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Farmington Independent Article

 
Milo's Moments
Thursday, January 22, 2004
By Nathan Hansen
editor1@farmingtonindependent.com


Milo is a happy dog. Put him in an unfamiliar room and, like most dogs, he will set out exploring, sniffing his way into corners and under chairs. He might bump into things a little more often than other dogs, but he has an excuse: Milo has no eyes.

Milo doesn’t seem to mind, though. He sniffs away, apparently not bothered by the fact he cannot see what his nose tells him is there. At home, where he knows his way around, he zips here and there almost as fast as he ever did.

Milo has adapted so well, in fact, he has inspired his owner.

A year ago, Lawna Kilber was splitting her time between a job working with children at the Farmington School District’s District Service Center and a home business making and selling greeting cards. The two jobs kept her busy . She created 60 to 70 cards per week for sale online and through several stores and she was happy.

Then, a little more than a year ago, Milo, an 8-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, was diagnosed with luxation of the lens. Essentially, the lenses of his eyes had separated from the pupils. He couldn’t see, and his eyes were causing him a lot of pain. He had one eye removed in January, the other in May.

Some people wondered why Kilber and her husband did not just put Milo to sleep. They wondered what good a no-eyed dog could be. But, looking at Milo now, Kilber knows she made the right decision.

“They (dogs) really just think you turned out the lights,” Kilber said. “It took him a day to learn the stairs again. He fell a couple times.”

Now, Kilber said, Milo races up and down the stairs just like he did before he lost his eyes. He is healthy, he is happy and he is full of enough energy Kilber and others jokingly refer to him as a “Jack Russell Terror.”

“He loves to chase cows,” Kilber said. “He can’t see them, but he takes off after them.”

Seeing how her dog reacted to losing his sight got Kilber thinking. If Milo can be so happy after losing so much, she reasoned, shouldn’t everyone be able to find something to make themselves feel good? The answer she came up with is Milo Moments, an ever-expanding line of products for dogs and humans.

For humans, the Milo Moments line features mochas and homemade bath salts in coconut, banana and other scents.

“I was trying to think of something calming that I enjoy,” Kilber said. “(Bath salts) are something that I use to relax. “I kept just getting ideas, and it grows.” Kilber has also created a line of greeting cards with pictures of Milo.

In the beginning, the focus of Milo Moments has been on creating a Milo-like state of happiness among humans. The only dog-centered item on the list for now is a collection of gourmet dog treats made by Kilber’s mother. Kilber would like to change that, though. “I have a lot of ideas how I want to go,” she said. “I want to gear toward gifts for pets.”

Among Kilber’s thoughts for future products are bandannas and scarves knitted by her mother and Milo Moments dog dishes, and other pet supplies. She would like to offer gift packages with a Milo Moments item and a Milo greeting card.

Then there are the books. On her web site, www.lawnaskreations.com, Kilber has created a journal that tells Milo’s story. She hopes to turn that journal into a book complete with Milo’s thoughts on things such as cats (he doesn’t like them) and the kennel where he stays when Kilber and her husband go out of town (he refers to it as his “doggy dude ranch”). She would also like to publish a children’s book, with Milo’s story told in braille.

While the books are still in the works, Kilber said reaction to her Milo Moments products, which she started selling in December, has so far been good. She said people like the idea behind the products, and like hearing Milo’s story. Many people have written to tell her about the inspiration Milo has provided them.

That, as much as building a popular business, is what Kilber is after. Kilber, who co-hosts an Internet forum for people with disabled pets, wants people to know they do not have to put their pets to sleep when something bad happens.

“I’m just trying to get the word out that this has started,” she said. “I want to be on Oprah.”

The other business Kilber started out making greeting cards just for her own use, but they were so popular among her friends she turned it into a business. She does not have any formal training, but she has an office in her home dedicated to making cards, many of which feature items glued or otherwise stuck to them. “I just have drawers full of stuff and when I’m out shopping I pick things up,” she said. “I just get ideas in my head. I don’t get any sleep at night.”

Developing Milo Moments products and working on two books has not left much time for Kilber’s original business. Since she really started working on the Milo Moments line, Kilber’s greeting card production has slowed almost to a stop. Production might never get back up to where it was before, but Kilber said she will not stop altogether. “Valentines Day is coming, so I’m definitely going to make my Valentines cards,” she said.

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