We had this portrait taken on August 23, 2008. Mina was due for a summer shave but I put it off until after the Lil Pals portrait studio rolled into our apartment complex. Mina was one of only a few dogs who took advantage of the mobile pet portrait studio that day, and I’ve been so glad we did it ever since.

I think Mina’s sitting was a lesson for the photographers. They let Mina come in and sniff around the place, they showed her all sorts of squeaky toys and bells and other playthings, then they took off her collar.

Big mistake.

Mina gets nervous and suspicious when her collar is removed. She knows it means a bath is coming or maybe something even worse, a full grooming! I told the photographer that if she wanted any cooperation from Mina she’d have to put her collar back on.

The photographer ignored me.

Mina did exactly as I knew she would – she didn’t cooperate. The photographer and her assistant would lure Mina onto the bench with a squeaky toy, but Mina would slide off as soon as they turned their backs. This went on for several minutes as I stood by, very amused, until the photographer sighed, looked at me and said: “Please put her collar back on.”

It’s like magic. Mina didn’t give them all the goofy poses they wanted, but she did sit for several takes. But, it was all over when they tried to change the setting to a fake beach. I had no interest in all the silly backgrounds and set ups they had, so I let Mina do her thing for a couple of tries and then I called a stop to the session.

I got exactly what I wanted – a gorgeous photo of the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen (of any species) on a plain black set to show off her blonde and black and white and tan colors. See?

August 23, 2008 Photo: Lil Pals Studio

You can see larger versions on Flickr.

As for me, I have, as Sue said, “good moments and bad moments.” Yesterday was one long, bad moment. I dunno what today will be like and I just take it as it comes now. Grief is a process, I know this, and I will give my grief its time without rushing it or trying to stifle it. I miss Mina desperately. I still wake up in the middle of the night to check on her and I still turn on the light and walk out into the living room. I know she’s not there, but I still go through the motions. I don’t know why. Coming home is worse than awful, waking up without her is heartbreaking. That’s how it is, period.