Monday, March 7, 2011

My Milo Story…

Two years ago today, my friend Paul and his fiancé Grady were visiting me in South Carolina for the weekend. Sort of on the spur of the moment we decided we’d go run to PetSmart to look at the dogs available from the local shelter. I had been to this particular shelter a few weeks earlier to visit with a few of the dogs…and considered adopting one…but I had given it too much thought and another family had made a faster decision to take her home. That saddened me and I had called my mom to discuss it.

To make me feel better, Mom explained that it wasn’t a good idea that I even get a dog. I would be graduating from school in a few months and who knows where I’d be moving for a new job. Having a dog would make it hard to find a place to live. Training is a big time commitment. She also made reference to the fact that I was single and wouldn’t be able to share the responsibilities of a dog with someone else. The conversation got me down because (and you can ask my sisters) I take my parents’ opinions very VERY seriously. But let me tell you…that last comment about not having a significant other really lit a fire in me…

In life…people “need” to wait for a significant other to have the wedding of their dreams…and perhaps (unless you take other longer & more costly steps) to have children…but to get and take care of a dog??? Nope…I wasn’t waiting for someone else before I could do that. No way.

That being said she had valid points. Owning a dog is a huge commitment and I was having a hard time just going and jumping into dog ownership. My friend Paul on the other hand…is very good at taking big leaps. He took one off the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand! And off of a high bridge in Cairns, Australia! And out of a plane in Aussie too! He knew I had been thinking about getting a dog for a long time…and had recently adopted a dog himself. So we went to see the pups from Project Pet (now known as Pawmetto Lifeline) at PetSmart.

I had been looking online at these dogs for weeks and I recognized a lot of them…but in one of the top crates…calm and happy as could be…there was a new red/brown 30lb floppy eared “one-year-old” with a perfect puppy face.

Pet Photo

“That’s your dog Laura! He is so beautiful!” Paul said IMMEDIATELY.

“Woah woah woah! Hold on! Let’s look around and see. I don’t even know if I can do this today. It’s a BIG deal.” I said of course being WAY more apprehensive.

We looked around a bit…but when all the other dogs were barking away at something and he just looked quietly to see what was going on…he really impressed me and I decided to see him out of his crate. He was calm and happy, good with me (new people) and good with Paul and Grady (new men)…so I told them I’d think it over.

The three of us left the store and went to the book store and I couldn’t decide what to do. I wanted a dog so so badly…this dog was pretty much everything I wanted (size/age/temperament)…but Mom’s valid points kept popping up in my head. However, I had valid points too:
  • I had more schedule freedom in grad school for training than I ever would with a full time job…and a new one at that.
  • I would want a dog soon eventually so I’d like having my moving options limited to dog friendly buildings…might as well FORCE myself to.
  • I would rather get used to my new life having to make room for a dog than to be used to my new life and then have to MAKE new adjustments for a new dog.
  • Really??? I should wait for a boyfriend??? Yea I mean it would be easier…but no…no no no.

But honestly I credit Paul for pushing me off the edge and we went back to PetSmart and I jumped in and took Milo home. The first few weeks were a bit crazy as we got used to each other and I wasn’t sure if I had gotten in over my head. A week in…all of a sudden he was scared of some new people which I hadn’t anticipated. I also thought he was house broken but we had a fun few weeks training and cleaning up messes. He also had what I like to call “The 10 o’clock crazies” and would do laps around my living room. To make sure dogs are a good fit, the shelter gives you a 2 week “trial period.” There were days when I thought maybe my impulse wasn’t fair for both of us. But we stuck it out and I am so so so so so glad! 

Milo Day 1   Spring 2009 

In the last two years Milo has more than doubled in size proving that he wasn’t the one year old dog they said he was. Which also explains some of his early immaturity. But ONE page of his loads of adoption papers was a bit inconsistent with the others claiming that he actually was about 7 months old when I got him. I’ve since made up a birthday and he is I believe now about 2 and a half.

Milo and the Capitol  Milo's New Bed

We had our moments and it is definitely a big big commitment having a dog. I can’t really stay too late at work or go straight out after work like others. I feel a bit guilty even going out after work when I haven’t been home all day. It’s harder to take trips because I need to find a dog sitter (which not only takes time but $$). I can’t live too far from work because a long commute really affects how much alone time Milo has. I have to take him out for our walk right after work no matter how badly I just want to lie down and take a nap.

But Milo is soooooo beyond worth it! He is my best bud. He loves me unconditionally (well…except for bath time). He is always excited to see me at the end of the day. He will listen whenever I need to talk. If I don’t feel well he will always come and lay with me and just be calm. He is well behaved when we go to NJ and loves it there, but he MAKES SURE that I’m not going to leave him behind. I know he feels most at home with me no matter where we are or live. He keeps me company in the kitchen (not begging…he just likes to lay there when I cook). He warms my feet at my desk. Sometimes he even let's me know when its past my bedtime or when I need to GET UP! He is the most loyal, loving, and sweet dog and I wouldn’t give him up for the world! I’m so glad I took that scary leap 2 years ago! I don’t regret it one single bit…I would have regretted it if I hadn’t. Mom agrees (well at least I think she does…she loves him tons).

Yesterday, to celebrate, we went on a walk to Eastern Market. He got some tots from my lunch and we got super special gourmet peanut butter treats at the local pet store. They look yummy even to me! (He has already eaten one)

Yummy Treat
YAY for 2 years with my Milo!!!

DSC_2865  DSC_2844

(Last two photos were by my co-worker Brenna. you can see more here and here)

1 comment:

  1. Laura - I can totally relate. I'm sure you've seen pictures of Rufus on Facebook (if not, check them out!) While technically my old roommate's dog, Rufus and I are kind of inseparable. We are best buds. My roommate moved to NY last month, and so I've been taking care of him as a "single parent." I agree, I can't stay at work late, can't go out straight after work, feel guilty leaving after having just come home. But at the end of the day it's totally worth it. BTW, I love the pic on the bottom left. :-)

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