Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shiloh's last stand

 Our sweet Shiloh took her last look over her domain yesterday.

She had been sick for several months.  We gave her steroids, we gave her antibiotics, we fed her hot dogs, we put ice in her water, and we let her sleep in the house every time she wanted to.  And yesterday morning she let us know that she had gone as far as she could go.  She sat at the top of a ridge looking over the creek, both of us knowing that it was her last look at her territory.  She was calm, peaceful, and regal to her very end.

Shiloh was my friend and constant companion.  She refused to be trained to walk on a leash or ride in the back of Daryl's truck, but she was with us every minute possible when we were outside.  She was a homebody, but her home included about 50 acres.  She ran and swam over every bit of those acres during her life and had a life most dogs only dream of.  When dogs run in their sleep, most of them are dreaming of adventures.  Shiloh was reliving hers.

Last night Daryl dug a grave for Shiloh on the Indian mound next to Scarlett.  We raked the dirt over her resting body and then stood there arm in arm remembering her, grateful that she was free from her suffering.

Later, as we laid in bed holding hands, we shared our favorite memories.

     We thought of the times she swam upstream in the river, never tiring.

     And the time she dove right into a beaver den, just checking it all out.

     There was the time that Jackie forgot to close the door to our house tightly.  No one was home all week so Shiloh nudged the door open and spent the week having the run of the whole place.  Jackie came home first to find every bed slept in by a muddy dog, toilet paper covering the den floor, some of our clothes had been taken outside and used as a bed, hats had been chewed on.  We have often thought of how much fun she must have had those days.

     She had learned to be a friend to cats and a herder of chickens.

     We wondered how, with all of her wondering in the woods, she was only bitten by snakes three times.

     We could not think of one time in her whole life that she ever showed any real anger.

     We wondered if she ever caught even one squirrel.  Or if she ever intended to anyway.

Many years ago John and Anna had a collie that had health problems and he had to be put to sleep.  His name was Ace and he had not been active for several weeks or months before he died.  David, not knowing that Ace had died that day, told us at dinner that he had seen a strange thing while walking around the farm.  He had seen Ace running down the road with a white towel tied to his neck like a cape.  The only explanation was that David had seen Ace's freed body doing what he had wanted to do in life.

Last night Caleb came out and took the kayaks up the river.  When Daryl and I saw him pull the kayaks out of his truck and walk them down the boat ramp, we looked at each other with the same thought.  We know that if Shiloh had an opportunity to do what Ace did, she would be running ahead of Caleb, jumping into the water.  Reveling in her renewed energy and health.  I would like to have seen it again.

We miss you, sweet girl.


  1. I can't stop crying as I read this, and she wasn't even my dog! we'll miss her, too.

  2. This is a beautiful summary of the delights a dog can have and give. God did a very kind thing to give us these faithful friends.

  3. I'm so sad!! She always came to greet us but was never demanding of our attention. If you have her some love she just considered it a bonus. Of course Dennis would just sit on the ground and love on her a while. I'll miss that sweet girl!!

  4. I love dogs, and this was so beautiful and deeply moving.

  5. I just knew what was coming when I read the title to this post...I am so sorry for your sweet family - Shiloh was such a sweet dog and friend to you all - though we only saw her a couple of times, she was precious. I cried the whole time I was reading...love you all!