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Pet Lovers

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22 Oct 2016
It's been a very long time since I've visited this website. I joined in October of 2004. I'd just lost my dear dog, Shiloh and was so grief stricken and felt like there was no where else to turn. What I found here was a wonderful group of supportive folks who understood what I was going through. Since Shiloh I've lost another dog and 2 cats. Although their losses were very painful, they had lived good, full lives...Emma the dog was almost 15, Strappy and Calvin the two cats were both almost 20 and 21. Today I'm faced with the loss of another dog, my sweet, sweet little man, Koda. He's a Shepherd mix, and he too has lived a good long life. He actually happened into my life shortly after I lost Shiloh. He was a 4 week old puppy who had been dumped on the side of the road with two other siblings and the mother. One sibling and the mother had both been hit by cars, but somehow Koda and his brother were safe. I was not sure I was ready for another dog after losing Shiloh, who I called my soulmate dog, but Koda was cute and my friend who found them said she could keep one but not both, so I caved and all of a sudden had a puppy. Well, 11 1/2 years later, lots of doggie school, lots of walks and rounds of play and cuddling and everything else that is wonderful about having a dog, I'm facing his mortality. Koda was diagnosed with prostate cancer about 3 months ago. Chemo therapy seemed like it gave us a chance for another year with him, but today I know that I'll be lucky to have him another week. What makes this so hard is that for a dog of his age and size he's in remarkable health. He doesn't limp, his teeth are good, his eyes are good, his hearing is good, he'd be happy if I took him for a 3 mile walk twice a day. He still plays with his toys as he did when he was a puppy. He seems so healthy that to look at him you'd never know his bladder and prostate are the site of a growing cancer...growing so much that he can't urinate (he has an indwelling catheter right now). With all my other animals that I've had to euthanize, I knew they were ready and I felt a peace about the decision. I have to say, I don't feel that peace with Koda. He's laying by my side as I type this...just as happy knowing I'm at his side as I am that he's at my side.

I'm just heartbroken and devastated.

17 Sep 2005
Dear friends,

Today is September 17th. It was one year ago today that Shiloh lost her bravely fought battle to lymphoma. She was my friend and my companion and I loved her more than words can describe. When I lost her I thought my pain would never heal. And as the days passed after her death and my sadness seemed to deepen rather than subside, I sought help and advice. That’s how I found Lightning Strike. This place was a life line for me in my early days of grief. In December of last year I started feeling like it might be time for me to move on and bid my goodbyes to this website, but then I was touched by another’s story…she was in the process of losing her 5 year old Chocolate Lab to lymphoma. She told me that my story of Shiloh deeply touched her. At that point I decided I would stay here and offer comfort to folks that were going through the same I was going through. I felt that offering comfort to other people would be a fitting way to honor the memory of my dear friend, Shiloh, who always offered comfort to me. I figured an appropriate time to do this would be for a year. Well, as hard as it is for me to believe, the year is over and it’s time for me to move on. I know I am at a point, and have been for a while, where I need to stop wallowing in Shiloh’s death and start celebrating her life. She was such a happy-go-lucky spirit, “an exceptional dog” as a friend of mine said, and to focus on her death would be an injustice to her life.

As I say goodbye to this website, I want to thank everyone here who has helped me deal with my grief over losing Shiloh and then Hobbie. Your kind words helped me make it through many days…I will be forever grateful for that. MD, I want to thank you for creating this place…it really has been a life saver for me and for many others. I also want to thank Sue and Denise for being moderators for this site and always having a kind word to say to people. Lastly, I want to thank all of the friends I’ve made here. In helping you, I’ve helped myself. I have a special love for all of you here and have been deeply touched by each and everyone’s story.

I would like to invite all of you to take a look at “A Glimpse of Shiloh’s Life” in the Memorials, tributes, and eulogies forum. (I don’t know how to insert a link…sorry). She was such a sweet and gentle spirit. The tribute I made for her really is glimpse at what a special soul she was. Here's the link... http://lightning-strike.com/forum/index.ph...t=0&#entry16973 Thanks, Denise! rolleyes.gif

Please know that if any of you have been comforted or touched by the words I’ve written to you…it was more Shiloh than it was me. She was always so much more outgoing than I could have ever hoped to be.

