Nine years ago I was looking at puppies online when I came across a photo of little puppy #96. I immediately called my friend over, pointed at the picture, and told her “That’s my dog.” There was no doubt in my mind. When I went to the rescue to get her, they put her and I in a little enclosure for a meet & greet. I looked at the puppies in other areas around us, all sitting quietly hunched in the corner with their potential new owners, then looked at my #96 who was zipping around in circles, using my lap as a springboard to jump over my head, and literally bouncing off the walls. I laughed to myself and asked, how come I got the crazy puppy?! It never crossed my mind to NOT get the crazy puppy. Because you don’t necessarily get the dog you think you want, you get the dog you’re meant to have. For better or for worse. And little Miss Mila and I were absolutely meant for each other.

I’ve joked that Mila is me in dog form. I never thought I’d find a match for my stubbornness, but I did in Mila! We had some challenges in our early days, many of which ended in a draw because neither of us was going to give in. She was always happy and you could see that love of life in her soulful eyes as well as in the constant wag of her whip of a tail. Her happiness and exuberance were known to bruise! She was a bit of a drama queen at times and darn could she plan, plot, and manipulate. That girl was too smart! I can’t count the number of times she decided she was done on a hike or a run, and she made it known by lying down smack in the middle of the trail. She also knew the sympathy she’d get from overly concerned strangers by doing this, at which point she was magically rejuvenated and raring to go with her new friends, leaving me in the dust! But I could never be mad at her. She was the absolute sweetest girl and made sure everyone who met her knew that, whether they wanted to or not. She was determined and she would wear you down and MAKE you love her, especially if you tried to fight it.

I had to say goodbye to my special girl and my world (and my heart) will never be the same. She was a strong, stubborn fighter. She was my little rock. I never thought anything could beat her but the sudden onset of a rare autoimmune neuromuscular disease came on with a vengeance and ravaged her little body. In her last days and even in her last moments she still had a tail wag for everyone. She was my baby girl, my best friend, my partner in crime, my snuggle buddy, and truly my soul mate. I love you and miss you so much Mila!!