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.