In the last couple of weeks, we had to say goodbye to both Rooster and Milo. These two dogs were best friends, brothers in some way. Milo was the little brother who adored and annoyed Rooster but they loved hanging out together and taught each other some tricks (like how to climb on the couch or eat ground apples in the backyard!). We would often walk around the pasture and barn; they would sniff and find things while I admired the beauty around us. We watched bunnies hop by and went to lakes for swimming and duck watching.

Rooster was adopted by my family in January 2012 when he was around 7 years old and he was about 14.5 years old when he crossed the rainbow bridge. While he’s always been a sweetheart and a loving pup, his severe anxiety made it hard to care for him. But I’m sure everyone in my family would say it was worth all the hardships.

Milo was adopted as a tiny puppy by my neighbor. He was 11.5 years old when he crossed the rainbow bridge and had been battling a gastrointestinal issue for more than a month before leaving us. The vets think it was some sort of stomach cancer, which can start showing symptoms seemingly out of nowhere.

Both of these dogs spent their last few days surrounded by some of their favorite people and doing the things they loved the most. We went for walks around town and in parks; spent time out in the backyard; gazed at the stars before bedtime; watched movies; and we, of course, cuddled. They got all the treats they wanted: turkey, chips, cheese, peanut butter dog treats, you name it.

I am incredibly heartbroken and devastated to lose these dogs, especially so close to one another. Milo and Rooster were a part of my life for a significant amount of time and my entire world for 4+ years. I am so grateful to have so many wonderful and loving memories of them but I still miss them both so much.

They will continue to be such a big part of my own life and with this project. I started ‘Animals of the Pacific Northwest’ because of these dogs. They will stay with me for the rest of my life.

There are some amazing photos of both Milo and Rooster below. But before you check them out, I do want to say thank you. Thank you to Milo and Rooster for being such kind, loving dogs. And thank you to you and the entire community that has loved these dogs near and far. The support my family and I (including my neighbor) have gotten has been so incredible and I’m just so grateful to all of you.

Lastly, some advice that I’m going to live by that I learned from Rooster and Milo: live your life with immense joy, patience, and love. These dogs taught me to love and be patient. But they also taught me to chose joy whenever I can, to find the good and wonderful in life.

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