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Written by Jody Perry, Rowena Russell
Marty is the main character in the novel. He is a polite, considerate eleven year old boy, the eldest of three children and expected to lend a hand with taking care of his young sisters. He lives on the type of community that still expects children to be seen and not heard, not to question adult authority and definitely never to talk back or cheek. Marty is always mindful of his family's need to stretch every dollar. Finding Shiloh brings out many elements of Marty's character that he was unaware of; he is protective and suddenly aware of the problem if dogs being treated abusively in his neighborhood. He gains the courage to question adult authority when it puts the well being of an animal at risk. He is determined and resourceful, managing to come up with and execute a plan to keep Shiloh hidden in secret, building a practical and safe pen on the hill and coming up with multiple stories to prevent his sisters from going up there.
Marty is a hard worker with a strong moral compass and like his parents is tries to his word, continuing to work hard for Judd Travers even when Travers casts doubt on the validity of their contract. He is strong-willed and already growing up to be a fine young man.
Ray Preston has a delivery route that takes him all over town and consequently is known and liked by everyone. He is a hard worker who values honesty and trust which is why he is hurt and angry with Marty for keeping Shiloh when he had told Judd Travers he would return him if he happened to see him. Although Marty's father does not want to grow attached to the pup he cannot help himself and comes to believe that having a dog feeds the soul of his family.
Marty's mother is a hard-working, practical woman who does not indulge herself in daydreams but throws herself into the jobs that need to be done. She is careful with the pennies but also a proud woman who would never ask for help or charity which is why Marty is uneasy about having given people the impression that they do not have the money to buy fresh food, only the stuff that is spoiled. She is soft-hearted woman who wants to help both her son and the dog he has fallen in love with as she would hate to see either of them upset.
Judd is a bully with a suspicious nature and a liking for hunting. He is abusive to his hunting dogs , keeping them on chains in the yard and keeping them hungry so that they will be more aggressive when they hunt . He thinks nothing of yelling at a dog, or kicking a dog, and Marty is certain that he has also shot one of his hunting dogs in the head as he discovers a dead beagle with a bullet hole very close to where Judd likes to hunt. He also likes to shoot deer out of season, a pastime that leads to Marty finally having a bargaining chip with Judd when he witnesses him shooting a deer. He was raised by a father who was a bully, with no real father-son bonding and seems actually unaware of how to bond with people. He enjoys treating people rather badly and is known around town for being rough around the edges.
Doc Murphy is the town's general practitioner and also seems to have fairly transferable skills that enable him to stitch up Shiloh's wounds after the Bakers' German Shepherd attacks him. He is a trustworthy man who keeps to his word and goes the extra mile for his patients.
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