The Hardest Goodbye
Updated: Jun 2
I am writing this with such a heavy heart. I need to write to get the feelings out, because otherwise I feel like the grief will literally consume me.
After months of careful consideration and consultations with our veterinarian, we have decided to assist our beloved dog, Milo, in leaving this world peacefully and without pain. This Friday, I will say goodbye to a dog that has been by my side through every adventure for close to 12 years.
I know that I will not have the strength to write this out after he passes, so I wanted to prepare a little tribute to my sweet angel before he goes.
I want to thank everyone in advance for their thoughts and love during this time. While I might not be able to respond right away, please know that your words of support mean so much to me.
Milo was born on October 3, 2010, in the Ottawa area. He and his 4 brothers were born into a long line of 'show pugs'. His mom, Pink, and dad, Miracle, were both award-winning pups in their prime. Milo would have an entirely different type of life; his adventures came from travel and exploration! A nomad by fate, Milo faithfully accompanied me from LaSalle to Dorval, and finally to NDG, where we spent several years before embarking on an international journey.
December 7th. 2010. Our first photo together, taken on the drive home from Ottawa.
First 'selfie'. Instant puppy love.
Milo was the most fun-loving, silly and affectionate dog. As a young pup, he had A LOT of energy, and was known to enthusiastically request attention (ahem, I was his mother after all), sneeze in people's faces, and leave them covered in his dog hair. Yes, shedding season for a pug is extreme. If you know, you know.
In his playful youthful days, he did give me the occasional mini heart attack when he decided to play 'catch me if you can' on busy roads such as LaSalle Boulevard or the Decarie. I distinctly remember Milo running out of my apartment on Prud'homme and going directly for the Decarie. Panic ensued, as I ran after him, trying to explain in human words that what he was doing was in fact, very reckless. A nice stranger helped me lure him back to safety with the help of some fries from Villa Souvlaki.
Sweet Canadian boy.
In 2016, Milo and I packed our bags (I packed him IN a bag) and we set out on what would be our biggest adventure together. We flew to Switzerland to start a new life. Some of you might recall how stressful the relocation was, mainly because I didn't want to risk putting Milo in cargo for the flight. Before I found out I would be able to have him in the cabin with me (by bending the weight restriction rules *ever so slightly* with Swiss Airlines), I was legitimately ready to TAKE A BOAT to Europe to make sure I didn't put him at any risk of panicking in cargo. I knew that if he was with me (and....slightly medicated, lol) he would be fine.
I recorded that chapter/dilemma in several blog entries in my former blog, The Shadow and The Shimmer. You can read the entry here. It's actually so sweet and pretty funny to read back.
Departure day + misbehaving at a Swiss Métairie (for the first time...not the last)
Becoming a 'Big Brother' + Cancer Diagnosis
In 2017, we welcomed our first son, Theo. Milo quickly adapted to 'life with kids'. As a middle-aged dog, he was still playful, but definitely more relaxed. Not three weeks after Theo was born, we took Milo to the vet to investigate a circular lump that had appeared in his cheek, under the skin. It had grown over the weeks, so we didn't want to delay a check-up. After taking a sample of the growth, the vet confirmed our worst fears: it was a cancerous tumour and would have to be removed surgically. A week later, he was operated on. That whole period was so stressful and emotionally draining. I wasn't sure how aggressive the cancer was (nor was anyone, including the vet!) and I had a newborn to tend to. We had no choice but to take things one day at a time, and hope for the best.
Post-op dog...newborn baby. Life throws all the lemons at once.
Perfecting the 'grumpy older sibling' face
Later Years and Further Health Issues
Though Milo made quite an incredible comeback after his cancer scare, the operation definitely slowed him down a bit more. He still enjoyed going out for walks, playing with the kids and snacking (always snacking), but it was clear that his rambunctious days were behind him.
Little by little, we started to detect signs of aging. Gray hairs were the first sign, then some issues with mobility and jumping/running. In the past year, he has lost almost all of his vision, has extremely advanced hearing loss, and struggles to walk- even short distances. He has severe tooth decay and tooth loss, and several other lumps and bumps on his body.
My three boys <3
Decision and Final Resting Plans
The decision to compassionately end Milo's life was made last month, but it had been something I was considering for close to a year. Knowing that we are moving back home to Canada- and knowing that Milo couldn't survive another international move- made the decision slightly easier. Though I considered finding him a farm to live out the last of his days on, that choice didn't feel right for me. Having spent almost every day of his life with me, I can't imagine he wouldn't be sad/anxious/confused at the end of his life when I suddenly wasn't by his side. I have to be there with him for his final moments. The vet confirmed that this was the best choice, as the emotional stress of a separation might do more damage (for Milo, without question for me).
Having an appointment for the euthanasia has been the most unsettling part of this past month. It's not something you ever want to see on your calendar.
I choose June 3rd. Milo was born on the 3rd of October, and '3' will always be his number to me. After all, he was 'one of my three boys' for many, many years.
Though my heart is broken, and I don't know how to say goodbye to such a loyal and wonderful dog, I consider myself beyond blessed to have had him in my life for almost 12 years.
Milo, it's time for you to rest now my sweet boy.
Thank you for giving me so many great memories.
You've earned a permanent resting place in my heart, and I know your spirit will live on, and we'll always be connected to each other.
I love you, Milo. Let the angels carry you away to a place where there's no pain and suffering.
You deserve to be free and full of joy.