". . . owning a dog always ended with this sadness because dogs just don't live as long as people do."
~ (Marley & Me)
~ (Marley & Me)
How do you know when it is "time"? My vet told me that when you really look into his eyes, you will see his suffering and pain and he won't look like he's himself ... like something is missing. A few days ago, Milo looked like he was in a tremendous amount of pain. He's 15 years old and over the past year he's suffered two strokes and the left side of his face is paralyzed. Up until a week ago he still had spark and spunk. He had trouble walking but he still looked forward to his walks and he would still mark his territory like a bajillion times. He still loved his doggie treats and he still begged for scraps at the dining table. He still loved sunbathing in the sun and his tailed still wagged whenever I cooed his name. I'd call him, "Milo Buddy."
Over the past weekend, he lost all his spunk. He had trouble breathing and walking, his eyes were bloodshot and he wasn't eating any more. He just hid in the backyard and refused to budge. When I stroked him and talked to him gently, he looked into my eyes and I could see that his red eyes were rimmed with tears. He was crying and I broke down sobbing. It broke my heart to see him in so much pain. When I took him to the vet, she said the words I was so afraid to hear . . . "it was time." That was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made as I didn't want to let him go. But I knew it was the unselfish thing to do. He was suffering and it killed me to see him suffer.
He was my first son and my only son. He was the only boy in this estrogen filled household of headless Barbies and legless Polly Pocket dolls. My other two pooches are girls and my two kids are girls. And Milo was my boy. He was a regal dog. A dark and handsome hound if I may so myself. When he sat in the backyard with his head tilted to worship the sun and to bask in the breeze, he looked like the Prince of Persia. And he was my Prince of Persia. And that's how I shall always remember him. Regal, Strong, Loyal and Loving, Dark and Dashing and Prince-like. And I miss him SO much. As I'm typing, my keyboard is drenched in tears. Some people turn to the bottle to comfort or numb themselves, well writing is how I cope.
I'm posting this not because I want anybody's condolences. It's simply a way for me to have Milo remain in the blogosphere . . . forever. Here, My Prince of Persia will live on in cyberspace for eternity.
Milo buddy. March 1996 - June 2011
Milo is buried in our backyard, just outside my bedroom window. My daughter Bella made a farewell card for Milo. She's only in kindergarten and she didn't know how to spell his name, but I like her spelling of it even more. She spelled his name "Milove."
Milo has been with me for 15 donkey years. And he is my heart. He stuck by my side all those years . . . marriage, babies, good times, bad times, moving cross country, living in 3 different apartments and finally a house with a big backyard. He was my first kid and he taught me how to be a mom. The book Marley and Me pretty much sums up how I feel about my buddy boy. I leave you with some beautiful excerpts from John Grogan's book . . .
"A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty."
"It's just the most amazing thing to love a dog, isn't it? It makes our relationships with people seem as boring as a bowl of oatmeal."
"Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day."
"A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine. A dog judges others not by their color or creed or class but by who they are inside. A dog doesn't care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his. It was really quite simple, and yet we humans, so much wiser and more sophisticated, have always had trouble figuring out what really counts and what does not. As I wrote that farewell column to Marley, I realized it was all right there in front of us, if only we opened our eyes. Sometimes it took a dog with bad breath, worse manners, and pure intentions to help us see."