I had to say goodbye to my beautiful boy Miles this weekend, after more than 13 years together. I don’t know much what to say other than that I loved him completely and will miss him forever.
Some of you will know that Miles very nearly left us almost exactly five years ago. He came down with a condition called IMHA, and the vets told me he would likely not survive. Then the condition caused him to have a stroke during what was one of the very worst nights of my life. They told me he’d never leave the animal hospital. But thanks to the generosity of many strangers on the internet, I was able to raise the $13,000 his six days in the hospital cost, and he survived. I have never forgotten the generosity those strangers showed and never will. These five extra years have meant everything to me.
Things were not easy afterwards. He had to relearn to use his body, and even years after the fact I could tell the difference in his gait, how he struggled to get onto the couch. We went through, I think, nine different medications at one point or another following his stroke. I came very close to losing him some four months or so after. In order to try and prevent another stroke, he was put on blood thinners, but they were causing him to have terrible nose bleeds. In a weekend I filled a garbage bag full of paper towels saturated with his blood. And after watching him struggle that way, along with all the other struggles, I resolved to end it. What stopped me was a thought that I couldn’t shake as I looked at him: that this was a creature who would never ask, why me?
Today I find myself unable to adjust. It is remarkable how caring for him has determined my schedule, the feeding and walking. Even now I feel like it’s been too long since he’s been out and that I should grab the leash and call to him. He has been the rhythm of my days and I am alone and unmoored without him. Now I am forced to stay inside an apartment that could not feel more empty. Only my cat Suavecito helps. Those last few days Miles had wanted what he always wants, which is to be near me, physically, curled up next to me on the couch or at my feet or in bed, and I am grateful.
Miles was the gentlest being I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. He was everything I could ever want in a dog. I will never have another.