Sunday, March 9, 2014

Good-bye Shiloh

Brad and I had just moved in together in the summer of 2000.  We had talked about getting a dog. He wanted a golden retriever, German Shepard, or a lab.  A guy that I worked with said that his golden retriever had hooked up with a lab/ German Shepard mix.  He had puppies that he needed to give away. Score! Every kind of dog that we wanted in one!  I decided to surprise Brad.  I picked Shiloh up one night after work then asked Brad to get my lunch box that I "left" in the car. Shiloh was waiting there for him!

She was covered in fleas and Brad thought it would be best if we just shaved her fur to get rid of them.  We got the back half of her shaved when I protested that she would look too silly and we had to stop. I'm not sure that I was doing her any favors! Around that same time we got our first video camera.  New puppy + new camera = ridiculous amount of video footage of a puppy doing nothing!

We took the obligatory puppy training class. The instructor was showing us how to " pop the leash " if the dog started to tug.  Brad wanted clarification on how hard exactly to pop it.  The instructor handed him the clip end of the leash and then "popped" it from the other end.  Unfortunately Brad wasn't holding it quite tight enough.  The clip end flew from his hand and hit her in the mouth... knocking out her crown.  Needless to say, our puppy training days fell short of a diploma for Shiloh!

And so it began!  While we never perfected "sit", "heel",  or "stay" Brad did manage to teach Shiloh to dig and "speak".  Everyone was impressed with those skills! A little over a year after Shiloh came home Sierra was born.  Shiloh's spotlight for our attention dwindled but we still loved and played with her.  Besides the barking like crazy any time the doorbell rang and the couple of occasions where her neurotic tendencies got the best of her and she tore our house apart (literally tore the blinds, window frames, door frames, etc apart!) she was always a pretty easy going dog.  The last few years Shiloh slowed down quite a bit.  She had bad arthritis in her leg that was broken when she was hit by a car as a puppy.  She couldn't hear and I'm not even sure that she could even smell.  A few times we let her out into the back yard of our new house and would find her a few minutes later standing on our neighbors porch waiting to be let in their back door, a little confused!  When we had our house blessed recently we asked our pastor to bless Shiloh.

Brad and I had been talking for quite a while about her quality of life and we were aware that we would need to make a decision at some point if it seemed like she was suffering more than she was enjoying her time here. Tuesday evening Brad just asked that I look into vets in the area since we hadn't established with one since our move.  I still wasn't sure that it was quite "time" yet, but said that I would look.  A few hours later Shiloh seemed to have a seizure and then wasn't able to walk.  That kind of made the decision for us.  We spent that night showering Shiloh with love.  The next day she didn't eat or drink anything and laid on her bed all day while we petted and talked to her.  Anytime that she tried to stand she would fall down.  Brad came home early and cooked up a pan of bacon.  Shiloh did not turn down the bacon.  We took her to the vet's office and they were so kind.  We were able to hold her until she was gone.

We all miss her so much.  She was an integral part of our lives and our daily routine.  The mornings have been hard when I wake up and plan to take her out and then remember that she is not here.  Even waking up in the middle of the night is strange.  She typically camped out on my side of the bed and I had to walk carefully in the dark so that I wouldn't step on her.  When we drop food on the floor our first instinct is to call Shiloh to come get it.  All of the little things feel off and a bit empty... much more so than I imagined.  She was a good dog.  She gave us almost 14 years of her love and devotion.  We really couldn't have asked for more.  A woman in my yoga class asked to say a prayer with me when she overheard me tell a friend that we had to put Shiloh to sleep.  I loved her last words.  "May the dog bones be basted and the fields be without fences."

What a CUTE puppy!
Always so tolerant

Getting the sunshine anytime that she could

A rare picture of all of our pets together

She loved just hanging outside

An all time favorite picture
Spending time together

 Shiloh Sundance
June 2000-March 5, 2014

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