Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Time For Every Season Under Heaven

It appears that we are experiencing a season of loss. My mother's passing was pretty tough on all of us. I am positive that she is joyously free of all pain and worries. I just miss her.

Then we lost Snowy. That came quite suddenly, and we cried a lot the first two days. The kids are doing much better, but Rick and I still miss the old guy. Snowy was a unique and lovable horse.

And now we are preparing to help Shiloh to make his journey toward heaven. Last night he was snuggling on the bed with me. I put my face in his downy soft fur and just breathed in the smell that is Shiloh. At that moment, I wished that I could talk to him and tell him what was in my heart. He knows that tears mean a sad heart, but I wished he could understand so much more about what a wonderful part of our lives he has been. I've decided to focus the next few blogs on Letters To Shiloh. Kind of corny, I know, but it is helping me prepare myself for the inevitable. So here goes:

Dear Shiloh,

As we snuggled together on bed last night, I felt the warm, soft heat of your silky hair, and felt peace. I'm frustrated because I know that you know I love you, we don't need words to understand love. I also know that you love me. Maybe it's because you wait at the window of Rick's office, watching for me until I get back home. Or could it be how you are so excited to see me coming home, you rush outside and accidentally tackle me as you bounce against my legs. Or it could be that you follow me wherever I go, even to the bathroom. You sit on the floor next to the shower door, waiting for me to get out of the shower. But one of my most favorite things that you do that shows me just how much you love me is when you climb right up on the porch swing, put your head in my lap, and swing the afternoon away while I read a book. I think that might be one of the things I will miss most when you're gone.

Anyway, I decided since we can't talk to each other, I would write you some letters about how much I love you, and that you are a once-in-a-lifetime dog. You probably don't remember this, because you were just a puppy, and a terrified puppy at that. Kelly and I drove out to Draper to a foofoo shishi Golden Retriever Breeder who charged a small fortune for his fancy breeding line. Apparently, your grandmother was the Dog of the Year in England. I didn't even want to drive out to see you because I knew that we didn't have enough money to pay for you. Buying you would pay over half of a mortgage payment.

When I called the ad for golden retrievers, I asked the man how much he charged for his puppies. This was an awkward moment for me because the kids and I had gone through the entire house searching for loose change. We found a grand total of $84.00. When the man said $600.00 with no breeding rights, I apologized for bothering him, explaining that his price was not within our budget.

"Well how much do you have?" he inquired politely. I kind of squeeked out exactly how much we had. There was a moment of silence, and then he said, "You know, payments could be arranged. Come on out and look at the puppies." Hmmmm, I thought, Rick making payments on a puppy that he doesn't even want. Probably not a good idea. But that man was persistent, so we took our mason jar of coins and dollar bills to see you.

As we walked out to the spacious kennels, he said that he had one puppy that he was having a hard time selling because this puppy was very shy and got frightened easily. When we looked in the kennel, you weren't even there. Why? You found a way to hide underneath the kennel (how you did that, I'll never know). Kelly and I watched as the man dragged you out in to the sunshine. Wow, I thought. Most of the puppies were a golden brown color. You were a fluffy creamy color. I thought you looked beautiful, and my heart sank because I knew we wouldn't be able to buy you.

This man was a funny guy. He had Kelly and I go in to the house for negotiations. How does one negotiate a mason jar with $84.00? "The thing is," the man mused, "we are going out of town for a couple of weeks, and he's the last puppy to be sold." I explained that I was positive that my husband would not want to make payments (we were so tight on money then).

"I'm sorry I've wasted your time, sir," I said sadly, "but all the money we have to buy a dog is in this jar." I gave Kelly a glum look, you were SO cute, and thanked him for letting us come and see his beautiful puppies. The guy just wouldn't stop talking so that we could leave. I believe it took him an hour to decide that he would sell us his puppy for the bargain price of $84.00, including the mason jar. I was embarrassed, and told him that whenever we got extra money, I'd send him some. He said he didn't care, if we sent money, fine, no hurry, but he said don't worry about it, he was happy that his scaredy cat puppy would go to a good home.

A very happy Kelly and I went back outside to take you home. Boy, you were big, even as a puppy. You had huge paws, and a soft coat of hair. Kelly had to carry you to the car. You shivered on Kelly's lap the whole way home. I was so scared to show Rick my new purchase. Kelly and I crossed our fingers and toes (try THAT while you're driving) hoping that Rick would let us keep you.

