Thursday, October 30, 2008

One Year Ago Today...



In a blogesphere where people discuss the loss of spouses, or God forbid, children, the loss of a dog seems minor. It still hurt like hell...

This is my blog namesake, Miko. I held her as she took her last breath a year ago today. She was my best friend for 12 years, and saw me through a lot. She still holds the record for my longest relationship with a female, who wasn't my mother.

She wasn't classically beautiful, her head was too small for her body, and only one ear stood up (unless she heard something, then number two sprang to life). She wouldn't have won any dog-shows, but she was smarter than any dog I have ever met. She could be directed with only your hand and listened to every command. Well, almost any command, she did teach herself to open the sliding glass door in my old apartment in Virginia. This way, she could let herself out when the neighborhood dogs were out and playing.

I met her in 1995 when I was still in the military. She was 11 weeks old and with 5 of her brothers and sisters. I walked into the room and it was a flurry of little furry bodies, playing and yipping. Then, like someone blew a whistle, they all piled together and went to sleep. I didn't know there REALLY was such a thing as a dog-pile, but there they were, a little hill of cuteness. I picked each one up, and they woke up and licked my face, or tried to rejoin the pile. Not her. I picked her up, she opened one eye, decided she was safe with me, and went back to sleep in my hands. I was hooked.

Miko helped me pick the Swede. Although, she didn't know it was going to lead to losing her spot on my bed. She may have rethought it, had she known. My roommate was dating a girl, who had a friend in from Sweden, and who joined them at our apartment to go hiking.

The Swede entered my apartment and was greeted, as everyone always was, by 80 lbs of fur. She immediately got down on the floor with Miko and started to play tug-of-war with Miko's rope. (On a side note. Miko was a German Shepard/Rotty/Pitbull mix, and keeping toys was tough. She chewed through everything I EVER bought her. The rope seemed to last the longest. She never chewed anything but her toys BTW.) A minute later Miko was on the floor with her legs in the air, and a tall blond rubbing her belly. Miko looked at me, and I swear I heard a voice in my head saying, "This one might be a keeper Dad!” They remained friends until the end.

Miko only barked once. Always. If she heard a noise outside, or someone at the door, one deep bark alerted us, and let the person outside know she was there. She passed this on to Daisy, the Cocker Spaniel we got when Miko was 6. In fact, she trained Daisy in everything. We didn't do much, the little one just copied Miko.

Miko had a cat. That's how my friends put it. "Jamie has a dog named Miko, and Miko has a cat named Riley." It was true. The women I was with in the 90's got a kitten when Miko was 8 months old. When we split, I took my dog, and my dog begged me to give her the cat. You see, Riley worshiped Miko. He cleaned her face and ears almost every night. Slept with her, wrapped inside her legs, and feared nothing when she was around. Every time we moved, Riley would hide until Miko found him. Then he would come out and stand underneath her, filled with the knowledge "his" dog would protect him.

She did protect him. Once a neighbors' dog was in our house and ran towards Riley. Riley didn't move, and gave the dog a 'Dude, I wouldn't do that if I were you' look. Out of nowhere there was a black flash, and the neighbors’ dog was hip-checked into the wall, and pinned to the ground by Miko's teeth. She didn't bite it, but it knew she could have. I swear this next part is true...Riley walked up to the now-helpless dog and stood over it for a minute. 'I told you.’ he seemed to say, and turned with the flick of his tail and sauntered off.

Miko didn't like the Monkey (this was one of the great disappointments of my life). She was old when the baby came, and her hips were already hurting her. She would whine when the Monkey would crawl/walk towards her, and scramble to her feet to avoid the strange little human. She used to look at me, as if to say, "Dad! A cat, a woman, and a puppy. They weren't enough?" Still, she knew the Monkey was important to us.

6 months before she died, the Swede and Monkey took Miko and Daisy to the dogpark. (You know, big fenced field where the pups can run.) A women and her Husky were there. The women paid no attention to my clan, but her dog did. It rushed over to the Monkey and jumped up on her, knocking her down. The Swede swatted it off, and looked for its owner. Nothing. As the Husky came back towards the Monkey, Miko struck (less of a flash this time, her hips were really bad). Miko hit the dog at a full limpy run, catching it around the neck. This time she DID bite. The Husky yelped, tore away from her, and ran back to its owner, who was finally coming to control her animal. The women started to say something, but Miko had planted herself between my family and the women (and dog), and growled. The Swede said she had never heard her make a noise like that before. The Swede told the women that the sign said "Control Your Dog At All Times", and she was a jackass. Apparently, a growling Miko and screaming Swede convince people to shut up.

The medicine finally couldn't stop the pain in her hips anymore. I took her to the veterinarian for the last time, October 30, 2007. I held her head, and looked in her eyes as the Dr gave her the shot. For a minute, nothing happened, then she took a deep breath...once, twice...and she was gone.

I miss you big girl, thanks for loving me for all those years.

(Sorry this was so long. I have a million more stories about her, my fingers got tired.)

11 comments:

-k said...

First, let me say that I am not discounting ANYTHING you just wrote....But one of the first things you said was "living in Virginia"...and since I'm actually HERE in VA...Just wondering where? and if you ever drive into town...because then I could totally buy you a beer and we could make a toast to Miko...

Jamie said...

Wow, usually only blogs about sweet little children can bring tears to my eyes but I cried for your sweet Miko.

I am sorry your heart hurts ~

anymommy said...

I can tell Miko was a member of your family. I'm sorry.

DCD said...

This is now the second post that has made me cry...while at work! Damn you.

This is a beautiful tribute to Miko. I'm sure FUE is taking good care of her.

Laggin said...

That made me think of Gus...(Argosy Augsutus, in full, but that's too obnoxious). He was my childhood dog. We had him from the time I was 8 until my Dad had to put him down when I was 18 (Gus was 3 when we adopted him). I remember the day he left us so clearly. It is such a sad thing because they ARE a member of the family. Sorry.

cIII said...

Thanks for makig me have a "The First Time I Watched Old Yeller" moment.

*raises Tumbler and toasts Miko*

miko564 said...

K- Let's see. Alexandria after I left the AF, my last duty station was Bolling AFB. Then Reston, and finally Ashburn until we couldn't take 66 and the beltway anymore.

Jamie- She WAS a sweetheart. We used to joke she would sit for 24 hours straight, if you would just keep rubbing her ears.

Anymommy- For a few years, she WAS my family...

DCD- lol, I said the same thing...FUE's got someone to throw tennis balls across the cosmos for. See, I'm not that funny, just...kinda'...depressing.

Laggin- I think it's like a first love...you move on, but you never forget that first dog that had your heart.

Ciii- Yeah, I could use a drink. Sorry for bringing up the "Yeller" memories.

AC said...

love your touching miko-the-dog tribute. she sounds brave, loyal, strong, smart, perceptive, affectionate, and fiercely protective of her family (not unlike her daddy). may miko-the-dog rest and play in peace.

miko564 said...

AC, that may be the nicest thing anyone has every said about me.

Honestly, now that you mention it, if I tried everyday to be like Miko, I'd be just fine.

AC said...

thanks, miko-the-person, or you're welcome, or both.

i'd love to read more miko-the-dog stories whenever you are moved to write about her again.

paisana said...

People tend to forget how attached they get to their animals. I have wanted a replacement dog for 20 years. Still miss her.