Losing a Four Legged Son, a Best Friend, My Prince or Persia

". . . owning a dog always ended with this sadness because dogs just don't live as long as people do."
~  (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." 

40 comments:

  1. Lisa, I am so sorry to hear about Milo. He sounds like a wonderful dog. Although, I have never owned a pet, I'd want a dog just like Milo. (I was teary-eyed as I was reading through your post. I had to hide my face in my pillow so the hubby wouldn't see). Keep your spirits up! :)

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  2. My Dalmatian died a few years ago at age 14. He was very sick at the end and I had to let him go, but it felt so wrong because he was still my happy guy. I've had other dogs, I have another now, I love them all, but that dog was special to me. He was part of my heart. It is a very hard loss.

    The photos of Milo are adorable. I'm glad you have his grave nearby. Wish I could have done that with my dog.

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  3. Anonymous1:11 AM

    Oh my God!! I am at work and I am reading this... I can imagine my face turning red as I try so terribly hard to hold back my tears.. I don't have a dog but I do have a cat. I really feel for you, that is just so sad. Everybody goes there, it's one of the real things that we have to go through - the fear of being left alone.

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  4. I am so sorry for your loss. Milo sounds like a wonderful pup and I am glad he got to experience such a wonderful owner (the love poured into this post proves that). Your post was beautiful - I especially loved your daughters spelling of Milo. Thank you for sharing Milo with us. I am sure he loved every moment spent with you as much as you loved every moment spent with him.

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  5. I don't even know what to say but my heart goes out to you to have peace in you soon thinking your loving milo is in a place where there is no pain and will be watching over your family forever. I feel so heartbroken by your loss.

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  6. So sorry, Lisa :( From the pics, Milo looks like the sweetest dog in the world. What a hard thing to have to do. I dread the time when I have to do the same for my dog. Hope you and your family are able to find some peace!

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  7. Oh Lisa, I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sitting here crying over this as I keep telling myself to get to work. He was a beautiful boy and he had a loving home, the memories will always be in your heart. <3 <3

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  8. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Our dog's become our family. My thoughts are with you today.

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  9. I am so sorry for your loss. The thought of losing a pet has me crying at my desk at the moment. It does look like Milo had a very wonderful life with you and I'm glad that when the end came you knew enough to let him go.

    Hugs to you and your family. I dread the day we will have to go through the same.

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  10. Oh, I'm sorry to hear about Milove (I think that's the cutest thing I've ever heard, btw). But I am glad that you got to spend so many wonderful years with him. <3

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  11. I know you don't want condolences, but my heart goes out to you, Lisa. This post, and the pictures, actually brought a tear to my eye, as I thought back to *my* first baby boy, Newton, whom I lost last year, at the age of 10. It was a devastating loss, and one my family still hasn't quite recovered from. Milo seems to have been quite the prince in every sense of the word: handsome, kind, loyal and beloved. He will live on forever in your heart.

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  12. Lisa, I am so so sorry for the loss of your dear little boy. I remember too well feeling the same way when I realized it was "time" for our Collie just days before her 13th birthday. Your tribute to Milo is beautiful, and I'll admit, is the first blog post I have read that brought me to full crying out loud. I will never forget the last 24 hours with her (Diamond) as she began light crying (at 10:00 PM on Friday) and pacing, and when let out into our yard (her favorite place) she also just tried to hide. I knew. I had heard that animals can "wonder off" or try to hide. I hugged her through the night, and called our vet in the morning. She had that look in her eyes. My husband took her, along with my 3 daughters (all were teenagers). I had the night with her, and that was enough. Thank God for our memories, and how they live on in our hearts and minds.

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  13. I'm crying typing my condolences. So sorry for your loss, what a sweet boy you had.

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  14. I'm so sorry for your loss. I had to put down my best friend that I grew up with 2 years ago because he had an aggressive cancer, and putting him down was the hardest thing in the world. I can honestly say I have been where you are and I know how hard it is. I know Milo was so special to you , and it was hard to let him go, but understand that he is in a better place now, and out of pain. Just try to remember the happy memories you have of him and you will be able to get through this. I'm sure Milo knows how much you love him and care for him!

    Happy thoughts your way. :)

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  15. OH Lisa. I'm crying here. Being an animal lover myself and having a senior cat I can't imagine how hard this decision was for you, and how hard it was to see him suffer.
    About 2 years ago my senior cat went to the pet ER for 2 days. I couldn't stop crying, I was afraid we would have to put him to sleep which I'm glad we didn't and he recovered. That's a sad thing about having pets. :[
    I hope you feel better soon.
    Much love
    Me

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  16. I'm so sorry lisa. This post made me sob. Sob for the loss of Milo and because I've been through it with my first boy Frisky too. He was my childhood dog and had to be put down when he was 19 and it was so hard. I know how you feel and I truly feel for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Pets are family. All the best to you.

