Sunday, September 24, 2006

How would you like to live in a 3'x4' cage for 6 years?

This is the story of Shiloh - a mostly blind australian shepherd who lived in Milan Tennessee who was discovered living in a veterinarian's office by a lady named Phyllis a couple months ago. He'd been living a 3 foot by 4 foot cage for the last 6 of his 7 years. He'd been left there by his owner when the owner had become too ill to take care of him. Shiloh was too healthy to be put down, but the veterinarian didn't think anyone would want to adopt him since he was blind - so there he'd sat for the last 6 years. He's only been out of the cage to pee and poop. Can you imagine?

There are billions of people on this planet - and every one of us has different ideas about things - and different ideas about what is humane, and what is cruel, and what is alive, and what is sentient, and what is food, and what is a pet, and what is livestock. 100's of different cultural traditions, regional differences, religious beliefs, there's so many things that come into play when you talk about companion animals and how to treat them. The veterinarian who kept Shiloh in a cage for 6 years truly thought she was doing the right thing - she kept him there in the hopes that - someday - someone would come along who wanted to adopt him. And I suppose someone eventually did. Phyllis discovered him there, didn't she?

She is one of those people who is the exception to the rule where she lives - she lives in rural Tennessee and is a rescuer - one of those people who lives in a place where cock fighting and pig baiting exists and she still believes that all life is precious. And when she saw Shiloh living alone and helpless - she knew she had to save him. That she couldn't just walk by his cage and leave him there.

It took her more than a month - and it took it a lot of people, and the power of the internet, and a lot of people who have never physically met - but yesterday, September 23rd, 2006 - Shiloh left that cage - and for the first time, maybe ever - he stuck his nose out of a moving car - and he breathed very deeply.

How many Shiloh's are out there? Through no fault of their own - dogs - companion animals that are born to be - hard wired to be part of a group of animals - are sitting in cages and chained in back yards all by themselves for years on end. And there's no Phyllis walking by to discover them - and the onese in back yards have no recourse whatsoever. My heart aches for them.

Once Shiloh's eyes have been taken care of - he'll be available for adoption. He has glaucoma, and it's unknown what the status of his condition currently is - he's going to be going to an Ophthalmologist in the next couple of weeks. If you want to read more about him and follow his story - you can go to

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