Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Week Ago...

A week ago today at approximately 3:55 pm Milo crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. When I got home from the vet's office, I lit two candles for him. A little while later we took Maxx and Ashley out for the night. I couldn't stand being home. I didn't want dinner. I'm still not eating much - just dinner really. So I decided for dinner we all would have ice cream and go for a walk along the lake. We live very close to one of the Finger Lakes and there's a gorgeous park that surrounds the head of the lake. There's a brand new playground that my neighbor helped find funding for and build and an ice cream shop by the pier. 

Off we went to the lake. We walked around for a bit. Talked about Milo. Maxx got to go in the lake. That crazy Puggle loves water. He didn't find a girlfriend this time. The last time he went to the lake he was all googly eyed over a blonde Cocker Spaniel. He followed her around like a sick puppy. We did meet a nice Bloodhound who was pretty mellow. Big dog! 

After our walk, we went to the ice cream stand. They have a variety of ice creams - hard, soft, wine (yes, made with real Finger Lakes wine!), frozen yogurt, wine slushies, hot dogs, sodas, and other goodies. If you ask Maxx, the best thing there is the Doggie Sundae. It's a dish of soft serve vanilla ice cream with mini Milkbones. He LOVES ice cream! Ashley got her own and ate a few licks here and there, but the cup holds enough for to have at least four meals out of it. She only eats about a quarter cup of food twice a day and this Doggie Sundae is easily a full cup of ice cream. 

Maxx and Ashley had good time with their walk. They're both very adventurous and like going places. Maxx would go in the car every day if you let him. He has even figured out how he can sit up so he can look out the window while we're driving! He's such a nut. It's so funny to watch him in the car. The amount of excitement in his face is unbelievable. It's like a six year old coming down the stairs Christmas morning and seeing the treasure trove left by Santa. 

Milo was never adventurous. He was definitely a homebody. He was extremely bonded with Maxx. He would cry, whimper, and whine whenever Maxx went somewhere without him. He acted like Maxx would never be back and his whole world was about to fall apart. It was rather sad to see Milo like this. We always felt so bad for him. We tried taking Maxx and Milo out together a few times over the years, but Milo would just cry, whimper, and whine the whole time. Poor guy! 

So for us going out all together as a family, it rarely happened. We did rent a couple of cabins and take them all with us. That was always a long car ride! It was always worth it though when we got to the woods. The first cabin was in the Great Smoky Mountains. It was the first time we had autumn and leaves since we moved south. Maxx and Milo always liked playing in the leaves. Ashley loves pushing leaves around with her nose. She's famous for getting them stuck in her hair. Maxx jumps around sniffing the air and acting like a complete goober in autumn. He's a goober other times of the year as well. He is half Pug so that explains that gooberness about him. They all had a really good time that week in the mountains. 

Poor Milo was a well traveled boy. He was originally from Kentucky. He was a shelter puppy. About a month before I found Milo, our dog Oscar passed away. He was 15 and we adopted him from a shelter four days after Christmas. Who brings a 12 year old dog to a shelter for Christmas? Nasty people! I was pretty sad over losing Oscar, but he was an old gentleman and we gave him a great life in his golden years. 

Oscar's passing made me get involved in dog rescue. At that time, there weren't nearly as many rescues as there are now. Unfortunately, they are desperately needed. There's a reason Bob Barker and Drew Carey remind you spay and neuter your pets every day. 

I knew I wanted to find another large male dog. Oscar was a tall guy. My husband traveled with work quite a bit then so I wanted a big boy again. I saw the photo of Milo that I posted in yesterday's blog post on a Yahoo rescue group. He had such a sweet face. I contacted the lady working with the shelter to find out how I could adopt him. It turned out that a rescue from New Hampshire was going down to Kentucky to bring a van load of dogs back to New Hampshire to save them. The dog ward at that shelter in kentucky was a NASTY SOB. He was known for using dogs as target practice when their time was up at the shelter. So cruel and inhumane. I couldn't let that happen to Milo. He was in foster care so he wouldn't get sick. Often times, shelters have lots of cooties and many dogs get sick. Puppies are especially susceptible to Kennel Cough and other germies. I couldn't let him get sick or die. 

