Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sweet Shiloh, My Sunrise Sheltie

May 11, 1998 - April 2, 2015
This morning my sweet Shiloh, lover of sunrise walks, left this earth for the Rainbow Bridge.  She was just shy of her 17th birthday,  and she had lived with me for just 17 months. We know only that the months of her life immediately before rescue were pure hell, and I am so grateful that I had the honour of turning that around and loving her to the end.

To my sweet Shiloh, my sunrise sheltie,

You came to us thin and weak, with matted and flea-ridden fur and a broken spirit.  With Sheltie Rescue’s help, you began your new life. And then I adopted you, and  I fed you and walked you and most of all loved you, and soon you were whole again.  

People sometimes thought you still looked sad, because your tail was always down and your head seldom up, due to neurological damage from your former home.  But I knew differently – you just showed joy in other ways.  A sparkle in the eyes, a slightly open mouth, a mischievous prance with the paws, and I knew you were enjoying yourself.

There were three things that gave you great pleasure: food, comfy beds, and walks.

You loved your food.  In your previous life you had sometimes been left for days without food, and your appreciation of regular meal times was apparent.  Your old dog soprano joined in with Eddie’s and Mitzi’s meal time chorus as soon as the food bowls came out.

My funniest memory of you was on your sixteenth birthday, when you had dozed off by the time we served the frozen yogurt and dog biscuit birthday cake.  I place it on your bed by your sleeping face, and slowly you awoke, saw it, and jumped up with the biggest smile on your face I’ve ever seen! 

Yes, you loved your food. Until a week ago.  And then food ceased to have meaning for you.

You loved your beds.  You had more beds than any other critter in the house – baskets and crates, xpens and foam mattresses and soft round plush beds – though sometimes you rolled right out of them. Perhaps that’s why the raised beds were your favourites.  First you chose Charley’s old raised bed, but it was a bit high for you so I bought you another.  You’d jump up into that bed and stretch out and watch the world go by.

You loved your raised bed best.   Until a week ago.  And then you could no longer get in unassisted.

But most of all, you loved your walks.  Twice a day, you paced the hall and ran to the back door, in and out and in and out until I got the message – Walk Time!  It didn’t matter if my breakfast eggs were just at the perfect consistency, or my dinner had just come out of the oven, or my favourite TV show was ten minutes from the end of the season finale – when you said it was time to walk, it was time to walk.  Every Single Day.  A couple of kilometers in the morning, another kilometer at night.

Sunrise walks were the best – you’d drag me out of bed by ringing the little bell on your xpen, enthusiastically eat your breakfast, and tell me Let’s Go!  I’d grab the camera, gulp a few sips of coffee, pull on some jeans and a jacket over my pjs, and we’d be on our way to the waterfront to watch the fishing boats go out and the sun spill pots of  reds and yellows and purples across the bay.

You loved your walks.  Until a week ago, when you could no longer even walk across the street and the sunrise strolls ceased.

You had a Swan Song Monday, but Tuesday your body and spirit began to ease their grasp on each other. And so for most of the past two days, we cuddled, you and I – your head against my shoulder, your breath soft on my face, you sound asleep in the safety of my arms, me half awake stroking your soft fur. 

I was not ready to lose you, but you were ready to go.  Thank you for being a part of my life.  I love you more than these words can express, more than all the sunrises the world has ever seen.  And I shall never watch another sunrise without thinking of you, my sweet sunrise sheltie. 

To those involved in Shiloh’s rescue:  Katie, Wendy, Joanne and Julie – thank you.  Without your help and love, Shiloh and I would not have had those 17 wonderful months together.  I am forever in your debt. Just as she touched my heart, I know she touched yours too.   


hornblower said...

Sorry for your loss Jean. I'm glad you guys found each other for the precious time you had.

CAPB said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. You gave Shiloh such a happy time, and I'm glad she could spend this time with you.

Robin Duke said...

Jean, what a beautiful tribute, and photos to match. You are an awesome Mum.

Janice Gillett said...

Beautifully written for your golden girl

Erika said...

What a lovely tribute.
I am so sorry for your loss.

Brigid said...

RIP, Shiloh. Tears for you, Jean - and hugs too, for giving her such a wonderful last 17 months. She's joined the doggy chorus waiting for you...

Black Jack's Carol said...

This brought tears, Jean! Such a brave act to rescue sweet Shiloh and to let her work her way straight into your heart, and from there, into the hearts of your readers, knowing her time with you would pass as though in a flash. RIP Shiloh. I am so very glad you and Jean found each other!

Gesine McHarg said...

What a wonderful written story. It made me cry. So glad to read how much love was there. Bless you.

Unknown said...

I'm so very sorry Jean, Shiloh did so very well basking in your care and love
from the girl that you took in, to the girl she became, is nothing short of amazing, she truly blossomed, and after all she'd been through in her previous life, she finally got to live her "happily ever after"
tears and hugs,
Kate D.

Anonymous said...

Oh Jean. I am trying not to feel guilty that you are experiencing that sickening pain of losing someone you love. But I have to turn off the guilt and just be so grateful that you took her into your warm home and your big heart and reminded her what love felt like. What a precious gift you gave each other. Kindness and compassion like this are eternal. That love will never die nor will my appreciation and admiration. Thank-you. Thank-you. Thank-you. W

Anonymous said...

I don't know you or Shiloh but your words and pictures touched my heart. A special dog and a special person. So glad you found each other and brought 17 months of joy and happiness to each other. Very sorry for your loss. RIP, sweet Shiloh.

Marie said...

A fine tribute to Beautiful and Loving Shiloh.
I'm so glad that she found you and that you made her last days filled with love and care.
Jean, you are a good Mom and a lovely person.

Mark said...

We are so sorry for your loss Jean, although we never got to meet Shiloh, we got to know her through your blog. We thank you for rescuing her and taking such good care of her for the last 17 months that flew by way to fast. I bet those 17 months were the best of her life.

Take care of yourself and the other critters.

Mark, Del & the Royals

Anonymous said...

Jean what a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady.
I remember the dog you got and how she blossomed under your care.
Shiloh's time with you was too short but probably the best time in her life.
Take care of your heart and remember the good times.


Sheryl said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Jean, but so happy that you found each other and had that time together.

Truly, the last 17 months of her life were undoubtedly the best of her life.

Rest in Peace, Shiloh. You are so loved!

Anonymous said...

Dear Jean, thanks so much for that wonderful (read'teary') tribute to wee Shiloh. You are a super person to have given so much of yourself to rescue. Thanks for sharing your grief with was a beautiful tribute.
barb and the furry ones

Anonymous said...

Beautiful tribute you've written for your very sweet and beautiful sheltie. You gave her 17 months of a great quality of life..

Jean said...

Thank you all. My sunrise sheltie brought much joy to my life, and your kind words help greatly.