Memories of Minnie

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

Old and puppy pugalier nose to nose
The day Minnie arrived in our family. This was the last time she ever appeared deferential in Max’s presence. Minnie quickly learned to rule the roost, more than compensating with attitude for what she lacked in size.
Old pugalier welcoming new puppy pugalier
Max sensing that despite her size, this addition to the family could be an event of some consequence for him. This turned out to be so, but in a good way. They were a real team, and were very close.
Pugalier puppy
Nature bestows this look on every puppy to maximise their chances of picking up a quality human carer at the earliest opportunity.

Minnie as a puppy in Apollo Bay

Pugalier puppy at the beach
Minnie became familiar with Apollo Bay from an early age.
Pugalier puppy with sock in mouth
Minnie understood there must be give and take in family life. This is Minnie giving back the sock she took.
Two pugaliers with Liz at Apollo Bay
Max and Minnie with Lizzie at Apollo Bay harbour. Short legs = short walks.
Pugalier puppy and Jess on jetty at Apollo Bay
Minnie and Jess.
Pugaliers Minnie and Max on the beach at Apollo Bay
Max and Minnie loved the beach at the end of our street in Apollo Bay. Max used to find dead or otherwise foul things to sniff and then roll in if they met his exacting standard of advanced putrefaction. Minnie loved getting wet but mostly only up to her knees. But she lived for the highly athletic activity of chasing sand flies. By the end of her life her score was zero. Good result for her and the flies. We constantly wondered how it was she never did her ACL, with all that sudden accelerating and stopping and fast turning.
Pugalier Minnie on the beach at Apollo Bay
A happy dog.
Pugalier Minnie on the beach at Apollo Bay
Way blacker than her shadow.

Minnie learned the art of true relaxation from Max

Max and Minnie, pugaliers snuggling
Max was a meditation master, and over time passed on his knowledge and contemplative practices to Minnie. The training started early and Minnie learnt quickly. As for this location, Max well knew that it was where the ducted heating vent behind him would heat his fur close to flash point. Minnie at this age however just knew that she was warm and with Max and wanted nothing further.
Pugalier puppy sleeping on her back
This is how Minnie slept after a big day, and indeed after every day.
Closeup of pugalier puppy
Min learned to love this Jason recliner, having discovered it was just the right size for two.
Pugaliers relaxing
Minnie and Max didn’t sleep the whole time. Sometimes they woke up and did this for a while before dozing off again.
Pugaliers sleeping on armchair
Dougie doing it tough with direct skin to leather contact, while Min luxuriates on one of the royal dog-cushions.

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.

Pugaliers sleeping on couch with Liz
Doing the crossword and sudoku as a team would often leave these three completely spent.
Pugalier sleeping on armchair
Minnie living the dream. This arrangement was for daytime and evening snoozing. There were other arrangements for sleeping at night which involved sheepskin rugs and electric blankets.
Closeup of pugalier sleeping on armchair
With this expression Minnie is saying, “Your presence is noted, now go away.”
Pugalier Minnie getting older
Minnie in the wild (unmown lawn).

No longer a puppy, and now with a second step-brother

Pugaliers Doug and Minnie snoozing on deck chair
Doug’s sleeps were more like comas. Minnie was more easily roused to fleeting half wakefulness as shown.
Three pugaliers siting in a row expecting food
L to R: Max, Doug and Minnie. They each had a collar bearing their name and Liz’s mobile number. This performance (self-taught) was because a snack was about to be handed out to each of them.
Closeup of ageing pugalier's face
Signs of age starting to appear.
Pugalier Minnie hugged by Georgie
Georgie and Minnie having a cuddle in the kitchen.

Getting older

Minnie the pugalier getting older
Looking a little greyer and a tad more portly. But this sight was still enough to strike fear into generations of sand flies at Apollo Bay.
Pugalier being held
Eyeballing me during one of our many daily cuddles.
Pugalier face peering out from quilt
Sometimes on very cold, wet and windy days in mid winter in Apollo Bay, I will take to the hammock on the deck on the lee side of the house in the open air, with a few cushions and a couple of Liz’s quilts to ensure my survival. Minnie loved to join me in the hammock, provided she too could be wrapped in one of Liz’s quilts.

Getting old

Minnie on her fifteenth birthday.
Old pugalier on grass in the sun
Minnie at the age of 16 on a recent trip to Torquay.
Very old pugalier
Minnie a couple of weeks ago. By this stage she could neither see nor hear. Lizzie was giving Minnie’s coat a brush, a form of attention she quite enjoyed.

Minnie’s last day

Minnie the pugalier on her last day
This is the last photo we have of Minnie, stoically trying right to the end to make some sense of her dark and silent world. She died peacefully in my arms.

Farewell little Minnie, you made our lives better.

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….

19 thoughts on “Memories of Minnie

  1. Such a beautiful tribute to dear old Min. Such a lucky girl to land mum and you as her humans. Thanks for the memories and pics, Dad. Sending lots of love to you both. xx

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    1. I’m pleased you approve Jess. You and Georgie had a lot to do with Minnie right through her life and were on her very short list of important people. It was very gracious of you as a diehard cat person to extend so much love and affection to Minnie throughout her entire life.
      xx

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  2. Beautifully written John, some lovely photos and memories as well. Liz and yourself really did provide Minnie a life any dog could wish for, I have no doubt another doggo will be afforded the same in the near future. Dan

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That was a lovely memorial to sweet Minnie. I know she, and all your dogs, have had good lives , and been well loved, but it’s a sad time. I can’t imagine your household without a dog. I’m glad she had such a tender demise. Love to you both. Jo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a sad time Jo, but Minnie did indeed have a very good life with us. After 43 years of dogs sharing our family life, Lizzie and I share your difficulty in imagining our household without a dog.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Marion. I know you understand the sadness when a much loved dog reaches the end of her road. But as you said, we have a lot of beautiful treasured memories.

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  4. Sad News, John – A Beautiful Tribute to Minnie – Treasured Photos – With Loving Memories. Thank You. Maryxx

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  5. A beautiful tribute, John. Dear Min, Maxie and Doug were all so lucky to love and be loved by the Langmead family. My thoughts (and a few tears) are with you and Liz x

    Liked by 1 person

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