My friends have suggested that I write about Mina’s life – little stories of our times together. They may not be of interest to everyone, and some are going to be really dull, but Mina wasn’t always sick. Until February of this year, when I started to see alarming changes in her health and behavior, Mina was an incredibly fit and healthy little girl.

So …

Mina has driven with me down to my home town in Florida to visit my Dad since 1998. She is a fantastic road trip companion. In 1998 we drove down to spend Thanksgiving with Dad, my stepmom June, and the rest of the crew.

My stepmom’s grandson, P., was just a toddler that year. Mina was was just a kid herself at 2 years old. She was also the very first canine that P. had ever encountered. He wanted to play with her, and Mina obliged. P. would throw one of Mina’s soft balls from the couch out onto the carpet, and Mina would bring it right back to him … but, she didn’t release it from her mouth. She liked to play tug of war and if you got the ball from her, then you threw it again so she could chase it!

There must have been some young kid sympatico between them because P. finally found the right word to get Mina to release the ball.

He got down to Mina’s eye level, looked her right in the eyes and said, “spit.” Mina dropped the ball in his lap – every time. It never worked for anyone else, but during that trip she obeyed the “spit” command.

Mina and I lived with my sister and my niece for the first three years of Mina’s life. My sister had an older cocker spaniel named, Goldie. From the moment Mina came to live with me at three months old, she and Goldie were Trouble and Trouble’s Young Apprentice.

Goldie was a first-class food poacher. While dinner was being put on the table, one adult had to stand guard at the dinner table. If you turned your back, Goldie would be on that table in a flash. Mina never picked up that bad habit, thankfully.

Mina did, however, enjoy the fruits of Goldie’s labors during the near-daily raids of the kitchen trash can. It took us moving to Denver in 1999 for my sister to figure out that it wasn’t the taller Mina knocking over the heavy, covered bin, but clever little Goldie. She knocked it down, then she and Mina scattered trash from one end of the kitchen and dining room to the other. They must’ve spent hours picking through the trash to find any leftover food bits.

Life with Mina as a puppy was fun and hard work. She chewed everything – my niece’s toys, tablecloths left on the floor by the washer, she ripped holes in my comforter and pulled out all the stuffing, she gnawed on the seat belt receptacle in my car, and she loved Crayola Crayons.

I replaced boxes of crayons quite often. I guess they’re tasty, because Mina’s poop was often brightly multi-colored. Then there was the time my sister took her for a walk and looked down to pick up the poop, and saw a little plastic hand sticking out of it.

Once, while I was walking down the stairs from the third floor, Mina tried to speed past me but, instead, ran between my legs. I missed the last three steps and had a nasty sprained ankle. I screamed, she ran over and looked at me, then ran off to play with Goldie. She finally came back for a real apology when I had an ice pack wrapped around my ankle.

OK, you’re probably bored with this stuff, so I’ll try to remember more stories later on. I’m also gathering all the photos I can find of Mina to make an online gallery of her throughout her life. That may take a while as I need access to a scanner.

Mina was love, joy, beauty, and light. My life is much darker and sadder now that she’s gone.