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Challenge: We love our pets

Shiloh: Not what we expected, but everything we needed

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She jumped into the car as if she had lived with us always. All floppy ears, big feet and warm brown eyes. We had no idea what breed she was, only that she was pitch black from head to toe, projected to grow as big as a Great Dane, and the friendliest dog we’d met since we started pet hunting at the local shelters.


Despite her expected size, which she never hit (Thank goodness!), I knew in my heart she was the one for us. We took her home and named her Shiloh. It turned out to be ironic since Shiloh means “place of peace,” and she has anxiety issues. She digs. She chews. She jumps straight up and down like a jack-in-the-box. She gets carsick and she has nightmares, which invariably hit at unearthly hours of the night. Sometimes, she runs off and rolls in something so stinky, it’s hours before we can stand to be within five feet of her, and (in between gags) I wonder why we got a dog in the first place.

Except, I know why.

Because, when my youngest is sick, she lays very still and lets him use her soft body as a pillow.

Because when he chases imaginary “bad guys” around the house, she faithfully trots after him, ready to throw her shoulder into the fray. She doesn’t even complain when he puts a cape on her and calls her “super dog.”

Because when baseball season rolls around, she fetches hit after hit and faithfully returns them. If my middle son ever makes it to the majors (his current dream), he’ll owe the accuracy of his swing to Shiloh. She is never tired of “practicing.”

Because, come soccer season, there’s no better goalie than Shiloh. It’s nearly impossible to get a ball past her if she’s guarding the orange cones. She’s like our own version of Air Bud…If Air Bud ever accidentally (*cough cough* on purpose) bit into a soccer ball and deflated it. Oops!


Because she always seems to know when I’m worried or afraid and follows me around offering support.

Because petting her helps ease the tangles in my mind.

Because she listens patiently to every article I write, all while looking at me sagely, like she would give me the words if that wouldn’t be cheating.

Because she makes my family feel safe, warning us of intruders and snakes…as well as fireworks and ambulance sirens.

Because she helps teach my sons responsibility and how to be kind.

Because she forgives wholeheartedly, never holding a grudge.

Because she is delighted with just a sunny day, a tennis ball and a playmate.

Because, as complicated as she can make my life, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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