Milo’s Last Miles: no such thing as plain sailing.

In animal sanctuaries there are dogs of all shapes and sizes… and some of them are very old. Milo was, until recently, one such dog. It’s hard for sanctuaries to find homes for dogs like Milo; they are often ill or needy and require a lot of attention and patience. Additionally, many people worry that it will be too sad befriend an animal who has only a few months left to live. At Ethical Pets, we have cared for a dog like this before, called Beth: we found living with her a wonderful and fulfilling experience, so we have decided to do it again! This time, we are keeping a blog in the hope that maybe others will consider adopting their own little Beth or Milo one day. So, here it is: our record of Milo’s Last Miles.

A few weeks ago we had some great news from the Vet: Milo’s blood tests had come back looking super-dooper! His heart is doing well and his kidneys are fine…. but before I had chance to write about it, he stopped eating. Over just a few days he turned to skin and bone. It took up all my attention to get him back on track… and then, just as things were getting better again, and I was about to blog about his little weight-wobble, he took a big turn for the worst.

Overnight, in just 8 hours, the whole of the left hand side of his face had swollen up to three times its normal size, forcing his eye closed and putting pressure on his teeth and jaw. The tumour on his face had somehow got infected.

He didn’t seem to be in any pain, but it looked horrendous. That was Monday. The Vet gave him two injections; one of anti-biotics and the other anti-inflammatory. It’s now Tuesday at 7:30pm and the infected area seems to have popped, creating a small hole in his cheek, which shows the puss beneath. The veterinary nurse we spoke to on the phone said that we just need to keep it clean and dry and wipe away the puss until tomorrow when we have his next appointment – and that it isn’t unusual for infections of that size to burst.

Milo seems fine as always. Quiet and a little reluctant to eat, perhaps, but still wolfing down various treats and tit-bits, and loving his cuddles by the fire.

I am hoping that this time next week he will be over the infection and back to normal again… but even then, it is all to easy to forget that there is no such thing as plain sailing, not with a doggy like Milo. It’s just so easy to forget that he IS dying, and while on the one hand he is becoming a friend, and part of the family, on the other, he will be leaving us in some short while…. and there isn’t anything we can do but give him love.

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