Healing after the loss of a dog: Radio personality shares her tale
FIDO Friendly loves to learn about people who give back, use their voice and their experience to touch the lives of animals and those whose lives they touch.
We wagged our tails furiously when we learned about Maria Milito, a fabulous radio personality and author who, through the loss of her beloved dog, touched the lives of thousands with her experience and words of wisdom. Here, we go behind the microphone and get to know Maria and how you, too, can share in her mission and words of doggy advice.
FIDO Friendly: Hi – can you introduce yourselves for those not familiar and tell me what you do.
Maria Milito: I'm on the air at Q1043 (Classic Rock)in NYC; Big 1059 in Miami, and on Clear Channel's Premium Choice Network. I also do voice-over work for NY1News (an all news TV channel on Time Warner Cable) in NYC and am the guest-host for their interavtive show "The Call".
FF: Have you always been a dog lover and had a dog in your life?
MM: I've always loved dogs but my parents never allowed us to have one growing up! I was only allowed turtles and fish, I guess because my parents thought the dog responsibility would fall on them (as most parents think!) so I got my dog love from the dogs in my extended family like grandparents; aunts, and uncles.
FF: Tell me about Clarice and Friends and the story behind this beautiful book and its inspiration.
MM: Clarice and Friends is a collection of emails I received from my radio listeners when my pug Clarice died in Sept 06. The emails helped me cope with the loss in such a way that I could never imagine! Listeners shared their experiences; gave advice; suggestions; told stories; so as I result I published Clarice and Friends to help someone when they lose their beloved companion, with profits going to animal charities.
FF: Tell us about any dog(s) you have in your life at present.
MM: I rescued Carmine (the Big Ragu like in Laverne & Shirley) from the city shelter in Feb 08. He was a sickly 11 lb 10 wk old English Bulldog who had pneumonia nine days after I brought him home. He was then in ICU for almost a week but today, he's a healthy 90lb (!!) either Boxer/Bulldog or Boxer/Mastiff. I tell my friends it's like living with a frat boy! He's a goofy and playful gentle giant.
FF: Do you travel with your dog(s) and what has been your favorite trip?
MM: I honestly don't travel as much as I'd like to so Carmine hasn't been on any long-term trip with me yet. My fave trip so far was when Clarice came with me, my sister, and my niece to Salem , Massachuseets and she was our sentinel in a supposed haunted hotel room!
FF: What advice would you give others who are grieving the loss of their beloved canine family member (as I have)?
MM: My advice is to not listen to anyone and deal with your grief however you need to: If you need some days off, then take them off. If you feel like crying, then cry. NEVER apologize for what you're feeling and don't listen to advice! People will tell you to throw stuff out or get another pet instantly or whatever they think but everyone deals with it on a personal basis. Btw, these are all chapters dealt with in Clarice and Friends.
FF: Often times I hear people say “oh just go get another dog” after a beloved pooch passes. Those words can hurt deep and many, myself included, find them insensitive. I’ve heard many readers say they experienced that too – again, what advice would you give to someone who faces that?
MM: Yes! Too often non-pet people (and sometimes animal people too) say get another, replace it as if it were a couch! I think we need to grieve the pet and get another when WE feel it's time. But there are people in the book who had to get another instantly and it worked out for them. It's a very personal choice. I waited a year-and-a-half before I got Carmine; I woke up and realized I was a happier person when I had a dog living with me so I started searching all the websites and ultimately found Carmine (who was Mugsy in the shelter but I changed it!).
FF: How should one reconcile with not feeling guilty for wanting to get another dog with which to share life after theirs passes?
MM: No guilt!! Own your feelings; it's your life and we all need to do what works best for ourselves. And no one should do something because someone else thinks it's best, because it might not be. If you know you need to have another pet soon after, then rescue one (please don't buy); it's ok! It's whatever works best in your life.
FF: Where can folks learn more about you and tune in to listen? Where also can they get the book?
MM: They can tune into Q1043 where I'm on 9am-2pm (they can also listen online and through iHeartradio; Miami 10a-2p & Premium Choice's Classic Rock stations 10a-3p)
I'm also on Twitter @mariamilito and Facebook.
Clarice and Friends is available through Amazon, B&N.com, and Mira Publishing. All that info and more is at http://www.clariceandfriends.com/
There's also a Clarice and Friends Facebook page which I would love people to "Like" and follow on Twitter @claricenfriends
FF: Thanks for spending time with us. What is your involvement with dogs at present and would you ever write another book?
MM: Currently I help promote and host various animal charity events in the tri-state area. And sometimes I bring Carmine too! If I received enough stories, then I'd write another Clarice and Friends type of book. I encourage visitors to the website to email their stories. http://www.clariceandfriends.com/contact.html
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