Our Sweet Little Millie


On Sunday morning, we found Millie paralyzed from her waist down, unable to move her legs or control her bowels, and shaking all over.  We took her to the pet hospital around noon and stayed there for about 4 hours, doing blood tests, x-rays, and trying understand why.  She stayed there overnight, but on Monday the only change in her was that she was no longer shaking.  We laid her to rest later that evening.  And I still wouldn’t call myself an animal person in general, but I definitely loved her.  I didn’t expect how hard I would take it – I miss her so much and can barely keep my eyes dry for more than about two hours at a time.  But Jake and I healing a little bit at a time, and we know she’s happy where she is now.

In her last two days, she just let us hold her and love her.  She wanted to get up and run around and jump so badly, but her little legs just wouldn’t work. It was so hard to see her not being able to be a puppy.  The doctor said that she had a deformed vertebrae (probably from birth) that had just shifted and was now pushing up on her spinal column – causing the paralysis, incontinence, and shaking.  The odds were so stacked against her that even surgery likely wouldn’t help.  So we held her as long as we could, scratched her ears and her belly, held her little paws, and then we let her sleep for the last time.  We buried her in a special spot in the mountains, with sunshine, trees, and a view of Mt. Millicent (for which she was named).  I held her all wrapped up in a blanket as we drove up the mountain road – she was so peaceful and I wasn’t quite ready to let go.  We dedicated her grave and placed her in it with her stuffed chicken and the pink bandana Jake bought for her.  We love her and miss her so much.  But we know that she’s in a better place now – somewhere that she is whole and healthy, but hopefully still her cute puppy size.  We feel lucky even to have had her for 2 short months. Our neighbor Beth and her two children came to the pet hospital to say goodbye to Millie and as we were sitting in the waiting room, Beth said that Millie was so special and unique – and maybe that’s why we only had her for such a short time.  She was just that special.  She was the perfect dog for us – the sweetest little girl we ever could have hoped for.  We like to think that now she has joined Jake’s fleet of guardian angels on their Search and Rescue task force.  Oh how we miss her already.  She really has a special place in our hearts.  We love you, our sweet little Millie. 

Memories of Millie

5/6/2008 – 9/8/2008

  • She is part reindeer, part puppy.  We determined that from the way she would prance/pounce especially when we first got her.
  • She couldn’t walk straight for the first little bit – had trouble getting the back legs and front legs to get in the same direction so she’d zig zag/prance/pounce wherever she went.
  • When I would come down in the morning, I’d sit Indian style on the floor and she’d jump in my lap, try to lick my face, and let me pet her, scratch her, especially her belly.
  • The beautiful white cross on her chest.
  • How her cute little nubbin of a tail would go crazy wagging whenever she got excited (i.e. whenever she saw one of us after not being around for awhile, whenever she saw a friend, etc.).  Her tail was docked when we got her (cut off, I guess), so it was only like an inch long, and whenever she wagged it, she ended up shaking her entire hind end.
  • How much she loved when Jake would feed her string cheese, bread w/PB, tuna, treats.
  • Our favorite was when she would lie on her back with all 4 legs up, and try to gnaw on something near her head.

  • How she pounced at her bone, as if it were alive.
  • A few times recently she’s run into the screen door trying to get either inside or out, not even seeing it.  She had a much better track record with the glass door.  We laughed, she just looked at us with her head cocked.
  • Digging in the dirt whenever she could reach it.  Or the drain pipes, or the wet part in our grass.  Then when we’d call her to stop, she’d look up at us with her ears up, with an expression that said, “Huh?  Who, ME?  I’m just digging over here.”  There are still a few of her holes in our dirt that I’m not quite ready to fill back up…
  • How she’d look us all alert with her ears up and her head cocked.
  • Whenever she was in the front room, she’d just want to play – with the table, the table runner, ANY SHOES she could find, the Gatorade bottle.
  • Sometimes when we were in the family room but she was supposed to stay in the kitchen, she start creeping into the family room, and as soon as we would notice her and tell her to go back, she’d run back to the kitchen.
  • She got pretty used to not being able to go to the front room – she would sit at the border, right where the kitchen floor met the carpet, and she’d barely put her little paws on the carpet.  As if to say, “Look, I’m close, but I’m not going in.”
  • If she was in the kitchen when I came home from work, she’d see me opening the front door and try her best to stay on the linoleum, but after a second or two she wouldn’t be able to stand it anymore and she’d run as fast as she could to greet me.
  • Chasing the Gatorade bottle for HOURS in the kitchen – every once in awhile she’d think it’s alive so she’d back away and growl and bark at it.

