**First posted on December 6, 2009 and I remembered it while sitting here, eating French toast, and thinking of my baby girl**

Four weeks have passed since Mina and I spent our last, fine day together. I think my friend Lisa is right about that day; it was Mina’s final gift to me. It was a beautiful, sunny warm day; Mina had more energy than she’d had in a couple of weeks, we had French toast for breakfast, she took naps while I did laundry, we watched TCM movies, we took another nice walk, it was a normal Sunday for us.

Today is not warm, though it promises to be sunny, and there’s ice covering the parking lot and our car. It’s very cold, in the 20s, and the snow that fell yesterday is hard and crusty. Mina would’ve been so disappointed to find crusty snow and hard ice this morning, although she loved winter weather. Cold temperatures put perk in Mina’s step as she carefully guided me through the icy parts, looking back to make sure I was following and not falling.

Mina was born in upstate New York in October, so perhaps that’s why she always preferred cold weather to hot weather? I’ve read that Wheaties tend to enjoy colder temps more, and that was certainly true as Mina got older. Her last favorite spot to nap was on the tile entry way, or in front of the living room windows.

Those windows are smeared with “nose marks” left by Mina as she spent time watching the sidewalk below. The nose marks stay. I swear whenever I leave this apartment that I’m taking those panes of glass with me. The window sill below is scratched from Mina’s nails because when something really exciting happened outside, she stood on the windowsill with her front paws and barked her big-dog bark.

Mina at her station, keeping me safe

During the summer I changed my volunteer days at the sanctuary to Sundays because they need more help that day. I didn’t go out to the sanctuary that often after Mina’s cancer diagnosis in April, but I wonder if she resented the occasional loss of our slow Sundays together? I hope not because it was a needed respite for me, a necessary recharging of my spirit that enabled me to get through the difficult emotional roller coaster of chemotherapy. Trust me, I made it up to her by spending the afternoon and evening in complete devotion to She Who Owns My Heart.

Typically, we got outside for Mina’s first walk of the day around 5:30-6:00 a.m., depending on the season. We went out earlier in the summer months and later in winter because I needed to see the sun, if possible. After our walk it was time for breakfast! Mina always got fresh water and a clean food bowl filled with whatever she was eating at the time, and a treat from the box kept on top of the refrigerator. Next, she got whatever supplements and medications she was taking, always wrapped in a peanut butter coating. I think Mina loved peanut butter more than I do!

Sundays were my big breakfast day, too. I made all sorts of yummy treats on Sundays, and when I sat at my desk to eat in front of the computer Mina was right there next to me, waiting for her portion of the goodies. It was hard during the chemo weeks because she wasn’t supposed to have sugar or lots of carbohydrates, but she always got my last bite, no matter the rules.

We passed the rest of the day taking walks outside, visiting whomever was working in the leasing office, doing mundane household chores, watching old movies, taking naps, getting long belly rubs, lots of hugs and tons of kisses. Mina couldn’t take a nap in peace without me coming over to rub her belly and kiss her sweet, sweet face. Sometimes she’d thump her tail against the floor or couch when I approached and I lived for that tail thump. I don’t know why, exactly, but it pleased me no end to see her tail wag even when her eyes were closed.

I will miss her every moment of the rest my life, but especially on Sundays.

Mina, my sweet baby girl, I love you, I love you, I love you

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