When I started this blog I wanted it to be only about running. As a result, while you will obviously find glimpses into my life, I rarely stray from the running theme.
A main exception to that was last year when I posted about our elderly horse Dylan having to be put down. Sadly, today is such a post again as last night we said goodbye to our 14 year old Black Lab, Shyloh. Fourteen years is a long time to have an animal as part of your household. When we brought Shyloh home, my husband and I were married for less than a year, living in the burbs with two cats. She made the move with us to the country and without any jealousy or problems adjusted to two babies joining the family. She also adjusted to , or perhaps tolerated is the better word, two other dogs joining our mix (not both at once). For at least three years now we were sure that her time must be near, afterall, you just don’t expect a Lab to live to 14. Amazingly though she was happy and clear headed right to the end, for which we are grateful.
In 14 years of marriage my husband and I have had to say goodbye to 4 animals; two dogs, a cat and a horse. The first dog we put down was a sweet thing who we found abandoned during a brutal heat wave on our country road. I still remember how eagerly she lept into our truck and immediately made herself part of our family. Unfortunately a few years later she became ill. That resulted in pain and a change of temperment leaving us no choice but to have Tori put down. Then there was Baxter, the cat I brought home during my single life, deciding that cats were better than men! Shortly thereafter I met my husband-to-be. And of course last year my husband’s horse of well over 20 years reached the end of his life, following much the same pattern as Shyloh as his body just decided it was time to stop working. For me it gives me great comfort in having a death be a result of old age, allowing the animal a peaceful and graceful way to leave this life.
My husband and I both agree that having children puts the death of pets in perspective. I know people who have lost their children and that is simply a grief that frightens me so much as to make it impossible for me to even think about. So the loss of an animal is not the end of our world. We still have two horses and a goofy, lovable Chocolate Lab mix we chose from a shelter a few years ago. But losing an animal does leave a hole and our quiet, gentle, incredibly well behaved Shyloh will be missed for a long time to come.