Rick came storming out of the house to yell at me, until he got a look at you. You were so beautiful, but in a cool, manly sort of way. I think Rick had visions of a hunting dog to wander the mountains with him. (Sorry about that, Rick.) So Rick picked you up and we got you all settled in your new home.

It really made me curious when you chose to sleep on Rick's head when it was so obvious that Rick was not as excited about you as I was. I was jealous for a while, until I saw how you had Rick's head pinned to the pillow. I closed my eyes and hoped for a quiet night. Amazingly, when you slept on Rick's head, you slept well. You were quite a unique puppy, and did the strangest things. You were too afraid to walk outside. You refused to take one step toward the door, and had to be carried to go out to do your duty. Poor Kelly carried you out most of the time. I think you insisted on being carried out for over two months, and you were heavy! It worked out pretty well, though, because it made potty training easier than usual.

I can't remember the exact moment I fell in love with you. All I remember is that I've always loved you. And the more I loved you, the more you loved me. You adored the kids and Rick, but I was your mama, and you stuck to me like a baby monkey hangs on its mommie's back. How could I not love you?

When we took you to the vet for your shots (don't tell anyone about me crying), he was very impressed with you. He said that if we wanted, you could be a show dog, with your unusually light coloring and striking build. He said that considering the size of your feet, you were going to be a big dog, and he was right. You were show dog quality, but I knew that you were too shy to seek ribbons and awards. You were a mama's boy, and I was happy to be that mama.

You did some naughty things those first few months with us. You chewed up some shoes, a few of Rick's books, the kids' homework, and you loved destroying stinky socks, but you were never as naughty as that darn Mercedes. When she came along, she made you look like an angel. And you've been an angel ever since then. At least to me.

The time is drawing close, Shiloh, when I am going to have to let you go. Your back legs are not going to hold up much longer. You've been struggling so hard to get up and down lately, it makes my heart hurt. And yet you still have a smile and a wagging tail whenever we're together. How could I not love a dog that thinks that I am the angel. In the next few days, I'm going to write about some of the fun things we've done together. You've provided me with many stories that will make me laugh just thinking about them.

Shiloh, I know that you are in pain, but you are being such a good sport. I heard another man tell his dog to let him know when it was time to let his dog go, and I'm asking you if you will do the same for me. I'm afraid it will come faster than we're ready for, but just give me a look, Shiloh. I know your looks. You can tell me know when it's time to go.

Until the next letter, we'll get in lots of hugs and treats.

I love you, Shiloh.


Trish said...

Nancy.....this letter reminds me so much of my little missionary! I know that sounds weird.....but I am weird so I guess it fits. David was so nervous to leave home and go to Chile, but when he arrived there so many people were there to love him and help he feel at peace. Now that it is time for him to come home he is hesitant, and nervous. He knows we want him home but yet he is sad to leave the people in Chile that he loves. I've been thinking a lot this week about how our earth lives are like that. We are nervous to come to earth, but then we enjoy this life so much that we are sad about going back to the place we love. Does that make sense? You will know when it is time for Shiloh to go back. And Shiloh will FOREVER be your watchdog.

MMack said...

Special Dog for a wonderful family.

Di said...

Sniffle, sniffle.

Hope said...

Nancy I am sorry that Shiloh is leaving soon.. my heart goes out to you..they are more then friends. they are our companions.. tears are flowing.. mingling with yours..
sofest of all hugs dear friend.

Lisa RedWillow said...

Nancy what a sweetie. So very sorry. I know the lost and its so hard . It really is. My Cloe has been gone just over a year and I still miss her and sometimes think I see her pass from the corner of my eye.
She will be with me in my heart forever. No loss is easy as we both know.
Nancy thank you for stopping and your kind words. I really work hard at getting photos that I am .. happy with. And I guess most of us do.
Someday I will look back and see what I have done and keep all the memories close.
Love you dear one. Your such a sweet lady. Never change.

Hope said...

Hi sweetheart..
thinking of you today..and keeping you ever so close in my heart and prayers..
love ya

Lisa said...

I again could not get thought this. Its been a touugh week . I have some kind of flu.. so my dear .Thankyou for stopping. Means more than you know.
Your one very nice kind lady with a heart bigger than anyone I know.
Love you