Miles: Office Linebacker

The first thing you need to know about Miles is that he is one of the sweetest, most affectionate dogs that one will ever encounter. He loves belly rubs and games of fetch, and he doesn’t mind cuddling either. That being said, he does not mind confrontation one bit. Now, this is not to suggest that he is an aggressive dog–far from it. Instead, Miles, like Terry Tate of one of Reebok’s famous ad campaigns, can pack heat and lay a friendly whoopin’ on his dog buddies. Don’t know what I mean? Stop reading for a minute and view this short video before proceeding: Terry Tate: Office Linebacker.

Okay, good. Now that we have established the hilarious, powerful, and linebacker-esque side of Miles, we can proceed. I call him Terry Tate because he loves to run full speed and collide with his brother and litter mate, Simba, our yellow lab. Quick update: Simba belongs to me and my wife, Tara, and Miles belongs to Tara’s sister, Christine, and her husband, Andy. When the two dogs were young, they would see each other once or twice a month, and like male dogs sometimes do, they would try their hardest to establish dominance. For Simba, this meant retrieving tennis balls before Miles could get to them, and for Miles, it meant watching Simba grab the tennis ball, calculating the necessary speed and angle to lay a Terry Tate-like sack on him, and executing the plan. The two were inseparable and still are to this day, but more on Miles.

Being a litter mate to Simba, we know that Miles also traveled from Michigan to arrive in Pennsylvania. This explains his name–since he journeyed so far to be with Chris and Andy, they so aptly named him “Miles.” I sometimes call him Kilometers, which elicits a turn of his head and a confused look, which is appropriate given my sometimes confusing and bizarre nature. Dogs love me because I’m less intelligent than they are. This is especially true for Miles, as he has a special tendency to hear me say, “Want to play?” while moments later he fails to hear me utter, “Time to come inside.” He can protest as well as any dog. “Let me drop to the ground and hoard as many tennis balls as possible,” he must think to himself, all the while deriving pleasure from watching me stand at the doorstep, arms crossed, eyes rolling, thinking, “Come on, man. Cut me a break.” I guess he is just waiting for Chris or Andy to come and tell him the exact same thing; he tends to listen then! We’ve come a long way though–he’d admit that if you asked.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Miles is his love for darts. You could place a raw steak, a box of tennis balls, a squirrel, and an old slipper right next to him, but if he sees you pick up a dart, you will have his attention until the end of time. His devotion to the game extends beyond participating as a fan. In one case, a dart hit the metal ring that surrounds the edge of the board, and it proceeded to careen downward, landing between his shoulder blades. This was the moment that I knew he and Simba were brothers–much like the time that Simba gashed his own head open on the stucco siding of our home and went on to smile, wag his tail, and drop the tennis ball at our feet in hopes that we could continue to play, Miles stood happily, wagging his tail, smiling up at me and Andy, waiting for one of us to pull the dart from his backside. Just like Terry Tate, Miles knows how to play hurt.

Though he is not my dog, I love him just as much as any four legged pup that has carved a special place in my heart. I know that I can count on him to toughen up Simba, track darts, and behave in other lab-like ways that touch the soul of any true dog lover. Miles may have earned his name through travel, but he earned our adoration through his unparalleled love and loyalty.

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than you love yourself.”

Josh Billings


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