February 22, 2024 –

At NOCO Humane, the adoption process includes questions about a family’s lifestyle and expectations for a new pet. We do this to ensure each adoption is a great fit for both the animal and the adoptive family as they embark on a new friendship. For adopters Connor and Brittany, our job was easy – they already knew that Milo would be the perfect fit.

A one-year-old yellow lab, Milo was found two months prior as a stray wandering the railroad tracks. With no collar, tags, or microchip to identify him, Milo was homeless and in need of help. What’s more, he was limping with several lacerations and apparent road rash on his left front leg.

Once at NOCO Humane, Milo was examined by our Veterinary Services Team, who found that he was suffering from a fractured left limb, likely the result of being hit by a car. Even still, our veterinary professionals’ primary concern was the severity of his wounds. Milo’s wounds were sutured and he was placed on both antibiotics and a pain treatment plan. Staff kept a close eye on his recovery over the next several days, and while he continued to appear comfortable – walking, eating, and sleeping normally – the wound nearest to his left front elbow continued to swell and cause concern. Recognizing the likelihood of severe infection and sepsis, the veterinary staff made the decision to amputate Milo’s limb.

Five days after his arrival at NOCO Humane, Milo underwent a forelimb amputation surgery. While the surgery went without complications, Milo’s first few days of recovery were challenging. He was plagued by a slight infection of his incision wound that resulted in fever, and the pain medication began to upset his system. But after a few days of constant supervision by a foster family and daily vet checks at the shelter, Milo finally started to heal.

More than three weeks later, Milo enthusiastically walked back through our shelter’s doors – this time pain free – and became an adoption candidate.

It didn’t take long for Milo to find a family as he was adopted the very next day. His new home was everything he wanted, except for a dog sibling that made him a little uneasy, causing him to growl and stand guard. After witnessing this, Milo’s adopter made the difficult decision to bring him back to the shelter in hopes of finding him a better fit.

Milo was greeted with open arms and ear scratches by our shelter staff and caretakers who already knew him well. He was back up for adoption, but this time, it took a little longer for his new family to arrive. Knowing that his family was out there somewhere, NOCO Humane’s marketing department produced a short video of Milo playing fetch and grinning ear to ear at the sound of his name. After publishing the video, Milo received lots of love and support from our social media community.

“We saw a video of Milo playing and, gosh, he just looked like the happiest dog ever,” said Connor Hughes. “My wife asked me what I think and I said ‘let’s go get him.”‘ Connor and Brittany Hughes thought the world of Milo just from his short video, and they took off work two days later to meet him. “We played with him and he just melted into us.”

That same day, Connor and Brittany expanded their family and adopted Milo. “We have a big backyard, and when we first got home, we let Milo out back and he just sprinted back and forth several times,” said Connor. “He LOVES his ball. He’ll grab it and drop it in your lap, and if you don’t throw it, he’ll re-grab it and put it back in your lap,” laughs Conner. “We took him to PetSmart right after adopting him and walked him through all the toy aisles. We figured he would grab them all and we were ready to buy them all, but all he wanted was a ball.”

Though he’s still learning how to climb the stairs with only three legs, Milo is navigating life as a tripod well. Both Connor and Brittany are physical therapists and have been keeping an eye on how Milo manages with just three legs. “We want to make sure that his lone front leg doesn’t get injured from holding all the front weight, but all he wants to do is RUN!”

From wandering aimlessly as a stray to running with purpose in his new backyard, Milo found home. He found his second chance. Connor and Brittany have plans to take him on adventures and let his spunky personality explore all smells, people, open spaces, and balls this world has to offer. “His tail never stops wagging,” said Connor, “he’s such a happy guy.”

With each wag of his tail and a gleam in his eyes, Milo found his perfect fit, proving that sometimes imperfections are the very things that make a family whole.