In loving memory of our Miller who we love so much.
Miller will be greatly missed and be in our hearts forever.
Miller picked her own name
The Memory of Miller
Miller was born on or about July 22, 1994, her mother was Labrador and her father was Pitt Bull. Her siblings in the litter produced signs of German Shepard and Doberman Pincer as well. The parents were yard dogs of my friends Mike and Mory Archuleta, and they lived next door to us at the time. I believe a few of the pups were chosen already, so I had pick of most of the litter. Two predominant features of the litter were the Pitt Bull, white and brown, and Labrador mostly black. After watching the litter walk around a bit, to make a choice, I noticed one tiny puppy all black except the ends of her paws were gold. It was like she had on gold socks, which none of the others quite had. She was also the runt of the litter, therefore being the tiniest little one. I played with her for just a few moments, as it was too early to take her from the mother, and had my mind made up. At that time, I had no idea that I had just made the best decision of my entire life. I thought of naming her Socks because aside from her golden brown paws, she was entirely black. Waiting for another few weeks was difficult for me because I new she was outside all night long, and was probably cold. So I often checked on the pups, and brought them a blanket at night.
When I finally got to bring her home, I insisted on keeping her inside the house. I felt leaving her outside was just cruel, despite the fact that she is an animal. Dogs and cats are no longer wild animals as we have domesticated them, therefore I felt justified. Not only was she an inside dog, she was utterly spoiled to the bone. She lounged on the couch, slept in my bed, and even wanted under the covers at night. I have to say the puppy breath was awful but being an animal lover, I could not say no to her kisses. And she goes on until you stop her. I wasn’t long before we had a few other members of her litter with us, as James wanted one and then Chris wanted one too. Then Becky had to have her own as well, so we wound up having 4 dogs in the house. We were young, and loved to drink as young kids often do, always having friends over for a few. I don’t recall who was there the night Miller got her name, but I’ll tell you how she got it. I had made a cup out of aluminum at work, and poured a little Miller Genuine Draft in it and set it on the floor. Needless to say, she drank it right up. I believe I tried something a bit stronger like Jack Daniels, but she preferred Miller. Thank God, because I would have hated to call a female by the name of Jack. Not yet having a name, she sort of helped pick it, and at that moment, I called her Miller. And I started something crazy, because the rest of the dogs wound up having liquor names. We even had dog parties, and let everyone’s dog just run around together.
Never having kids, going through many changes in life, I had someone to love and love me right back. Regardless of how she behaved or how I have treated her, the love was forever. I regard her as my child no different than a human baby. Many people ridicule me for calling her my daughter, telling me “It’s just a dog!” “NO, she is more than just a dog!” I would explain. I was told that animals did not have feelings and emotions. Well, I studied the behavior of all these dogs, and noticed something distinct and extraordinary in Miller. I found love in her loyalty, laying her head on my lap. The wag of her tail, often times her whole rear section, was her happiness. Her laying down straight with her head between her paws and very droopy eyes was her sadness. Lying on my bed all day while I’m gone was her loneliness. Finding her way outside, at the sound of my car, running out to it before I could park it was excitement and joy. She got depressed when I would not return home or tried to leave her at a sitters, she wouldn’t eat. In fact her whole life, she insisted that I am in the room for her to eat. If I walk out of the room while she’s eating, she would stop and follow me. When she did wrong, all I would have to do is look at her, and she knew it by putting her head down and give me those droopy eyes. Oh, and she’d get really jealous when I would give our cat Little some attention. Apparently I am hers, not the cat’s. She had dreams of running, whether she was chasing a cat or being chased by something else, I couldn’t tell. But her paws would move as if she was running, while she slept. We even communicated in many ways. I can’t explain how this came to be or why, but she found a way to “talk” to me. She’d ask for permission to go outside, by walking to the doggy door, stop, and look at me until I said it was OK. I could answer her with “Ok” or a hand gesture to go out the door. When she wanted treats, she’d look at me, then when I noticed her, she’d look up at them to tell me that’s what she wants. When her bowl of food or water was empty, she’d come to me and nudge my hand. When she wanted to be under the blankets, she’d get up by the pillows far enough so all I had to do was lift them, and she’d crawl under. She even said “I love you” with her distinct whine when she was kissing my face. And I was never ashamed to allow kisses on the mouth, as an animals mouth is cleaner than a humans. It just didn’t matter to me what people thought.