Before I sign off, I want to offer these last words of encouragement…healing does happen, it just takes time. For some, it takes a short period of time, for others, it takes a little longer. Don’t feel like you need to rush yourself through the process, take as much time as you need. Be patient and kind with yourself. Allow yourself setbacks…birthdays and holidays are bound to make you sad. I remember approaching Shiloh’s 5 month anniversary…I thought I was doing great, but all of a sudden I had a set back and ended up in fetal position, lying on the floor where Shiloh used lay, sobbing. A year has passed since Shiloh died, and I have healed. I smile when I think of her. And when I do think of her, the memories that come to mind are of her running and playing and chasing squirrels and helicopters. The memories that are farthest from my mind are of her being sick and dying. I find I can now talk about her with out falling to pieces, but, honestly, every once in a while I still get choked up. I think I always will.

I wish you all peace and healing.

Take good care, my dear friends.
4 Jul 2005
...a morning kiss, a descreet touch of
her nose landing somewhere on the
middle of my face. Because her
long whiskers tickled, I began
everyday laughing.

Janet F. Faure
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1 May 2005
I didn’t find LS until about 1 ½ months after Shiloh died. During those first weeks after Shiloh’s passing I thought I’d go crazy. I thought I was the only person to feel such deep remorse over losing a pet. Then one night I did a search for pet loss support and stumbled on to LS. It was a life saver for me. I met kind and wonderful people who not only shared my love for animals, but were hurting just like I hurt. I was touched by all the stories…as I read these stories and posts, I cried, I laughed, and mostly, I healed.

I want to welcome all the new members to LS. It really is a wonderful place for healing. I hope that you will find as much comfort here as I have.

Thank you, MD, Denise, and Sue for keeping it a healing place.
17 Mar 2005
On May 21, 2004 Shiloh was diagnosed with high grade malignant lymphoma. On May 22, 2004, through donations from friends and family and several “help save Shiloh” garage sales, Shiloh started chemotherapy. We were all hopeful that chemotherapy would put the cancer in remission for a least a year if not cure it all together. On August 17, 2004, the veterinary oncologist reported that Shiloh’s lymphoma was so aggressive that Shiloh was out of remission before she had even finished her chemo regime. On September 17, 2004 Shiloh lost her bravely fought battle to lymphoma. She started her journey to the rainbow bridge at 9:20 that night.

Shiloh lived her life like the following quote…

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a dog bone in one paw, a chew toy in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

On Shiloh’s last day, we spent the day together…I reminisced...I told Shiloh about her life with me…I laughed and cried…Shiloh listened.

