Happy 14th Birthday, Milo!

Milo is fourteen today! I wasn’t so sure he’d still be here for this birthday, so I’ve been very much appreciating the time with him and making it a special day for Milo and for me, doing the things we’ve always enjoyed doing together. I’ve been pretty busy recently  and, though I’ve had nice snuggle time with Milo, I haven’t had time to do some of the things Milo really loves, so I set aside time today to do some of his favorite things.

This morning we did some Nosework, which we hadn’t done since last winter. He was so excited when we went down to the basement and I told him to “Find It!” I wasn’t sure how well his nose would be working, given his advancing age and kidney disease, but he was on fire! He scarcely even had to search; I hid the odor three times, and each time, as he crossed the room, he caught the scent and headed straight for it. I might pull it out to play again tomorrow, since we had so much fun with it today.

Tracking has always been Milo’s most favorite activity, so this afternoon when the sun came out and it warmed up into the upper 30’s, I took him to some nearby fields where the ice had melted (unlike our sloped skating rink of a yard). I left Milo on his fuzzy bed in my car while I laid a track for him through three fields. When I got back to the car, Milo was standing on the seat eagerly watching for me to return. He knows all the signs of a tracking outing and can hardly wait for me to put his harness on and tell him to “Go Track!” As with the Nosework, Milo did great with his tracking (as he almost always does).

Milo tracks much more slowly now, and I realized, with some sadness, that I no longer need to wear leather gloves to protect my hands from rope burn. He used to track so fast that he has burned through a couple pairs of good sport leather gloves. No need for gloves today, but that’s okay. Milo and I were in sync, as usual, connected not just by the tracking line but much more by our bond with and our understanding of each other and our shared love of being outside in a field working together.

Happy Birthday, my joyful Milo Bean! You enrich my life every day.

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