October 7, 2018

Denver, Colorado

Spot Miller, 15 and a half years old, died peacefully at her home on Sunday surrounded by love and full of cheese, yogurt, tomatoes, brownies, bread, and hamburger.

Spot was born in Aurora, Colorado on April 26, 2003 to her mother, Standard Poodle Hershey Miller. Spot was the first of nine puppies to break out of the puppy pen — foreshadowing more than a decade of high jinks and earning a permanent place in her guardian’s heart.

A precocious pup, her first experience with formal education occurred when she went off to CU Boulder with Erin as a mere puppy. It was at Boulder where she perfected the skills of charming children and stealing food off of plates — those of her guardian and roommates — with a particular fondness for brownies, pie, and cake.

She tested Dan’s suitability for a life partner by moving into his Denver apartment 3-months into his and Erin’s relationship.

She accompanied Erin to graduate school in New York City — and while not a huge fan of cross-country road trips or planes, she understood the importance of accompanying Erin to her new city. While there, she honed her skills at using her nose to knock one’s hand off of a keyboard and onto her head for a pet — a skill she maintained for years. She befriended roommate Max, a 120-pound Great Dane/German Shepherd mix (fondly referred to as a “lab-mix” on rental applications) who she often framed for acts of stealing food from the small city kitchen by leaving the boxes and wrappers on Max’s bed.

She thrived in the young professional life of DC where she became a regular at monuments, a star of tourist photos, and enjoyed finding eager new pet sitters who didn’t know that she wasn’t allowed on the bed.

She was there for all of the successes and tragedies that occur in the transition to adulthood, heart aches, Erin’s miscarriage, and bringing Theo home from the hospital as a postpartum mess — and she was always ready to put a head in a lap for a pet and look up with understanding eyes. 

She found her rhythm in a house with a toddler — dutifully cleaning up under the high chair and happily helping with any leftover food. While referred to as Spot or Spoticus during most of her life, Theo’s fascination with her led to new honorific — “Dog Dog” — and was among the very first of Theo’s words. Theo often awoke in the morning talking about Dog Dog — leading to shrieks of glee when Spot came charging into his room. And later, once the stairs proved too much of an obstacle, we would come down in the morning to find Dog Dog so that Theo could practice his “gentle touches.”

Thank you, Spot, for your endless love and devotion. Thank you for stretching my heart. You made a permanent place for yourself inside it.