We love our Shilohs as family, and grieve them when their time with us is over. We honor them through our work to improve the health of the breed, and through our love of their progeny. Each Shiloh, whether they bless us for a moment or for a lifetime, enriches our lives. This page is devoted to Three River Shilohs who wait on Rainbow Bridge for their pack to be together again.
As a long time Shiloh owner, but never before a breeder, over the years I’ve wondered how breeders dealt with their “angel babies”. Now I know.
Mercy had been originally scanned with 3+ puppies, then the radiologist gave us an opinion of a guaranteed 11 puppies up to possibly 15, so we spent some time trying to imagine how the next few months would unfold for us. We read, listened to stories, studied, built a support network of knowledge-sharing breeders. We worried we wouldn’t know enough, do enough, be enough.
We weren’t prepared for our angel baby, though. She was so small and immature, it was quickly clear she was never intended to survive. As we worked, anyway, to give her a chance at life, I soon realized that she had been gone, in utero, for perhaps weeks.
And only then did I realize her gift. She could have created a massive infection, and stolen our Mercy from us. She could have created a spontaneous abortion, and destroyed all her brothers and sisters. Yet she went along for the ride, in a very real sense allowing her siblings to live. Our youngest, Lee, likened her to the spaceship Serenity, while never having life herself, still carried her crew to safety. The name was fitting, and the names of the living 10 puppies were easy after that. River fought her way out of the womb, leaving her placenta behind (she was the first pup out, her placenta the last out), and River knew what she needed immediately. Inara was a surprise, strikingly different, delicate yet strong. And as the day progressed, the litter names took shape effortlessly. We know that these pups will receive their forever home names in a few weeks, but for today, they are our Serenity crew.
Our Serenity was laid to rest on our hill of (soon to be blooming) flowers dedicated to pack mates who have gone on before her, next to her Uncle Tau. Our Shiloh Tau enjoyed puppies like no dog I’ve ever met, and she will be well cared for on Rainbow Bridge. So now we know how breeders deal with their angel babies. They love them, and they grieve them, and they say their painful goodbyes while tending to the little ones still traveling the dangerous journey towards life. Our grief is mixed with awe, as we listen to the chorus of other puppies sing out their joy at being born. But still we grieve. Having never met her, we still miss Serenity’s voice in the song.
Tau was a heart dog, who was born with a congenital defect (kidney failure). The breeder suggested returning him, but we knew what her solution would be for Tau, so we decided to keep him and test the limits of veterinary care. We prayed for a cure and worked towards an excellent quality of life. Tau thrilled us with his charm, his playfulness, his loyalty and devotion to puppies for the 22 months he blessed our lives. Towards the end, when he couldn’t walk anymore, we would drive him through Dairy Queen for vanilla ice cream. We always ordered him the kid size, but the DQ kids knew our car, and more than once Tau got a quart of his favorite food. He loved those teenagers, and knew how to do “puppy eyes” like a pro! Tau loved puppies, and raised many fostered puppies. Tau also raised Aidan, and took great pains to teach Aidan how to be a good dog, from getting through the doggie door to appropriate places to relieve oneself as a gentleman. He rests now in our “Borrower’s Hill”, a flowerbed honoring those who have left for Rainbow Bridge.