Happy Birthday, Millie, 4!

I was on Sweet Paws Rescue website because one of my friends sent me a link and said you have to look at this puppy porn. Puppy porn is adorable photos of dogs that need homes. Gabe and I made a deal that after we got married, we would think about adopting a dog together. I wanted to get a friend for Radley so she could have a pal in her later years. Radley was sneaking up on 13 years old, and I have to admit that I was a little concerned about how she would respond to another dog in the house. Radley was my soul dog. That one dog you have in your life that is there for you during the best and worst times in your life. The one that licks your tears away and then lets you know to suck it up and go out for a walk. I loved her fiercely, but she was a pup with some quirks. One of those quirks was that she was not a fan of other dogs being on her turf. In a nutshell, she was house aggressive. In her youth, she could guard her turf. As an old lady, I was worried about her getting hurt.

Here is the chain of events with Millie. I went onto the Sweet Paws website and cruised around looking at all the dogs. There were so many, and I wanted them all. Then I saw a photo of a charcoal grey puppy with big ears and sad eyes. She has a white blaze on her chest that looked like the logo of Ghost Busters. You could “favorite” the dogs you were interested in this website and make a list of the dogs you were thinking of adopting. I favorited Millie. After you did that, you could go to the next level and fill out adoption papers. What the heck, I went to the next level, and I filled out the paperwork just in case I wanted to adopt a dog I would be ready. I had yet to tell Gabe about the puppy porn I was looking at. I figured I was just starting my search, so why bother him.

Perhaps I should have told him what I was doing. A day later, I got a call that Libby (later named Millie) was being transported to MA with 30 other dogs. She would arrive in MA in 3 days and spend another three days in quarantine. The dogs often get sick when being transported, and they need some medical care when they arrive. My application had been accepted, and at 2 pm, they wanted to FaceTime to see our home and backyard. I had accidentally adopted a puppy without telling the family. Whoops. Thankfully Gabe was on board, and I had a full-on freak out because I was not yet ready for this little addition to our family. What had I done! Having a second dog was a big deal. One week later, I drove to Haverhill MA to pick up my four-month-old puppy. And that is how Millicent Blueberry joined the Berenson/Coleman family.

Above is the first video taken of Millie. It’s the day I picked her up.

Millie demands attention. Lots of it. She is a love pig. If you are sitting next to her, you better pat her. She lets you know that she wants attention by whacking you with her paws, and she will not stop until you start. If she does not get enough attention, I think she will shrivel up and disappear. None of us can bear to see her sad. So we rub her belly we tickle her ears and scratch the top of her head and under her chin. The best is when you find that sweet spot that makes her sigh with delight.

For six months, Radley and Millie slept together. They snuggled on a giant Orvis Tempur-Pedic doggie bed for senior dogs. They spooned. If they were not on there bed, they were hogging mine. Radley was patient with Millie, and Millie was a pain in the ass. The morning Radley passed away, I brought both dogs to the park to play in the snow. They had a great time bunny hopping through the deep snow, and they took turns barking at each other and me for more treats. It was a great romp for both dogs, and it made me happy to see them playing together. By that evening, it was evident that Radley was fading away. The growing tumor on her liver had ruptured, and by midnight she was gone. Radley was a happy pup until the end. I lost my soul dog that night, and over time Millie stole my heart.

We are all home like everyone else in Maine and in the world. We are doing our best to follow all the rules of social distancing, and we are surviving quarantine together. Our home consists of 2 kids, two adults, and 1 Millie. We are getting along just fine, but there is always an underlying tension in the home. I am sure, so many of us can feel it. It is a combination of boredom, fear, sadness, and of course, the great unknown.

Millie does not care about what is going on in the world. She does not know or care about the unknown. She cares about right now. She lives in the moment. She does not care if you are depressed and you just ate an entire box of Mac and Cheese. You still have to take her out for a walk. In the morning she forces you out of bed, you have to get dressed, feed her, and then take her someplace where she can run. You have to go outside for a good hour, and that is an excellent time to slow down your brain and enjoy your surroundings. You have nowhere to go but home so you had better enjoy the place you are at now. You are outside in the woods with your dog, enjoy it. She demands her belly rubs, and you better tell her that she is a good girl 100 times a day. Oh, and don’t forget to put a treat in her food bowl.

When you are feeling low, you will have a sweet little beast to snuggle up with. You can calm yourself by stroking her velvety soft ears. She will even binge-watch The Great British Baking Show with you and not judge you.

By taking care of Millie, we are taking care of ourselves. At least I am. When I am with Millie, I step outside of what is going on in my head and focus on her. It is something small, but it is mighty.

Happy Birthday Millie Blu. Thanks for making this moment in time better.