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Gerard Butler GALS

Milo is gone


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Hi Gals,

Through various topics, posts, pictures, and facebook updates, many of you are familiar with my sweet puppy, an Australian Shepherd mix named Milo. Unfortunately, I had to say goodbye to my baby late last week. His human aggression and separation anxiety got to the point where it was no longer manageable.

Ever since a few months after I adopted him, Milo has had troubles around humans. First, he had issues with some men, and then it became some men and some women, and then all strangers when they got near or tried to touch him. Last week, I had a friend come to visit me here in Glasgow. I hadn't anticipated a problem since she was one of the first people he met with me and one person he'd never had a problem with because, as she wasn't a dog person, she never tried to touch him. After living with her just fine for a few days, he went after her and bit her without warning one morning (luckily, although the bite did break the skin, it wasn't much more than a scratch and a bruise). I then realized that he had become a danger to anyone but me.

At the same time, his separation anxiety had become worse than it ever had before. I don't think it was the move to Glasgow that caused the problem, but the fact that he learned how to break out of his kennel. When he knew he was trapped inside, he would eventually give up and lie down, waiting for me to come home. Once he figured out how to get out of it any way I tried to rig it (I used 8 zip ties all around the door at one point), his anxiety went out of control. Once out of the kennel he would scratch at the living room door and bark until I returned.

The reality was this: I couldn't leave him alone and I couldn't have anyone visit. As much as I loved Milo, that was not a healthy way for either of us to live.

I used to speak to Milo, wishing he could understand my words. I would tell him that even if people had hurt him in the past, that no one would ever hurt him again because I was there to protect him. I told him that he didn't need to be on guard all the time; that he was safe with me. I would also tell him that whenever I left, no matter how long I was gone, I would always return. I wished he could have understood me. I used to say to him: "It's me and you. Forever." I feel like I've broken my promise.

I tried everything I could for my sweet dog. I followed the Dog Whisperer's tenets religiously, and walked or ran Milo for several miles a day in order to remove nervous energy. I worked with a behaviorist to control his human aggression. I used all manner of homeopathic remedies to try to ease his anxiety when I would have to leave. I would forgo nights out with friends, and try to minimize my absences to only a few hours at a time. I put him on anti-anxiety meds when he still had trouble. I believed in him, and believed that he could change. He made a lot of improvement through these efforts. There was a point when he would lunge and bark at ANY human that we passed while on our walks. Through months of diligent work and behavioral training, he got to the point where he could walk along on a leash, ignoring any humans in the vicinity. In fact, about a month ago I took Milo to run in a fenced-in area in one of the parks nearby, where he played with a Border Collie and let the Collie's owner feed and pet him with a smile on his face. I thought he was finally getting past his troubles. But with this recent incident I realized that he would never be "fixed," and the unpredictable nature of his outbursts made it that much more dangerous. As much as I would seek to keep him under control, I would eventually become complacent, and there would be the possibility that he would hurt somebody--perhaps seriously.

So, I made the decision. I took him to the park and let him run and explore. I fed him a zillion treats, and gave him loads of hugs. He was such a good boy at the vet. Though he was nervous about the needle, he just looked at me and did as he was told. He trusted me. He thought that since I was there, nothing bad could happen. I looked into his eyes and I held him tight and stroked him as he went to sleep in my lap.

I'm truly heartbroken. When it was just the two of us, Milo was the perfect dog. He didn't get into mischief--didn't chew, didn't bark but a few times a day when he'd hear an odd sound, didn't have accidents in the house--he was good on car trips, and he was easily trainable and learned a number of tricks. Most important of all though, he was devoted to me. Never have I felt such pure, unconditional love than when he would gaze up at me with his sweet brown eyes. He loved to climb in bed or on the couch and snuggle with me, and stroking his soft fur could make almost any problem better. He was more than my dog... he was my best friend, and my companion as I crossed this ocean alone to start a new life in a strange place.

I'm angry too. I'm mad at the world that allowed this to happen. I don't know why Milo was the way he was, but I know that he was abused and then abandoned in his first home. Although it's possible that he could've developed these issues even absent that past, I have to assume that his early years had something to do with it. Therefore, because of the cruelty of a human who has less right to live than my sweet dog, Milo only had three years on this Earth. It's just wrong.

I want to thank all of you who have followed Milo and my adventures, in New Orleans and now here in Scotland. Life will not be quite the same without my sweet puppy.

Stephanie Kennerley

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This was one of the last photos taken of Milo, just three days before he left this Earth forever.

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I truly feel for you, - saying goodbye is so hard.

I believe in an afterlife for all of us but I do know your grief now all too well.

Warm comforting hug from me

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Stephanie, I know this has been an extremely difficult time for you & this decision was very hard to make. My heart breaks for you & Milo both. I know & I hope you do to that you did everything you could to give Milo a chance, but he was just too damaged.

Sending a big hug,

Ren

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Steph, there simply aren't words...please know, though, that you did everything you could for your baby boy. You're a heroine for trying and then having to make the ultimate decision. No one could have done more for him.

Sending a HUGE (((((cyberhug)))))

Catherine/Catwoman

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Steph Sweetheart, I saw this on FB and was so saddened by the news but after reading your post on here you really didn't have any other alternative. Poor Milo most likely suffered so as a young Pup and the damage was already done by the time you got him. Even though you made a connection with him that no one else could sometimes the scars are just too deep and it's too late. Trusting a human becomes the biggest problem. In Milo's case he did manage to trust one human and that of course was you. You gave him three wonderful and loving years Sweetie and that's all you could have done. I know exactly how you feel and my heart aches for you. Just think of him as finally being free of his anxiety and frustrations and no longer afraid. The chain will link again. I believe we are reunited with our furbabies. Whatever you do, just know you made the right decision for you, and for Milo! You'll both be in my thoughts and prayers my friend.

:hearts: Frannie

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Sorry for your loss; we had our 13 year old cat put down due to cancer and it was a huge hole in our lives. His brother Piccolo cried and cried looking for his brother Bunny and could not understand why he had to go to bed alone. Finally; after I went for a biopsy (that turned out to be not cancer)we went to the SPCA not far from the hospital and bought another cat which looked just like Bunny did. Now my husband is happy again since Bunny was his cat and Piccolo has stopped crying. However since Piccolo is 13 years old and the new cat is only 9 months; sooner or later we will have to look into a new partner for Tiffi when Piccolo falls ill and goes to meet his brother in Heaven. Animals become such a big part of our lives.
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Stephanie:

This makes me so sad. You did all that you could. No matter what, Milo will always know that you loved him.

Hugs

Sara

Edited by Sara
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Thanks everyone. It's been so hard. Much harder than I expected, even though I knew full-well how much I loved Milo and what a big part of my life he was. Things are slowly normalizing, but I definitely still have moments where I miss him and get sad. Or, I'll see a photo of him and just have a hard time believing that he's really gone. I'm still mad that that was all the life he got.

I have to believe that there's an afterlife for him, and that he's found a group of nice puppies up there that he's having a ball with. Hope he knows how much I love him and still think of him.

Steph

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Steph, I had to find out what had happened to Milo and now I know. I'm sitting here with tears running down my face. I'm so sorry sweetie....

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hugs,

Sue

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  • 2 weeks later...

I truly feel for u it must be hard to loss a pet espeically what you had been through with him i have a dog with some issues and it often worrys me if she would to hurt someone but i couldn't bare to lose her so sorry for your lose

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