My heart and soul goes out to each of you. I never thought I'd be in this position myself. I've had pets before when I was a child and losing them, while hard, wasn't devastating. But Milton - I now understand just what people have been telling me all these years. There is indeed something special in the love these little furbabies give us. And they give it without question or want. A never to be forgotten lesson in unconditional, unrelenting love.
In July of 2015 my son and I met Milton at a Rocky Mountain Cocker Rescue show in southeast Denver. We live in Parker so it was a good 40-minute ride to see the cocker spaniels. It was mostly on a lark that we went and really only to start the search for a pet for him. I truly feel that it is just about criminal for a little boy to grow up without a pet. As we drove up there we talked about responsibility. Feeding, watering, treats, training, play and walking. The talks went well and we began to feel eager that we might meet THE DOG that day. Little did we know. None of the more energetic dogs were interested in either of us. Not one. Finally after parking it on the floor with some of the volunteers, this not so little American Apricot Cocker Spaniel crawled over to my son and put his head on his thigh. My son petted him as did I for a moment while I discussed the adoption procedures, fees, and whatnots with the volunteers. When my son stopped petting Milton, Milton's paw came up to touch my son's hand and his soulful eyes looked up into his eyes. I could just about read the dog's mind - "I liked that ... please pet me some more!" I cried then as my son reached over and petted him, smiling.
I asked the volunteers if my son could walk him and they agreed, especially since it had been awhile since Milton had been outside. 30 minutes later I was running outside fearful that either had gotten hurt or lost only to find my son coming around the corner with the BIGGEST smile I had ever seen on his face. I hurried over and asked him how it went and he couldn't contain his excitement and delight. Inside, I grabbed the adoption paperwork and we left. A quick call to my wife to discuss a potential adoption and my son asked if we could have him. I told him we'd have to go through the vetting process but that we might be able to adopt him. It depends. He started crying - that was the first time I'd seen my son cry. A quick call to the rescue people while heading home and the wheels for Milton's adoption began to turn. Visit home to see our backyard. Assurances that we would take very good care of him, vet located and signed on, and we had Milton.
Thyroid problems, cataracts, hearing loss and arthritis - no biggie - I fell in love with Milton faster and harder than anyone in the house. Milton slowly took to his new home and really warmed up to me the most. Stairs were an issue but gentle encouragement with assistance on occasion got him upstairs for bed each night. Soon, he managed to come up on his own and bark softly if the bedroom doors weren't open and he always chose my room. I had bonded more deeply with Milton than I ever had before with a dog or any pet for that matter. I was sold, lost in the gentle affection and true loyalty that little bundle of fur had for me.
Milton's favorite place in all the house was at my feet. Whether I was working in the office, cooking dinner in the kitchen or relaxing on the sofa with the family while watching a movie. Milton, my Milli-Momo Bear, clearly had fallen for me too. Walks every morning, afternoon, evening and night. Weekly trips to the Dog Park and monthly grooming trips. Milton LOVED his bath time. He always would just sit there and enjoy the water and the scrubbing with the shampoo. He even loved the drying and especially in the summer when we'd go lay out in the sun.
When standing just about anywhere in the house, Milton would either put his head between my legs or bump me with his nose. When he'd bump me with his nose, if I resisted petting him, he'd bump be harder a couple more times then bark softly and I would cave every time, sitting down on the floor and scratch his muzzle while we'd rub noses and stare into each other's eyes. I could stare into his eyes for hours. I will sorely miss that and when I do it with Silk, I can tell she loves it but for me, there is something missing.
About eight weeks ago, my father began having significant health issues and six weeks ago, he died. While it hurt to lose my father even though he was 82 and I'm 60, it really didn't bother me so much because I KNOW his hip pain is now gone and his longing and sorrow for my mother who passed away 10 years ago, is now gone as well. He's in a better place. Three weeks after losing him to the day, The Lord saw fit to hit me with Kidney Stones. If you haven't had them I don't encourage you to find out. Drink more water and avoid them AT ALL COSTS! 2 10-325 Oxycodone every 2 hours was what it took to finally cut the pain down to something manageable. 3 weeks, to the day, after the ER trip to find the stones and Milton's gone. I am completely devastated. I know when we got him and how strongly we had bonded that it would be difficult when his card came up. What I didn't know was just how deeply and profoundly his passing would affect me. When I say devastated, that doesn't quite cover it. I can't sleep. I can't stop sobbing. My wife and son are unable to console me and in truth, I don't feel as though I am consolable. My friends have tried to help but all I do is sob. I've given up bathing and eating and working ... I simply want to be with my Milli-Momo Bear. Even my son has been handling this better than I have. I'm embarrassed to even admit this has so torn my soul asunder. I'm angry, hurt, and now looking for a grief counselor. When I describe myself as a wreck and crashing further, that doesn't quite cover it. I'm lost and don't know how to recover. I know that, like my father, Milton is in a better place. He's playing in a field with my father who was a serious animal lover and loved Milton too. I know that Milton anxiously awaits my turn and he's bouncing on his front feet biting the air at the prospect of seeing me again. On some level, I suppose it helps to know these things. On many others, it doesn't and I know that everyone here knows exactly how I feel and what is going through my heart right now.
That God gave us such amazing creatures is simply unbelievable. These pets we have, ask for a scratch here and there, a warm bed and meal each day some water and a little attention now and again. Lord, please help me get through this loss. I know there is a message in the sorrow and pain I now feel and that in time, with your guidance and continued love and support I will make it to the other side of this.