I’m Still Here



Sometimes it’s hard to speak what’s in your heart, especially if things are all mixed up. I guess that’s why we haven’t posted any barks this summer. But time’s awasting and I don’t have forever, so here goes.

Fall is nearly here and so am I. You may think that sounds funny, but it’s true. In January when I got my diagnosis nobody gave me a chance to make it through the summer.

I admit there were a couple of rough patches along the way. Twice my spine seized up and I couldn’t walk. But after a bag of fluids, a shot of cortisone and a cocktail of muscle relaxants and stuff that makes you not worry about anything – I was a happy camper. Two days later I was chasing Ash down the driveway again.

The hardest thing was knowing how mom worried about me. I knew her heart was heavy. She didn’t want me to suffer but she wasn’t ready to let me go.

Ash wasn’t doing so well either. He missed Tess something terrible. Ash told me he could feel Tess next to him sometimes but when he turned to look for her, she wasn’t there.

Ash and Tess

Ash and Tess

We were a house full of sorry mutts and the people weren’t much better. One night my own Mama came back across the bridge to visit me.  She said she brought a message  from Tess and whispered in my ear that we were to get a puppy for Ash before I died.

If it hadn’t come from my own mother, I would have laughed out loud. The last thing I wanted was a sniveling puppy with those hideous teeth. But Mama was adamant. She reminded me how kind and gentle Ash had always been to us. Now it was time to do something for Ash.

I suggested we look for a shelter dog. It could even be an Australian Shepherd if that’s what Ash wanted. Mama said no. It had to be a puppy and the puppy had to come from Asher’s line.

I knew better than to argue with Mama. I promised her I would do as instructed. With that Mama vanished and I was left with a terrible longing.

As her presence faded I heard her silent bark, “I will come for you when it’s your time, Shiloh.”

The next night when our human mom was sleeping, I put the thought into her dreams that she should get a puppy for Asher.

I was minding my business when mom woke up and told us she had the strangest dream. She said she dreamed we needed a puppy and the puppy should be from Asher’s line. I pretended to lick my paw while I stifled a laugh.

Ash raced over and jumped on mom.

“Are you serious?” Ash barked. “Would you really get me a puppy?”

Mom didn’t say anything for the longest time. She stared into the distance and finally whispered, “Yes, Ash. I will find you a puppy and we will raise her together.”

For the first time in months Ash did his silly dance. He grabbed a mouthful of socks and shoes and raced around the living room. I groaned silently to myself and wrapped my tail around my nose. It wasn’t my first time at the rodeo. I knew what chaos was about to descend on our peaceful home.

But the deed was done. I did what Mama asked and I was prepared for the consequences.

And so it was we reluctantly embarked on a journey born of sorrow and filled with the promise of a new beginning. The universe was in motion. Asher’s puppy had already been born and we were soon to discover who was coming to Asherpark.


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