Minnie died a couple of days ago. After thousands of great days with Minnie, this day was the inevitable one bad day that is part of the deal of sharing your life with a dog.
Minnie was part of our family for just under 17 years. She arrived as a small puppy to provide company for Max, our other pugalier at the time. Thanks to Liz, Minnie truly did live the dream.
Save for respectable pauses between dogs, Liz and I have had dogs in our life for 43 years; in order of residency with us: Jack, Curly, Sam, Max, Minnie and Doug. Max was already with us when Minnie came along. There were 7 years when we had three dogs at the same time after Dougie (a rescue dog) joined the team. Maxie died suddenly at the age of 14 and Dougie wore out slowly and died last summer at the age of 15. Minnie was batting on pretty well into very senior dog years when in reasonably rapid order she lost her sight, her hearing, her sense of smell and finally her mobility.
Prior to her back legs totally ceasing to function, in which period she was of necessity leading a diminished life given her steadily growing list of limitations, she somehow seemed to still enjoy the life she had. She developed a workable mental map of the house which enabled her to find, unassisted, her water and food, her bed and the numerous rest stations strategically located around the house for daytime naps or for rest during big trips from one end of the house to the other. When we lifted her up she would invariably wag her tail. If I lifted her up and held her face near mine, quick as a flash she would give me a lick on the tip of my nose as she has done with me since she was a puppy. She was eating well, and still making clear and successful pleas for frequent snacks between meals. She slept well and did not appear to be in pain. She could walk, but only slowly. Then suddenly she couldn’t.
Minnie meets Max for the first time
Minnie as a puppy in Apollo Bay
Minnie learned the art of true relaxation from Max
As the image on the right shows, when Doug arrived in the family, Min did have to put up with the indignity of Doug treating her comfort as one of his lesser goals. But she showed her stubborn streak by not giving way to such thoughtlessness and discourtesy. The image on the left shows that Minnie quickly learnt how to get the A row seating.
No longer a puppy, and nowwith a second step-brother
Minnie’s last day
For the first time since 1978, Lizzie and I find ourselves without a dog in the family, and with no plans to find a successor to Minnie and all the others. There are reminders of Minnie at every turn for us at the moment. However, we are not looking for another dog. But Jess did remind me today that our family history shows that dogs seem to find Lizzie and me….