A true friend leaves paw prints on your heart.
We’ve known this day was coming for months, but it finally came time to put my oldest son’s beloved beagle Shiloh to sleep yesterday.
Every pet owner has stories to tell about their beloved pets, so I hope you’ll indulge me while I share some of mine.
I just need to talk about her today…
When my son Seth was twelve years old, he decided he wanted a dog of his own.
We weren’t sure what kind of dog to get, but we had watched the movie Shiloh and made what was probably an impulsive decision to get a beagle.
We didn’t have the money to buy one, so he and I worked together cleaning our church one day a week until we’d raised enough money to buy a beagle pup.
We went to visit a litter of beagle pups and Seth picked the cutest and spunkiest one.
This photo was taken right after we purchased her.
Seth quickly discovered that becoming a pet owner has its challenges.
I’ll never forget the night he wasn’t really sure he wanted that cute new puppy.
We were trying to crate train Shiloh, so she slept in her crate in Seth’s room.
Well, Shiloh wanted out of her crate and barked and howled, hoping Seth would let her out.
I was up late, and Seth came marching into the living room with Shiloh in her crate.
He plopped the crate down next to me, turned around, and went back to bed.
Ummm … no way, son.
I marched straight back to his room with the crate and had a heart-to-heart talk to him about the responsibilities of owning a pet.
Pets are like kids – they might drive you crazy sometimes, but it’s your job to teach them and love them anyway, no matter how loud they scream (or howl).
Seth grew to love that howling little puppy of his and she’s been his “girl” for the last 14 years.
They grew up together. He went from an awkward pre-teen into a wonderful young man, and she went from a howling little hyper puppy into a sweet gray headed old lady.
They’ve had a good life together.
Yesterday was a very tough day.
Seth got up and made her a special breakfast of eggs and leftover beef, then he took her for a car ride so he could spend some time alone with her.
I took the last photos I would ever take of the two of them together, then it was time to go to the vet.
We stayed with her, petting and talking to her until she took her last breath.
We both cried buckets of tears.
Then we came home and Seth buried his girl under our burning bush.
I’ll think of her every time I look out my window at that bush.
We’ll miss you, Shiloh.
You truly left paw prints on our hearts.
Vaya con Dios,