This is a very short version, but it kind of went something like this…

Shiloh, I remember the first time I saw you. It was after school on a September day in 1999. I was getting ready to leave school for the day when I saw a silhouette of a little dog run by the window in the middle school library. I took a detour on my way to the car…I just had to see what this little dog looked like. I opened the door in the library that went to the little atrium area where they had put you. I called “hey, pup” and you came running…a cute little red and white, frecklie faced puppy, with no tail. In addition to falling all over yourself when you ran up to me, you peed everywhere too. I knelt down and petted you, told you that you were cute, said “Godspeed little pup” and closed the door. That’s when the librarian said to me that the town dog catcher had been called and that you’d probably be taken out and shot since there was no pound. I was mortified. How could stray animals be taken out and just shot? I knew I didn’t really want a dog…after all, I was a cat person, but you were very cute and I knew I could find a good home for you. Meanwhile, another teacher had seen you and started petting you, she was relieved when I told her I would take you and find a home for you. As we left, that teacher said “goodbye, Baby Shiloh.” I thought the name was cute, so that’s what I would call you…when I found you a new home, your new owners could keep the name, or change it. I held you on my lap all the way home. You were so sweet and so good. That’s what I thought until we got home and I discovered that not only were you covered with ticks…I was too. I took you to school the next day and bribed my students not to tell the principal that you were there. That day at school you got a flea and tick bath. The kids loved you. They would argue over who got to take you outside. I guess that’s when your love for children developed. You always loved little kids…you were always gentle and kind with them.
As the days passed I kind of started to really like you…the more I liked you, the less I looked for another home for you. By the end of your first week with me, you had found a new home…smack dab right in the middle of my heart.
Our first year together was an adjustment for the whole family. The kitties adjusted to having a dog around and so did I. That first year was full of chewed sneakers, chased kitties, and kitty scratches on your nose…and bee stings. Remember those bee hives we had for a while? It didn’t take you long to learn that playing next to those white boxes was not a good idea. You were always so full of energy…you’d get up in the morning and help me with all my chores and while helping me with the chores you’d find time to chase a few crows, bark at the neighbors horses, and run around like crazy. That first year was wonderful. You were always up for a game of ball, always ready to run after your Frisbee, and always ready for a belly rub. You were developing a wonderful personality…playful and independent, yet kind and loving.
In year 2, you really matured. The chewed lawn furniture, hoses, tools, BBQ grill, and a variety of other things kind of faded into the past. Your chewing needs were satisfied with a nightly rawhide chewy. You no longer chased that cats, you became their buddy and protector. You, Strappy, and Calvin became the best of friends. You did, however, harass them from time to time by running up to them and poking them with your nose, then you’d run away as fast as you could. As you matured, so did our relationship. You were my friend and my companion. We took long walks in the morning and in the evening. Whenever possible, I’d take you with me in the car. I was never embarrassed by all the dog fur and dog nose smudges in my car.
In year 3 you became not only my friend and companion, but also my comforter. That was the year your grandpa got so sick. I can remember spending hours at the hospital with him and grandma…coming home to you was so comforting and was such a breath of life. I felt bad that I had to be away from you so much, but I think you understood why I had to be gone.
Year 4 was a good year…for the most part. We had lots of snow days…you loved the snow. You loved to sniff and roll in it, and you loved to chase snow balls. No matter spring, winter, fall, or summer we played…we played hide and seek, we took lots of rides together, you developed your great love for digging in prairie dog holes, and we took so many wonderful walks. On our early morning walks you taught me to truly appreciate a beautiful sunrise. You taught me so many things, Shiloh. Things that words can’t describe…things for which I will be eternally grateful.
You were just shy of your 5th birthday when on a cold February night I found a lump in your neck. My friend said it was just a normal node, but I knew in my heart something was wrong. We went to the vet, took antibiotics, did needle biopsies, and finally did a whole node biopsy. That’s when the lymphoma diagnosis came. For the last 6 ½ months of your life, you spent more time at the vet’s than any dog should have to. You were poked, prodded, given shots, pills, and an icky diet, but through all of that you kept your zest for life. That’s what I respect most about you, Shiloh, is that you never wallowed in your illness. You looked forward to each new day…be it a day at the oncologist’s or a day in the prairie dog town…you loved it. You loved life. You loved living. Shiloh it’s your love for life that has brought me to the decision to ease your suffering. Today and yesterday you’ve been so uncomfortable and in pain, you aren’t interested in eating, you’re not even interested in going for a walk. Your doctor will coming over tonight to stop your pain. Tonight, sweet Shiloh, you’ll be running and playing in a place where there are no fences. A place where there’s a prairie dog hole everywhere you look…a place where lymphoma doesn’t exist. I won’t be there when you arrive, but I’ll be a long in time. I’m going to miss you more than words can describe, but I have to set you free. Because of your pain and discomfort, it would be selfish of me to keep you here any longer.

Shiloh’s vet arrived at 8:45 that night. Shiloh bravely endured her last two injections and she died peacefully in my arms. As she breathed her last breath I whispered “I love you, Shiloh. Godspeed, little pup,” and at 9:20 she was gone.

Dear Shiloh,

You’ve been gone for 6 months now…half a year. Sometimes I feel like I just saw you yesterday…sometimes it feels like an eternity. I miss you, sweet, baby Shiloh. I’ve written this tribute for you. You’re memory will live on not only in my heart, but also at this website. My commitment is to continue to add memories and tributes and letters to you throughout time.

Shiloh, this song by Diamond Rio describes how I feel so many days. Thanks to Cheri for posting the lyrics…

Last night I had a crazy dream
A wish was granted just for me
It could be for anything
I didn't ask for money
Or a mansion in Malibu
I simply wished, for one more day with you


One more day
One more time
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again
I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still, for one more day with you

First thing I'd do, is pray for time to crawl
Then I'd unplug the telephone
And keep the TV off
I'd hold you every second
Say a million I love you's
That's what I'd do, with one more day with you


Leave me wishing still, for one more day
Leave me wishing still, for one more day

I love you Shiloh Bilow. I’ll see you my dreams and forever hold you in my heart.
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