In September of 2018 I became a rescue “mom” of a large white husky mix dog.
I work for Compassion Coalition, an organization in Knoxville that helps churches, organizations and businesses help people in need in the community of Knoxville, Tennessee. Compassion Coalition runs a call center where people in need, church benevolence staff or caseworkers can call in and find community resources for a variety of needs.
On this particular day in September I answered the phone and spoke with a local caseworker who assits the senior population. She had been called on to do a wellness check for an elderly gentleman who had been put in the hospital. Seems he didn’t have water at his home and had walked to the corner store to get a case of bottled water for he and his dog when he became dizzy and passed out on the walk home. A couple driving past saw this and stopped. In the hospital he became very concerned about his dog at home alone with no water.
The caseworker, with his permission, went to the home to find living conditions in such a state that no human or animal should have to live. By this point they knew the elderly gentleman would not be able to return to his home with his health condition. He prayed for a good home for his dog while he was getting better.
Now the caseworker was tasked to find assistance for a dog, Shiloh. After telling me the story of the elderly gentleman, I recommeded a vet that would come to the house and access the dog’s physical condition, which was in a terrible state. She was filthy and covered in excrement, so badly covered you could not tell that she was a white dog, she had sores all over and was so overweight she could barely walk.
The vet then called me and told me about the state of the home and the dog. The Spirit told me I needed to help this poor animal. So sight unseen, I decided to become a foster-mom. I didn’t even tell my husband. I met the vet and the caseworker at the gentleman’s house and the neighbors let us use their garden hose to give Shiloh a much needed bath. I called my husband and told him what I was doing and asked him to meet me there after he got off work. He just laughed at me and said ok.
After 3 hours of scrubbing the matted, smelly fur a different dog emerged. I was stunned, my husband was speechless. God works in mysterious ways. She bore a striking resemblance to the husky we had for 16 years.
The vet was amazed that she was still alive, considering the conditions of the home. It was so bad, the vet wore a mask and waders into the home to retrieve the dog’s crate. So from that point she was dubbed a Wonder-Dog.
Shiloh sat still through the 3 hour bath and seemed to enjoy the attention, but was so heavy she couldn’t climb into the backseat of my Kia Soul for me to take her to my farm. We had to lift her the 3 steps into my house when we got there.
We began the joyous journey of nursing Shiloh back to health. I say joyous because it is such a miracle to see the joy of life return to one of God’s creatures. Dog’s really do smile. To see actual wonder cross her face as she got healthy and explored the outdoors was such a gift to me. Again she earned her name as Shiloh the Wonder Dog. We walked 3 times a day, we enjoyed playing ball in the yard and chasing rabbits. Her wounds healed and she loved life on the farm. The vet was amazed at her progress. She went from 140 lbs to 85 lbs and had pep in her step again.
The elderly gentleman who owned Shiloh, loved her and she was his only companion for the 6 years after his wife passed away. He was heartbroken and fell into depression, suffered from PTSD and without family thought he had no resources to help him. His caseworker was able to get him the much needed treatment he needed and get him into an assisted living home where he now has a community who cares about him and he is doing so much better. He was unable to take Shiloh to the new place, so we became her forever home. We asked if he wanted to see her, but he didn’t want to confuse her. He was just happy that she was happy and taken care of.
Shiloh was a happy dog who never complained, but liked to talk, like most huskies do. We often had “conversations” about life on the sofa. After just over two years with us Shiloh crossed over the rainbow bridge yesterday. She will be missed, but I didn’t want her story to go untold. Had it not been for Compassion Coalition I would have missed this opportunity to make a difference in the life of this sweet doggie and the difference she made in my life is a blessing I will never forget.
Never pass up your opportunity to do good in this world. It will benefit you more than you can imagine.