  • Her “shiz-eating grin”, as Jake called it when she would look at us all excited with her tongue hanging out the side of her mouth.
  • She LOVED our neighbors – especially Anna.  She’d be so excited whenever she saw them that she’d end up accidentally peeing.  She really liked Laura, too.
  • How ready and alert she would always be to get out of her kennel.  Especially when we moved her down to the basement.  She’d always be standing ready, looking around the corner to see if we were coming for her.
  • She liked sitting under the back porch in the shade, but often she’d get her leash tangled around the post to the point that she couldn’t move hardly 1 foot.  So we’d rescue her and unwind the leash, but she would inevitably do it again.  Cute puppy.
  • She would pull ANYTHING she could through her kennel – once I found like 5 washcloths and hand towels in it.
  • She liked getting into the insulation and wood in the basement… not so good for a puppy.
  • She decided that the little soft bed we got for her was a better chew toy then the bed.  She tore part of it apart, pulling out the stuffing from inside.  Also, she seldom sat INSIDE the bed – she usually wanted to lie half on, half off.  And the first time we put it in her kennel, she crawled under it to sleep.
  • She always wanted to lick our faces, but I never let her until the day we said good-bye.  Then I couldn’t get enough of it.
  • One morning we were cooking bacon, and we had her outside in the back yard with the just the screen door shut and it only took her a few seconds to realize, “Um, you’re cooking bacon?  I don’t know if you remember, but I’m a DOG and bacon is kinda my thing…”  She was up to the screen door pushing her nose against it and wagging her little tail pretty quickly.  After breakfast, I ended up giving her a piece of bacon
  • Going on walks was almost impossible. She would run around our legs and it was a struggle to make sure the leash wouldn’t trip us.
  • Sometimes she would be scratching her head with her hind legs, and all of a sudden she’d start chewing on her foot.

  • One day Jake brought home a little pink bandana with white polka dots for her – I almost died. But it was so cute that he got it for her, and it really fit her sweet personality.
  • Then I almost died again when Jake got her a little dog tag for her collar and on it he’d put “Millie Spurlock”.  But now I’m ok with it.  Now I really feel like she was part of our family.
  • She had a love-hate relationship with sprinklers – she would get up close and bite at the water, only to run away the next second, and then go back at it again.
  • She loved going on walks to new places – she’d run back and forth from one spot in the grass to the next, so many things to discover!
  • Her sweet little face and name, she just wanted to love and be loved. She was so excited for life and for every single day.
  • Jake said she hardly ever winced for the shots when he took her to the vet – she didn’t mind it at all.
  • She loved taking naps on top of the air conditioning vent.
  • She wasn’t a huge fan of taking baths, but after awhile she got used to the blow dryer and would sit calmly in Jake’s lap and bite at the air.
  • When she got the cue that her bath time was done and she was free to go, she never went down the stairs faster.
  • She loved playing fetch, but only until she realized that we would take the ball away from her again if she brought it to us. So she’d catch it about 3 times and then just take the ball with her and sit down.
  • Her favorite toys were her chicken, a leather shoe, the teddy bear from Anna, and the rope.  And the dog brush with the wooden handle.
  • She LOVED eating ice.  On that sad Sunday, I fed her ice as she lay on the grass.  She couldn’t get enough of it.
  • Whenever I washed dishes, she would want to sit on top of my feet, partly to just be there, partly because there was another air conditioning vent there.
  • She liked to bite on her leash. One day we had the leash partly inside the sliding glass door but she was outside, and apparently she saw someone she liked and bolted so fast that she broke the leash.  We got a stake with a much stronger leash that day.
  • She loved sitting on the grass when it was windy outside, just feeling the wind on her face.  She’d face the wind and let it blow her ears all the way back.
  • She had one crooked ear that would always be flopped backwards when the other one was down regular.  Cute little lopsided ears…

