Just a dog

ShilohThis morning, I will take Shiloh to the vet. He won’t come home with me. Ever.

Shiloh came to our house from the pound fourteen years ago. He was with us in that house for just a couple months and then moved with us to this house.

As long as we have lived here, Shiloh has. As long as Hope has been in school, Shiloh has been with us. Since Andrew was in fourth grade, Shiloh has been with us. For more than half our marriage, Shiloh has been with us.

He’s a beagle-spaniel mix, beagle colors on long legs. He’s been a quiet dog, compared to most. He’s been friendly and curious. Though I have often been angry with him, I’ve had to acknowledge that he is a dog, lacking intention to persecute me. The anger comes from my lack of balance, not his.

We’ve not talked much, Shiloh and I. I’ve wondered about that, thinking that we ought to be connected, we ought to bond. My first dog, fifty years ago, ran away. This second dog has been my family’s dog.

Andrew and Nancy have been much closer to him. Together they have cared. He slept in Andrew’s room, played with Andrew. Nancy watched her boys grow up and has had company when the other three of us have been busy, as we have been. Hope has tolerated him, having been justifiable terrified of dogs before he arrived. He has been, however, a presence for her. When she’s been home alone, Shiloh has been in the house. Aggravating at times, but here. Right now, as she sleeps on the sofa, he is on the floor nearby.

He’s always been nearby. He carried food to where we sat so as to not eat alone. He slept where we were.

It is time. On that, we agree. I’ll refrain from listing the reasons. It is too easy to anthropomorphize and there is a difference between dogs and people, as much as we like to believe otherwise. It ‘s been up to me to pick the when and so I have. I’ve given everyone else permission to hate me, but they won’t. They don’t.

But we cannot help but think of the end of an era. Andrew and Allie married and moved. Hope starting the second year of college.

It will be a quiet house come Fall.

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12 responses to “Just a dog

  1. As usual…and obviously, you are more connected than you care admit here. I’ve seen it.

    I’m praying for each of you today…as you’ve said before…God knows what each of you need to hear…to know today.

    Love you.

  2. My husband was the same way when we lost “my” dog. But he was surprised how the loss of Lily in our daily routines affected him.

  3. dear jill. you have only known me for longer than all but 2 people reading this. I don’t know why you would think that you know me better than I know myself. [note: jill is one of my sisters. and is right]

    Angie – I’m guessing you are right. Thanks.

  4. I don’t know you better…my perspective is just 200 miles and 8 years away…so I see the relationship differently than you are able to…I think that’s what being family is about.

  5. (((((Pastor&Mrs.Swanson)))))

  6. I think you are exactly right, dear jill. Thanks.

  7. My heart is with you all, Jon and Nancy. My dog, Puccini, went to Doggie Heaven 8-1/2 years ago and I still miss him. A few years after that I wrote my first children’s books, Adventures With PawPaw, and Puccini became the model for PawPaw. Maybe you will write a children’s book about Shiloh. He sounds like a special pooch that the rest of us would like to know.

    Diana

  8. one of these days, Diana, there will be a book (or two) and you will be partly responsible. :)

  9. Jon and Nancy – I’m sorry for your loss. We’ve been dog people for only about 18 months, and now I “get” it – losing Mystic would hurt in ways I don’t want to think about. Thanks for writing such a touching piece…

  10. I read with great sadness this morning Jon. I always had outdoor dogs when I was growing up – hunting dogs. Peter and I have had Archie for a little more than 3 years. I didn’t even want a dog, now can’t imagine life without him, in a silly sort of way.

    Praying for you all today, and sending love your way.

  11. I’m sorry, Jon [and Nancy].

  12. My love and thoughts to you and your family and Shiloh.