.

"When I got her she became my dog but she's what we call a crog, which is what we call a creek dog down here … a dog who owns the creeks and there's only been three so far.

"She was with me 24/7, if I was driving a fork lift to work she was on the fork lift … if I went out on the boat doing passenger runs she was on the boat with me."

For Franz Van Derpoll his beautiful girl Sky meant the world. Picture: Kate Freegard.

Global Marine manager Alex Jones said when Sky first arrived at the harbour she had been abused and it was her special relationship with Franz that brought her back to life.

"Everyone knew Sky, when she first got here she was very skinny and had been very ill treated," he said.

"Then she took a shine to Franz and she was suddenly out on the boat all the time and anyone in the harbour would suddenly find her on the front seat of the car just sitting there wanting to go somewhere.

"She was a beautiful dog and I think she was pretty damn lucky really with what she had with Franz compared to what she went through.

"It was very sad the night Franz called me about Sky - that man has a heart of gold."

For Mr Van Derpoll, the passing of his companion has been heart-wrenching.

"I thought I'd never love anything again after my wife died," he said.

"Sky to me, she took Mary's place when she passed .... she was a beautiful person, if you could put a person and dog in the same category that would be Sky.

"You only fall in love twice in your life - once with your wife and once with a dog.

"Nothing could ever replace her."

Mr Van Derpoll 's daughter Kate Freegard said the change she saw in her dad once he got Sky was a great indication of how special she was.

"She was such a gentle, lovely dog who came into my dad's life not long after my mum passed away; she certainly put the smile back on Dad's face during such a sad time in life," she said.

"Dad may have rescued her but I feel she is the one that rescued him too."

A commemorative plaque will be put down in the harbour for Sky.

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