Sunday, September 11, 2011

When we adopted Shiloh we were very young and hadn't been dating long. He became the glue for our lives. I used to say that we were like macaroni & cheese...I was the macaroni, Curtis was the cheese, and Shiloh was the milk...the thing that made it all work and come together. Shiloh hated fighting and loud voices, so he stopped several arguments by hiding behind the couch. Whatever we were upset about wasn't worth upsetting the dog. He made us laugh all the time, and not a day went by that we didn't get a smile because of him.

Everywhere we took Shiloh people told us he looked like Lassie, and then asked about his leg. The kids at my program fell in love with him through the stories I told. One year for Halloween I dressed up as Shiloh, which the kids absolutely loved. Shiloh seemed to think it was a little strange.

I know that he had a good life, but his life was hard in its own way. We spoiled him rotten, he probably had over a hundred toys. Shiloh got lots of treats, and was allowed on all the furniture (he even had his own chair or two...or three), and we both encouraged him to get on the bed with us in the morning. But his leg made life hard, and his food allergies exacerbated the pain. He had a sensitive stomach so we cleaned up a lot of messed and he felt lousy often. But he was loved.

Everyone that met Shiloh loved him. Little kids, old people, he was just gentle and loving. He loved to play, even with his bad leg. There was nothing he loved more than chasing his basketball around the yard or following Curtis on the lawnmower, barking at it at full volume. Unless it was riding in cars.

He did perk up on the car ride today to the vet. He tried to look out windows and climb up front like his normal self. I wish now that I had taken him on a lot more car rides and given him a lot more treats, and spent more time scratching his belly. But the fact is, we loved him to bits and pieces, and he knew it. What else could we have done? Nothing.

We acted as soon as we knew he was sick. It was just too late, and there's nothing more we could've done or should've done. There will always be a void in my heart, a little furry spot just for him. It won't be the same not hearing his skipping step across our floor to great me, or to get his stinky breath kisses in the morning. I'll miss his ruffing at everything that drove by our house.

I know that some people think its silly or even sacrilegious to say that dogs go to heaven, but I think they do. God made Shiloh. God saved his leg. God took him home today. I don't know why we didn't have more time with him, why we didn't know about the cancer sooner and could've done something, but we didn't. But he's in heaven now, on four good legs, chasing Piper around and around.

I learned a lot from that furry little guy. About myself, about life, about caring for another creature. I am a better person for having raised Shiloh. He taught me about forgiveness and adventure and enjoying the small things. He could take a boring car ride into town and make it into a major event. I don't know how many times I would feel alone and unworthy of God' love when Shiloh would come in and lay his head on my lap, or nudge my hand. He had an uncanny way of knowing when I needed a good cry and some thick fur.

Dogs do this to us. They come scampering into our lives and steal our hearts. They look at us with those loving, loyal brown eyes and sucker us in. But dogs can't live forever, not even the ones that survive getting hit by cars. In this fallen world of broken hearts we lose everything we love eventually. It's a depressing fact but one that turns us to eternity. The only thing that never fades and never changes. In his own furry way, Shiloh pointed me to God's goodness, mercy, and love over and over. Maybe some people think I'm crazy, but I believe God isn't limited and doesn't think using a dog to communicate His meanings to us is beneath Him.

Shiloh Aslan Berry was a good boy who loved riding in cars, taking naps on Sunday afternoons, drinking cereal milk, and barking at the lawn mower. His favorite toys were stuffed animals, most notably a teddy bear named Opus he'd had since the day we brought him home. Shiloh was known to sit at the table like a person from time to time, and saw no reason why he shouldn't drink from a glass or eat from a plate. His favorite milkshake flavor was strawberry and frosty paws flavor was peanut butter. There was only one other dog he really liked playing with, and a few others he tolerated. Shiloh thought he was the boss and that the world started with his birth and would end with his death. I'll miss him forever but I believe someday, when I get to go home, he'll be there waiting for me. Wait for me, Ruff.

1 comment:

  1. I pulled out my copy of "The Great Train Adventure" today. Remembering all of the conversations about other adventures for Shiloh and Piper. We just didn't know that their time with us was so short.

    When I saw your profile picture I remembered the day those pictures were taken. He was so good. I think he knew it was special. And the day we took the Christmas picture and forced him to wear the sweater - remember how he ran in circles with all three of us trying to catch him? Oh what fun we had. Thank you for sharing him with me.


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