Of course Miller learned the usual tricks, sit, lie down, and roll over. In her younger years, she would jump into my arms on command. She’d stand up on her hind legs for food, even to grab it out of mouth. She knew the word, “ouch” and that she made a mistake by biting too hard. She would even apologize for it, by looking at me with droopy eyes and putting her head down, and sometimes a kiss. She was very gentle taking food from your hands, and never bit when laid on or stepped on. If you hurt her, she’d yelp and just walk away. The absolute best around kids. There was only one time she bit, and that was James Jr. when he tried to pet one of her four puppies in the only litter she had. To this day, Jr. still has the scar, and was the only time she was defensive. You know the rule to never take a bone away from a dog. Well, I could take anything away from Miller’s mouth with my own teeth, and at most she’d just try and hang on to it. She knew that it was only an interruption of her treat, and that she’d get it back. How many dogs do you know you could do that with? She was hardly ever on a leash, free to roam wherever she pleased, the front door wide open. Most of the time, you’d find her rolling in the grass, or just laying in the yard, even as the mailman put the mail in the box. Sometimes she’d chase after a cat, I think just to play with. So if she wasn’t in sight, just give her a few minutes and she’d be back.
She loved everyone, family, friends, the neighbors, other dogs, and cats just as much. It didn’t have to be a party for her to play. She often played with Lance from down the street, who would get out once in a while. They’d chase eachother around for hours. I have to say, I believe she had one special person in her life that she held close to her heart. Darnell would give her the most attention, and spoiled her every moment she could. She’d take her for walks, and buy her treats like there was no tomorrow. Miller had a best friend to be most affectionate with, and always be so excited to see her, Miller would go nuts and step all over her feet. I had a tough time trying to keep up with the treats, but because of Darnell, I just had to continue them.
Here’s a few stories I can tell you about her. When she was only a few years old, I would walk her a lot and play with her at the park. This one night, we were out for a walk around the neighborhood, and out of nowhere came a stray German Shepard about twice her size. He was barking at us something fierce, then started out towards us. I thought having a dog of your own, that dog was supposed to protect you. But Miller shoved her tail between her legs, started to whine, and got behind me. And without hesitation, I had to defend and protect her from what I thought was a sure to happen attack. I held my ground, scared nonetheless, and charged at the dog yelling at the top of my lungs. I was shocked to see him back down and run away.
This one was funny, yet a little sad at the same time. She really loved to chase other animals, and have even killed a few birds, leaving me the remains as a present on my bed. She’s roughed up a possum once and I believe she’s killed a rabbit. With cats, I think she just wants to play, because she’s came back a few times with her eyes scratched a little. And any little noise in the back yard, she’d dart out of the door to investigate. Well, one night I was awaken by her kicking herself off the bed in a mad scurry right out the door. It startled me so much, I sat up to look, and saw in a matter of a few seconds, she walked right back in the door with her head down, then fell over like she just died. I found that she had come within 2 feet of skunk right by her doggy door, and got sprayed clear in the face. She was drenched with it from nose to mid body, and if you don’t know, it’s nauseous. I don’t have to tell you how long that night was. It took over a year for the smell to go away completely. And about a month for her to use the door again, without caution.
What else can I say about her? Spoiled and well loved. I lost my other dog, Shadow, to parvo when she was still a puppy. By the time I found out what parvo was, it was too late for Shadow. Shadow was a chow mix, and very playfull and beautiful puppy girl. I had that one laying on my chest until her last breath, before I could even start treatment. But Miller had a small touch of it, and she got over that quickly. I am still saddened by the loss of Shadow, but I feel God made a choice for me. He knew Miller would be here to comfort me when I was sad. And be by my side when I was lonely. Want to play when I was bored. She would cuddle with me when I was cold. And she gave me a reason to straighten out my life and live when I had no reason to. She holds the biggest piece of my heart forever, and has truly been my angel by my side. She is more than missed. She is the love in my heart.
Miller has had a hysterectomy, partial mammectomy, and several tumors removed in her middle age. She was fed good quality dog food, but also cleaned our plates after us. She’s been healthy most of her life. In her 12th year, she developed mammory cancer, several tumors had appeared, and a few teeth have rotten. When I took her in to the vet, many tests were ran because of her age, and found an acquired heart murmur. Her blood work showed her other organs are functioning ok, and chest exrays showed a clear chest cavity. But the heart was basically backflowing because of the Mitral Valve not closing all the way. Too high of a risk for any operation, we tried medication to widen the blood vessels so the heart wouldn’t have to work so hard. And I prepared to make the worst decision of my entire life. I’ve never had to put a dog to sleep, and have always refused to do that. But I noticed Miller began to show signs of struggling to get around, and tire more quickly. The question was, when.
I was lucky to have spent the last week with her, giving in to her every desire. She got wet food, scraps, cheese and meat, chocolate cookies and ice cream. I got to snuggle with her, walk with her, and watch her lay in the grass for the last time. She got one good run after a cat on her last night, and collapsed trying to walk home. I saw the whole terrifying episode and was with her in her brush with death. I had no choice but to let her go, so we took her to the emergency clinic and had her put down. It was much harder than I thought it would be, and can’t go through that again. She passed in my arms, very peacefully just after midnight on May 22, 2007.
“I will never forget you Miller. You keep looking for me, and I will meet you again someday. I love you!”
The Most Loveable and Affectionate Animal I have ever, or will ever know!
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