  • She liked to nibble on Jake’s toes when she was really little.
  • It was so cute when she would put her paw up as if to say – please hold my hand.
  • She would never do her business in one spot – she would always walk a few steps, leaving a trail of it.  THANKS, Millie.
  • She loved to be scratched and played with.  And she had the softest fur I had ever felt.
  • She loved kids – she was happiest when she was outside playing with all of our neighbor kids.
  • She would army crawl when she wanted to sneak up on something, with her arms straight out, and her legs straight back.
  • When we first got her, Jake would have to take her out in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. The only way he could keep track of her was her little white bum.
  • Just a few days ago we noticed that she had lost 3 or her front puppy teeth.
  • When we would take her somewhere in the car, if she wasn’t in her carrier, she’d want her head out the window or right in front of the air conditioning
  • On Jake’s recent walks with her to the mailbox without her leash – she’d run almost the whole way there and then look back at him as if to say, “What’s taking you so long? I’m already here, you should be too.”

13 responses »

  1. I wish that I could say something that would make you feel better. You are in my prayers. And even though I am not a dog person per say, I thought Millie was adorable.

  2. I was sad for you guys when Ryan told me the news! Just when you were probably fine sharing the kitchen again, too. These are great pictures you have, and a great list of memories as well. And you nailed it–Jake definitely needs a dog on guardian angel team. The burial spot looks beautiful and peaceful.

  3. How sad! I hope you guys are doing alright… and I know Millie is doing JUUUUST fine. It’s always hard parting with your animals, because they really do become a member of the family! But your little family will be growing yet again pretty soon here! 🙂

  4. Pingback: Jake Spurlock · Something Subtle From The Heart Of Utah County

  5. Dear Melissa and Jake,

    So sorry to hear of Millie passing. What sad news.

    She was so cute, I was really excited for a “Bain” to have a pet.

    You were both blessed with a great joy. It is very difficult to lose a pet. They seem to be around though. That part I love.

    Take each day at a time. Your heart will mend but it will never forget the unconditional love Millie had for both of you.
    Sister P

  6. Hey Jake and Melissa.

    So sorry about your dog… I know how attached you can become. I had a dog before my first child was born… she was everything and she was killed. Since that time, I’ve refrained from getting a pet because the loss can be so hurtful.

    Millie was a darling dog… Her grave site is just beautiful.

  7. Hi Melissa and Jake,
    We had Stake Conference this weekend, it was fantastic!
    We were able to see your parents Melissa. I told your dad that I was sorry to hear of Millies passing, he about could not believe what I was saying. I went to your mom and she also felt the same way. Then I took the time to share with your mom that Millie is a member of your family. I know she is not an animal lover as I am. But, I was able to share with her the love that is there with Millie and that it will take time. I know she is concerned for you and the baby and we all are. Just keep taking care of yourself and the baby and don’t forget about Jake too.
    One day in some time from now you will all have the desire for a new pet in your lives.
    Sister P :>)

  8. I’m so sorry about Millie! I know how a dog can really be a part of the family. I know it’s kind of silly, but aren’t you glad for your eternal perspective in these situations? What a blessing to know that she’s bounding around in Heaven!

  9. I was sad when Jake told us about Millie today. That is tragic. I thought it was neat that you buried her in a special spot. I’m sure she appreciated her time with you guys.

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