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  17. I'm so sorry about your dog Lisa. This post broke my heart. I don't have any pets but I can understand how painful this must be. He was such a beautiful dog from looking at these pictures, you can tell how gentle he was.
    Sending you lots of heartfelt hugs your wayxx

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  18. What a beautiful boy! May he rest in peace. I have a little dog who is my only child. Even though I know she won't live as long as a person, I kind of pretend that she will, because I dread the day that she's no longer with me.

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  19. Aw, this made me cry. I'm so sorry you had to say goodbye to him.

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  20. This was a beautiful tribute to your noble furry buddy- I know how hard it is to make that decision, even when you see how miserable they are. I'm glad your kids got to know him though, and now there's this sweet memorial online. Big fuzzy hugs.

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  21. I'm so sorry, Lisa. This post brought tears to my eyes. Both sad and happy tears because I could see how much joy he brought into your lives. RIP Milo Buddy.

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  22. I am bawling my eyes out reading this right now. I have two dogs, the older one is 11. I absolutely dread "the day". I love them with all of my heart.

    Really sorry to hear of your loss.

    ***hugs***

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  23. Anonymous7:25 PM

    I am so sorry to hear about Milo. I was crying while I read your post and my heart goes out to you. I have two dogs and I view them as my "fur babies" and they have taught me so much. Milo is lucky to have you as a Mom...

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  24. This post reminded me of my childhood dog, Ginger. I still think of her and miss her even though I'm 45! We had to put our sweet dog to sleep. I remember the day I told my Dad that I thought Ginger was no longer smiling anymore and that it was time for us to say "goodbye".
    I'm sorry for your loss. Your post brought tears to my eyes.

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  25. Oh Lisa, this breaks my heart in a thousand pieces. I am terribly sorry for your loss. I have had 2 sweet pups in my life be let go, and it is a miserable, necessary decision to make. I love your daughter's note, calling him Milove. How appropriate. Comfort and healing your way, friend.

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  26. I am so sorry for your loss
    :(
    This broke my heart

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  27. You made me cry with this post. So touching. I'm sure Milo is watching from up in doggie heaven with happiness that you loved him this much. I can't even bare the thought of losing my rabbit. I lost a pet before and I could barely eat. Stay strong!

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  28. Oh Lisa, I'm so sorry to hear that Milo passed. It is clear that he was a treasured member of the family and a true friend. Thank you so much for sharing your love for him with all of us. I can see that the two of you had a very, very special relationship.

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  29. I'm so sorry for your loss! What a sweetie he was!

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  30. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. This was a beautiful tribute to a sweet member of your family. I hope the memories of Milo's love and friendship will help you and your family find peace at this difficult time.

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  31. As a writer, this was the perfect way to show your love in a tribute to Milo. How amazing that your daughter wrote Milove.

    I love my cats as much as any Dog owner, loves their dog. I have lost 2 over the last 30 years. Each was heartbreaking. The first was as amazing 20 years old. It was her time.

    The second was only 4. That was a heartbreaker. He was such a love too.

    You have so many wonderful photos, and fond memories of Milo. Bring them out and love them often. I still cry for Samantha and Big Foot.

    Milo is now your Angel.

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  32. I love that your daughter wrote Milove. So cute. What a beautiful tribute. Thanks for sharing Milo with us. You know you & the girls will remember him for eternity. ((hugs))

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  33. How cute is Milove?! I'm so sorry to hear about the loss. My childhood pup passed away a few years back and the pain, while still in my life, has been dulled by the amazing memories I had with her. I'm wishing you and your family the best and hopefully one day your pain will be numbed by the amazing memories you have of your loyal boy.

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  34. I'm so sorry that you lost a treasured pet, friend, and member of your family. Your post was truly touching and beautifully written and is fitting for as wonderful a companion as Milo was to you. Wishing you and your family peace and comfort as you grieve.

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  35. Your words filled my eyes with tears...I'm so sorry you had to let Milo go. Loving and stewarding an animal is such a special experience. I hope to be as good to my dog as you were to Milo.

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  36. What a beautiful dog and loving tribute! My thoughts are with you and Milo's family.

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  37. I commiserate with you, Lisa. Our feeling for the animals that let us into their lives is mutual. thank you for sharing Milo's life with us. My tribute is at www.stuartland.com/blog

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  38. I read each and every one of your comments. thank you all for sharing your stories and for your heartfelt words. I truly appreciate it. If there is a Heaven, I hope to see him there someday. I hope he's in a happy place, chasing after birds and squirrels.

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  39. Anonymous7:31 PM

    oh my gosh, lisa, what kind of dog was milo? he is just perfect. was he part beagle? your post was a beautiful tribute to milo and i know he must have had such a happy life with you as his loving mother. xoxoxox

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  40. anon - yes, he was part beagle. =) and I still miss him so . . .

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