This past Friday Mark and I made the very difficult decision to have our beloved dog, Miles, put to sleep. I know it was the best for Miles, he is now pain free and running and playing in a place more beautiful than I can imagine – I have faith in this. At this very same moment in time, though, I am not in that pain-free, beautiful place. I do believe, as I paraphrase C.S. Lewis, that the grief and pain now is the price I pay for the joy and love that came with Miles in my life.
I had no prior dog experience before Miles, I have always been more of a cat person. My husband had a much loved dog growing up and wanted to get a dog and I was a somewhat willing participant. In fact, I fell in love with a picture of a shelter dog that a friend had posted on Facebook and made arrangements to meet that dog. It was January, cold, snowy and I went to the shelter and met ‘Rudy’. When he was brought out he ran over to me, sat on my foot, leaned against my leg, looked up at me and started gently whining. I bent down to pet him and he just pressed into me harder. My black wool coat was completely covered in dog hair and my mind was bewildered by the emotions I was feeling, I knew that Mark needed to meet this little guy.
Mark met ‘Rudy’ and we agreed to make him part of our family. Since ‘Rudy’ didn’t really know his name – because his previous adopters gave him that name – we renamed him Miles to go along with our two cats, Ella and Louis. I brought Miles home on a day that we were supposed to get a blizzard – it never happened – and Mark needed to spend the night at work because of the supposed blizzard. Life before us was not easy for Miles, he was abandoned in a crate, outside, in a snow storm, and his previously mentioned adoptive parents had to return him to the shelter. Miles had a past with a lot of suspected baggage. And here we were, Miles and I, starting on our life together.
Just about everything about Miles bewildered me. I had no concrete knowledge of how to take care of him. He was shedding heavily, his breath stunk, he tormented our cats, and he felt compelled to mark almost every area of the house – including Ella’s drinking bowl. I was overwhelmed. Then, a lot of the time, he just would jump up by me wherever I was sitting and sit on my lap and lean into me. We were bonding through all of my bewilderment.
We were under the assumption that he was around 5 years old, but later began to fully realize that he was undoubtably a lot older. Miles got seriously ill 3 months after we got him and there were moments in those days that I thought he might die – I was a wreck. We got through it, though, and eventually he began to act more like his typical, goofy self. During this time we discovered that not only was he significantly older than we initially believed, but he also had kidney disease. There were a whole slew of new considerations to deal with in taking care of Miles, which we handled one step at a time.
During this time is when I began feeling that I wanted to start a blog – not about Miles or pet ownership, but about my own journey with weight loss and making healthier choices for life. It stemmed from me having to walk Miles whether I really felt like it or not. I would think to myself, “Just shut up and walk the dog.” Strangely that started to make sense to me about my own response to how I choose to live my own life – “Just shut up and…… workout, meal prep, drink more water, go to bed, forgo the French fries, etc.” This was a total shift in how I had ever thought about losing weight, it was about realizing that I needed to know what truly was best for me and then parenting myself to make the best choices. Miles taught me that there were certain things that simply needed to be done to live my best existence, whether I wanted to do it or not. Miles was this living, breathing, bundle of life that required me to do what needed to be done – and I would ALWAYS do it for him – and I am a living, breathing, bundle of life that needs the same love and consideration from myself.
Over the span of a year our sweet boy gradually declined until this past Friday when I needed to ask the veterinarian what the best prognosis was for Miles as he was, once again, sick and in pain. There were heroics that could have been tried, but none of them would have given my furry baby a better quality of life for any significant amount of time. Mark and I made the heart-wrenching decision to help him ease more gently from this existence into a more peaceful one. Even though 16 months was not nearly enough time to spend with this pup, but we were blessed in so many ways to have him as ours. God bless you my darling boy, you gave us so much more than we ever gave you. You are in my heart always and will be my puppaluppa forever.
Your Human Mommy