Austen was 8 months old when we adopted Milo. Her seizures had already started, but her diagnosis was still a good four months into the future. We were on a journey that seemed to be hazed in fog at that point, and Milo joined us for the ride.
A brown Lab and bull mastiff mix, Milo is a lot of dog. But with my husband away on the pipeline five out of every six weeks, I wanted a dog that looked scary, even if he wasn’t. What I didn’t know was that I was not adopting a guard dog at all; I was adopting Austen’s best friend.
Their relationship started off kind of intensely. We had just gotten Milo home, and within an hour Austen dropped into a status seizure that lasted over 45 minutes. Even though he had just joined our family, Milo took the situation very seriously. He lay down next to Austen right away and wasn’t too friendly with the paramedics he thought might be hurting his baby. Milo’s first night in our family was actually spent at my aunt’s house with my older two kids. But as soon as Austen came home the next morning, their relationship was cemented.
In the nearly five years we’ve had Milo, he has definitely been used and abused by Austen. But he’s always been by her side. When she was little, she would crawl all over him and even chew on his ears. He never so much as whined about it, though. Many times she has tried to ride him like a horse. He simply lies down as his only form of protest.
Because of Austen’s autism and occasionally intense social behavior, she has had a hard time playing with other kids as she’s grown up. We’re working on that, but I’ve always been grateful to know she has at least one friend that never gives up on her. He stays by her side no matter where she is in the house, and is never more than 3 feet away from her when we play in the backyard. If she falls down, he gets to her before I do, and he sleeps in her bed every night so she is never alone.
Milo is not a seizure alert dog, but we call him our “during seizure dog.” He lies next to her during most of her seizures and licks her feet until she wakes up when they are done. Sometimes he stands over her if she falls down during a seizure, which is cute, but also makes it hard to administer emergency medications. He still does not like paramedics. I think he believes he can do a better job fixing “his girl” than they can.
I adopted Milo to be my dog when we first got him all those years ago, but God had other plans. Where she goes, he goes, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m grateful that fate gave my girl a friend and companion who loves her unconditionally and forgives easily. In a world that doesn’t always understand her, she has the truest of friends in her corner. I guess the saying of “man’s best friend” is true, because he’s definitely hers.
Note: Dravet Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Dravet Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Dravet syndrome.
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