No matter how bad things got, I always had my baby. They took everything else away from me except for Shiloh and my will to live. But in the end Shiloh and I both survived and began our new life at Asherpark.
My background is complicated. There’s definitely a coyote in my lineage. Just look at my tail and my funny lope. I lived as a feral dog for a time and still carry those traits with me. I prefer to grab a mouthful of food and run to a safe place to eat it.
Shiloh was from my final litter. I don’t remember how many litters I had before hers, but there are other of my pups out there somewhere.
Shiloh and I were picked up as strays by the animal control in southern California. We were both confined at the shelter together until a nice woman adopted us. She took us to live with her and her son in Rancho Cucamongo. We were treated well enough. My daughter Shiloh loved the human companionship and formed a strong bond with our adopter.
Not too long after we were adopted the lady got sick and died. Her son, who never paid any attention to us before his mother’s death, told his friends we were useless dogs. I heard him say he oughta just turn us lose in the desert and use us for target practice.
Instead he did something far worse. He locked me and Shiloh in a small crate hardly big enough for the two of us to lie down. When he wasn’t drunk or high on drugs, he’d toss us a handful of food. He only filled our water dish when he noticed it was bone dry. Sometimes we would go without food and water for days.
No matter how hungry I was, I always encouraged Shiloh to eat first. In the end there wasn’t enough food for even one dog and we lay in the kennel slowly dying of starvation.
Despite my larger size and my maternal role, Shiloh was my protector. She would place her frail little body between me and any threat. I could hear her soft growl when people got too close to us.
I remember well the day Shiloh gave up on life. She had wasted away to twelve pounds when she should have been closer to forty. As we lay nose to nose Shiloh asked if I could let her go. She had lost the will to live and her suffering was awful. I knew Shiloh would not let go of life until I released her. My heart screamed with the anguish that only a mother can feel.
I begged Shiloh to hang on for one more day. I knew that if Shiloh let go of life, I would quickly follow her. I could not live without my precious Shiloh.
That night I pondered how I got us into such a mess. Why didn’t I take Shiloh and run away into the desert when we still had a chance? Why did I let us get locked into a crate where there was no escape?
I awoke abruptly to the sound of loud knocking and shouting. “Police!” a man said in a threatening voice. “Put your hands up!”
Suddenly the door was kicked in and policemen ran into the house. There was lots of shouting and cursing. The awful man who had locked me and Shiloh away for so many months was thrown onto the floor and handcuffed.
“You’re under arrest,” the officer told him.
Shiloh and I cowered in our crate. Shiloh stood in front of me to try to protect me from what was sure to come. We watched in terror as one of the officers approached our crate.
“Oh my god!” he shouted. “Come see what that lousy bastard has done to these dogs.”
We were quickly surrounded by more officers. One knelt down and quietly whispered, “It’s gonna be okay. He can’t hurt you anymore.”
Soon the animal control people arrived at the house. Shiloh and I were carefully lifted into a truck that would take us back to the shelter. Shiloh was so weak she couldn’t hold her head up. I was so scared I wet myself.
One of the officers walked up to the police car where the bad guy was sitting. “You either sign these dogs over to the city or I’m charging you with animal cruelty,” he practically screamed.
“You can take them worthless dogs. Shoulda shot ’em when I had a chance,” the bad man snarled.
And so it happened that the extra day I begged Shiloh for was just long enough for fate to intervene and save us. Our lives were about to change, though at that moment we had no idea what would become of us.