The rescue from New Hampshire sent someone to meet me and check out my house. We passed the home inspection with flying colors. And a few days later we drove three hours to a travel station (a big gas station for tractor trailers) and waited for three hours for the doggie van to arrive. The rescue got a very late start and their trip took even longer than they expected. Giving water to 20+ dogs and letting them out to go potty takes very long time. We helped them water the pooches and take some for potty time. Then we got on the road for the three hour drive back home. 

Remember how I said Milo didn't like the car and how he whimpered, whined, and cried in the car? Umm, yeah he did that the whole way home. And I thought what have I gotten myself into? He did make it home safe and sound. He got a bath that he hated before we let him in the house. He had lots of fleas. Yucko! Off to our vet he went the next day. We found out he had Demodectic Mange so I had to get him a prescription for Ivermectin. I had to go to a special pharmacy that ground medications and carried a number of odd things. Odd really isn't the right word. They don't carry the same old stuff Walgreens does. 

Here's some fun with numbers....

Milo came home on July 11, 2004. He was five months old.

Maxx came home on July 13, 2004. He was almost 12 months old.

Ashley came home on July 15, 2003. She was 14 weeks old. 

And they grew up together. They never spent a day apart from one another until last week. They are still looking for Milo at times. Mostly when they come inside or when we come home and they've been crated. 

Tonight was the first time I've let them out of their crates since Milo left us. It was much more difficult than I thought it would be. I still haven't had the heart to take Milo's crate out of our bedroom. We did put his food bowl away. Feeding them is still so strange. Letting them out is also weird. Part of the strangeness is that we haven't had only two dogs since we lost Oscar. Another part of the strangeness is that we've had a large male dog for 11 years. The biggest factor in all this is that Milo is missing. I know he's here with me in spirit, but's not the same as him physically being here with me. I love that boy! I will miss him until my last breath. I still miss Oscar, Sheba, Moose, and Brandy. 

A few weeks ago, I stopped at McDonald's while I was out and about. I haven't eaten there in well over a year. I don't like fast food. I only eat their French fries and drink Sprite. Yup, I'm living on the edge I know. Well, McDonald's was having the Monopoly game and I won a real prize. I didn't win a free soda or small fries. Nope. I won a free book from Shutterfly. This was perfect for me since I'm a paper artist. I've never actually made a Shutterfly book before. I've been trying to figure out what I would use my free book for. I have thousands of photos. I wanted to use it on something special. I decided late last week that I would make a book of Milo's life. It will have photos of him from the beginning until the end. I have many great memories of him and I want to honor him in as many ways as I can. We're going to plant a blueberry garden in his honor in the spring. He looooooved blueberries and blueberry yogurt was his favorite of all the fruit yogurts. Tonight I bought a picture frame withe three photo slots. I need to pick out my favorite photos of Milo, Maxx, and Ashley and get them printed. I want to hang this frame in my studio. I also purchase a frame from Kaisercraft at a scrapbook store this week. Kasiercraft makes many MDF items that you assemble and decorate. This frame is for my studio as well. I need to find a special paper to cover it with. Something special for Milo. He deserves it!

How did my crazy love affair with dogs begin? I was a toddler. Seriously. When I was a toddler, I would sit in Big Trixie's dog bed. I'd sit with her. Sometimes I would have an ice cream and we'd eat it together. Trixie was very protective of me. She nipped at someone once when they got to close to me! Trixie was a Boston Terrier so she wasn't a large dog by any means. I don't remember much from those really early years, but I do remember Trixie and I remember sitting in her bed with her. 

For tonight, I leave you with the last photo of Milo ever taken. I took this in the car on the way to the vet. I sat in hte backseat with him. This was the first time he didn't make any noise in the car. He was stressed, but we needed to let him go. Lymphoma is a nasty disease and really messes up your body. He was going to start suffering soon and I did not want that for him. He was such a sweet boy. I couldn't let him feel pain. 

Milo's last photo August 29, 2013

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