Millie @ our cabin in NC

Mille was born on our couch in the first house Cynthia and I bought in Gainesville. The event was a bit unanticipated. We new our mommy dog, Winnie, was expecting pups - three to be exact according to the vets palpitations - but both she and her human pack mates didn't quite have the time table down. I heard panting coming from the living room one evening after dinner and found Winnie on our couch having already delivered one pup, a male. Unfortunately, the first pup could not be resuscitated. We lost him. Within about an hour we were in the throngs of another delivery.

I was there to assist and upon arrival but the female puppy was not breathing. Dear Lord, I thought, please not another still born. I rubbed its chest vigorously...nothing. I had read about mouth to snout breathing and decided to give it a go. A few puffs, a moment's wait, and then a few more. Finally she started to breath. The spark of life had entered the pup's body. What a blessing. From that moment on Millie and I had a special connection.

The pup was named after the then mistress of Prince Charles, yup, Camilla Parker Bowles - the Duchess of Cromwell. We called her Millie. As her mom's name was Winephred we also called her Milliphred. Her ears never came up so she also got the nickname of Millie the Lop-eared Yorkie. She had the most beautiful long, thick and rich blue and tan coat. In my opinion she was beautimous. I could not sell her; my wife could not sell her littermate, Bessie. Millie was my dog.

Millie was the dog that our daughter Elizabeth loved to bother when she was little. Millie was smart enough to head to her cage when Elizabeth was on the prowl. She was never a problem. The crates are off-limits safe zones for the dogs. When we spend time at our cabin in North Carolina the dogs become leash dogs. There are no fences on the mountain and we don't want critters mistaking our pups for furry hors de oeuvres. Of the four ladies that joined us at the cabin - Winnie, Millie, Bessie and Connie - Millie was the only one that would cooperate with me by doing her duty watering the forest on leash.

For 13 years Millie was marvelous member of our family. She never really needed anything. She was the model of the low maintenance dog. A little love, some food, a scratch or two behind ears and she was good to go.

A few weeks ago she had blood in her stools. As that sometimes happens with intestinal distress, I gave her some antibiotics and it went away. She stopped eating about a week ago. For a few days she could be enticed to eat a bit by softening her food with warm water, then that began to fail. Over the Thanksgiving holiday she stopped eating all together. On Monday we took her to our veterinarian and the blood work showed her kidneys had stopped functioning. Everyone thought, based on the numbers in her blood analysis, that she could make it back home for a day of goodbyes on Tuesday. Like her early entry into this world, her departure was a bit expedited. We were scheduled to arrive at the animal hospital when they opened at 7:30a. True to her selflessness, she passed away at 6:55a, 5 mins before we had planned to leave for Alachua. I held her tight for that last hour at home, tears often coming to my eyes. I continually told her that we loved her and would miss her terribly. I already do.

Into my hands Millie entered this world 13-years ago - today she passed away in my arms. I love you Millie.

Here's a poem by Ogden Nash that means a great deal to me.

    For a Good Dog

      O, my little pup ten years ago
      was arrogant and spry,
      Her backbone was a bended bow
      for arrows in her eye.
      Her step was proud, her bark was loud,
      her nose was in the sky,
      But she was ten years younger then,
      And so, by God, was I.

      Small birds on stilts along the beach
      rose up with piping cry.
      And as they rose beyond her reach
      I thought to see her fly.
      If natural law refused her wings,
      that law she would defy,
      for she could do unheard-of things,
      and so, at times, could I.

      Ten years ago she split the air
      to seize what she could spy;
      Tonight she bumps against a chair,
      betrayed by milky eye!
      She seems to pant, Time up, time up!
      My little dog must die,
      And lie in dust with Hector's pup;
      So, presently, must I.

[click here for more photos of Millie]