Jan 13, 2014

I used to think all dog people were crazy

If you told me 11 years ago that your dog was your child or slept in your bed, I would look at you like you were nuts. Growing up in my culture, dogs were taboo in the home. My parents discouraged animals of any kind and would not even visit people if they had a house pet. I did not have the desire to ever have a pet because of my upbringing. When our first child was old enough say the word "dog", she asked for one. I refused to entertain that idea. I told my husband that until we bought a house and had a fenced in yard, I would *think* about it. Of course, the time came that we got the house with the yard and the question came up again. I let my husband and first born have their way and we got a 3 month old long coat chihuahua puppy. He was kind of cute, I admit. It took me no time at all to end up falling in love with this little pooch known as, Milo. We raised Milo as if he was our child. Anyone who visited, even non-dog lovers couldn't resist Milo. He was a cute and sweet dog. He loved everyone except the postal service workers, FedEx and UPS delivery people and the occasional stranger. If he sensed you were not supposed to be around our home, he would let you know it!
Over the years, Milo has been a faithful companion. He was always with one of his family members. He did not like to be left out of anything that was going on. If my husband was outside doing yard work, Milo was there. If I was working in my office, he would nap at my feet. If the kids were watching television, Milo lounged on the couch or floor near them. He was a family dog.

About two months ago, Milo started coughing. It was the first time we had ever heard him do that. We watched him for a few days and decided it was time to get him checked out at the vet. After a thorough examination, x-rays and blood work, it was determined that he had congestive heart failure. At that time, his lungs were full of fluid and he had a heart valve infection. It also was discovered that he had an enlarged heart that was pressing against his windpipe. That was what caused him to cough. We went ahead and got him some immediate treatment and had him put on 4 medications as well as a low-sodium prescription diet. The prognosis was that he may do well on the medications and live a relatively normal life or the opposite. For the first two weeks being on the medication, we noticed a difference and he seemed to be improving. Unfortunately, that didn't last long. He was getting sick again. The coughing came back. It got to the point that he was having a hard time breathing normally. We tried him on another batch of antibiotics as well as his other heart medications and he did not improve. He worsened.

It came down to having to make that big decision. Do we keep watching him suffer or let him go be at peace? It was a unanimous decision by our family (minus William since he doesn't fully understand) that we would have him put down. I always used to tell the girls when Milo was younger that pets don't live for a long time. They aren't the same as humans. I guess we didn't realize that time would come so soon. Ten years flew by and we had to do the right thing for Milo. We spent all of last week saying our final goodbyes to Milo. We let him do as he wanted and fed him like a king. It was hard. We all cried. I cried so much that I couldn't recognize my own face. I did not know I could love a dog that much.

We officially had him put down on Saturday morning. It was so hard. Everyone was very upset, but we knew it was the right thing to do. I think that knowing what was going to happen made it easier to handle. Milo has given us over 10 years of unconditional love and loyalty. We were so blessed to have him in our family. He is gone, but will forever remain in our hearts and memories.

The hardest part now is all the little reminders of him around the house. I no longer have the need for baby gates when we leave the house. I don't have to worry about leaving certain things on the floor in fear he might tear it up. I still hear him though. I hear faint barks and whimpering. I hear the jingle of his collar tags and his nails on the floor as if he is walking around the corner. It feels like he's still here. I have called the kids Milo almost a dozen times already. It will take time. We will all heal. For now, I focus on how much better a person I am because of him. I also know that dog people are definitely not crazy. They have extra big hearts.

Rest in sweet peace, Milo Anthony. You gave us 10 awesome years! We know you are living it up with all your friends in Heaven ♥

7 comments:

  1. Sorry for your loss. Of course, I am sitting here and can barely see with all these tears in my eyes. When I had my chow (who I referred to as one of my babies) and it was time to put him down (he had cancer) it took me two weeks to stop expecting him to greet me at the door when I came home. The first day was the hardest, I just slid down the door and cried. Now, we have a little mutt who has gray in his fur and I am already thinking "here we go again." Your Milo was one of the lucky ones, he had a wonderful family to love him.
    I am sending you and your children virtual hugs.

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  2. Oh Shelly, sorry for the loss of your sweet Milo. Dogs are such a big part of our lives and I know that was such a hard decision. He's at peace now.

    Continue to think about all the good times you had together! *Hugs*

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  3. This is very touching as I think the same way you thought, though we dont have a dog yet. Pet lovers do seem to have extra big hearts and I'm grateful for that.

    Condolences

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  4. I feel for you and the family. I use to have a pet and losing them is very hard. But you made the best decision considering the circumstance.

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  5. Oh Shelly, you got my eyes sweating reading the best dog eulogy ever. Like you, I used to give dog folks the side eye until we got a dog. Sometimes I still give the side eye, but then I think about how life was with our yorkie/shih tzu. He was our baby before human babies. Now that the in laws have dogs, I'm falling for them all over again.

    Rest in paradise, Milo Anthony! *hugs*

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  6. I am very sorry for your loss....Been there myself. It is heartwrenching experience.

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  7. Such a beautifully written post. xx

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