I said goodbye to Shiloh on 4 July 2022 (Mon) 7.20pm at home.
The Morning – Home & Vet
This morning, I woke up at 5am wide eyes opened. My mind does not crank up that quickly at 5am but this morning I was. A gentle inner voice within me prompted me to go check on Shiloh, completely out of my norm. When I went to her, I realised she was so weak that she could not stand. I knew something was very wrong. The day before, she did not eat and drank very little. She had episodes of missing meals when she had gastric problems so this was not unusual. Thus I did not think too much about her meal missing.
I carried her and prayed. Fed her some coconut water through droplets from a straw as she was clearly dehydrated and weak. I tried contacting a few vet clinics and they were short-handed to have walk-ins, no guarantee how long the wait. Finally an appointment was made for 10.30am at a clinic. Shiloh has heart murmur which I knew some time ago. In all due diligence, the vet asked if he should resuscitate her if she has a cardiac arrest during the scans and tests. I told him no, it is best to let her go as quality of life after is going to be painful for Shiloh. Scans and tests were done. Her blood test showed that she was severely anaemic. Her HCT was at 10.1% while normal range is minimally 37.3%, her HGB was 3.5g/dL while normal is minimally 13.1. Critically anaemic actually. So the race was to find out what was causing this anaemia. By matter of elimination, all the tests came out negative. Conclusion was that she had an auto immune condition that attacks her own blood.
The fight-all-the-way-to-the-end strategy was to send Shiloh to the hospital for blood transfusion to stabilise her. After which they would start treatment for the auto immune condition in the hospital, which wass basically steroids jabs under close monitoring. This meant hospitalisation for week(s) and having to go through the discomfort of needles and steroids. Steroids suppress auto immune but do not heal. Yet there was a chance that she might have a turn around. A dear sister and friend offered her dog as a blood donor, which was the main concern for this route to be possible. The stars were aligned as the vet called a few hospitals and they were good to take Shiloh. So I even had a choice of hospitals.
Yet I felt I needed to pause before making this decision. I spoke to TY over the phone and took time to hear from God together. I was outside the clinic and so thankful that the vet watched over Shiloh while I had this time out. There were moments of silence and my warm tears were making my vision rather blurry. In the silence, I heard very distinctly “bring her home”. I struggled with guilt of not fighting for Shiloh in this decision. While I was wrestling this within, the song “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases” came to TY. I knew that in my obedience to bring Shiloh home, God will take care of the rest.
Telling the vet this decision was tough. The vet understood and he suggested to give a last shot that can be administered at home even though chances were low. He prescribed oral steroids to see if Shiloh will respond. It is a long shot as her blood count was too low to expect a positive response but still worth a try. I could sense a relief from Shiloh when I told her “we are going home.” So Shiloh came home with a bag of medication, including antibiotics at about 1.40pm.
The Comfort of Home – The Final Lap
I placed her in her basket to rest while I prepared her food mixed with the medication. Feeding was through a syringe since she was not eating. On her own, she dragged herself to lie on the floor. She loved the floor, perhaps cooler than cushions. I folded a towel to prop her head for more comfort. She laid down smiling, constantly looking around to take in all that she could. Her breathing was heavy and tedious. I laid on the floor next to her after the feeding. She was too weak to turn herself. Her body looked like it was way too heavy for her to move. When she tried to move her head, I knew she wanted to turn and I will helped her.
At around 6pm, Shiloh suddenly gathered her strength to move herself towards the main door. Not much distance but I knew she wanted to go for her evening walk. I got her sling bag ready and put her in it. Off we went on our usual walk route. She managed to goodbye to a neighbour who she loved to greet. There were moments she wanted to get off the sling to walk but I did not let her down. She was too weak. She was happy.
Back to her lying position but at around 7pm, she got up again. This time she managed to walk about 4-5 meters on her own. Then she sat down for less than a second before collapsing. I told her it was ok and she peed. She was trying to make her way to the back room to her pee pad. A big puddle of brown pee for a small dog. Wiped her clean and put her comfortably back to her lying position. She looked pleased and even turned around to have her head up looking at the whole space with a big smile. Here’s the video of her about 40min before she breathed her last.
I sat by her throughout. At slightly before 7.40pm, there was spasms around heart and I knew it was cardiac arrest. Gentle spasms that cause her body to pull inwards. A few of these spasms and she was still. No more heavy breathing. I knew she breathed her last. A sense of relief came upon me that she is freed from the limitations of this physical body.
This was possibly the best way to say goodbye to Shiloh. I am so glad that I obeyed the voice I heard as much as my mind was shouting the opposite. Both Shiloh and myself we had very good closure to this season that we had each other. I cannot imagine what it would have been like for both of us if she was hospitalised. In the moments sitting by her at home, I was reminding Shiloh of the good memories we had. I knew she understood what I was saying as she responded with smiles and eye contact. So much peace and smiles while we said our goodbyes. All I can say is that God is good.
Shiloh is cremated on 5 July 2022 11.30am. Her ashes to be thrown into the sea on 15 July 2022. Till we meet again my dear friend.
The gentleness of Shiloh has won over many, even those who usually do not like dogs. Her sweet smile is an ice-breaker, even to those whose head were hanging heavy. I remember when I first held her in my arms before adopting her, a bond was formed immediately. She was a very timid little dog. Loud noises would startle her and she was afraid of the grass. She was terribly hand shy and would shrink back whenever someone reaches out the hand to touch her, and was super camera shy too. She came a long way where she would want to go to the grass to sniff out scent, able to “face” thunders as the skies roared, walked up to strangers to say hello and I needed to hold her back with the leash, and many more. I remember having to stand with her by the busy road to help her overcome her fear of the sounds from cars. We just stood by the road and came one time that she realised it was ok for her to sit. Since then she never feared the roads or cars and I was able to cross the road with her. She showed me how fears and past negative experiences can be conquered.
You will be dearly missed Shiloh. No, you did not leave a hole in my heart. You filled my heart so full that I can walk the next season with you in my heart, carrying the precious memories and lessons you have given me. I asked the Lord that you will be in my heavenly mansion waiting for me when I get there after I have finished my assignment and journey here on earth. I want to have you with me as a dear friend for eternity Shiloh. <3