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The dog you didn't know I had




By Janet Storm

Sunday, June 17, 2018

His face first popped up in my Facebook feed — shaggy gray fur, big brown eyes and a pink, lolling tongue.

His name was Miles, and a local rescue organization was trying to find him a home.

Miles was an older dog, abandoned at the animal shelter with a host of health problems. He could barely see, his body was riddled with lumps and bumps and he had a tendency to pee everywhere. Trouble with his back legs gave him an odd gait and his teeth were in bad shape. I found out later that he also had heartworms.

I loved him.

He had my heart from the moment I first saw his photo. I went to a pop-up garage sale hosted by the rescue group just so I could ask if he had been adopted. I met with his foster mom, and made arrangements for him to meet my other dogs, Ollie and Einstein.

The meeting went well, and before I knew it I was setting up a crate in my bedroom, spreading towels on the floor and welcoming Miles home.

I just loved him.

Miles took pills for his aches and pains and more pills to try and regulate the pee problem. He needed a special cream for his eyes and ear drops to clear up an infection. Every morning I would take him through his medical routine, and he bore it with astonishing patience and grace. 

“We’re going to get you in better shape,” I told him, and he would lift his face as though he was trying to study mine, to see if I was telling him the truth. 

He followed me all around the house and spent hours in my lap. I kissed him and called him Miles of Smiles.

I hesitated telling my family and friends about him. I wanted him to settle in, to get a bit better. I wanted to introduce him with a flourish, then step back and let everyone else learn to adore him, just as I had.

But one night, only weeks after his arrival, I came home to discover Miles had been sick on the floor. I cleaned up the mess and cleaned him up, too. He seemed to perk up. He wolfed down his dinner and after a little snuggle time, toddled off to bed.

When I woke up the next morning, I discovered he had been sick again during the night.

I rushed him to my kind and compassionate vet.

The news was very bad.

On top of all his other health troubles, Miles had severe pancreatitis and kidney failure. He was suffering. I had to make a decision. An awful decision.

I decided he didn’t deserve to suffer. I decided to let him go.

Miles died in my arms, with his head against my chest.

I can’t describe my pain.

I thought we would have so much more time together. I was hoping for months. A year. Instead we had weeks.

Only weeks to hold him, to kiss him. Only weeks to rub the soft fluff of his belly. 

Only weeks to assure him he was a member of the family. A Storm boy.

Only weeks to give him the life he deserved.

On the terrible day he died, I stood on my back patio feeling heartsick and defeated. I thought to myself, “I never even wrote about him. No one got to know his name.”

So I am writing about him now.

His name was Miles.

I loved him.

Contact Janet Storm at jstorm@reflector.com or 252-329-9587.

Save others

Friends of the Pitt County Animal Shelter — also know as Pitt Friends — is the rescue group that saved Miles. Please consider adopting from, fostering for or donating to this wonderful organization.

Visit them online at www.pittfriends.com or send donations to Pitt Friends, 2850 Fire Tower Road, Greenville, NC 27858. You can also like their Facebook page. Adoption events take place Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays from 2-5 p.m. at Petco in Greenville.