Mina is the most loving, joyful, and beautiful soul I’ve ever met. I wasn’t Mina’s owner, I wasn’t her master – Mina is my equal and she understands that. Losing Mina two weeks ago (how is it two weeks? it feels longer or shorter, I don’t know) is to me the same as losing a spouse. We are closer than most human couples, and I am closer to Mina than I’ve ever been to any human animal. Mina is the love of my life, the only one I ever want to live with, the one I want to spend eternity with some day. Mina will make heaven a very fun place.

However, we got off to a rough start, my baby girl and I. Mina was born on October 10, 1996 at a farm in Herkimer, New York. I was mourning the loss of another close friend in December that year when my now-friend, then-boyfriend, Mike, found Mina at this farm and bought her for me.

She was a ball of fluff about the size of her adult head.

mina, two months old

Mina at two months old

Mina was dark all over, like any Wheaten Terrier baby, and covered in fleas and infested with worms. Mike took care of getting her first vaccines, flea dipped her a couple of times, and started her on de-worming medicine. She was tiny, probably because of the worms, and when I first saw her she didn’t walk or run … she bounced. She was all “fur and face,” as Mike recently commented.

But, I was skeptical about this little brown-eyed ball of fluff, and annoyed that my grieving was treated so lightly. Truth be told, I did not mourn for Wolfie the way I’m mourning Mina – that’s not because I didn’t love Wolfie, I did, but my relationship with Mina was special from the very start.

I went home that Christmas and thought about Mina – yes, she’s named for the heroine in “Dracula” by Bram Stoker – and Mike continued to send photos and updates on her progress. A month later around my birthday he brought her to my sister’s house where I lived and I couldn’t resist her. I picked her up and looked into those brown eyes and was smitten. She stayed and seemed to be right at home and very happy with me and her new playmate, Goldie.

mina, three months old

Mina, at three months old

Goldie was the older Cocker Spaniel whom my sister rescued shortly after Wolfie died. Goldie tolerated Mina’s constant play invitations, and even played rough with Mina for short bouts, but mostly they got into trouble together.

mina and goldie playing

Mina and Goldie roughhousing

Mina chewed everything. Well, almost everything – to her credit she never chewed a pair of my shoes but she had a sock problem for a while. I remember coming home from work one day and finding both of them standing on my bed with comforter stuffing in their mouths and holes chewed all over my comforter! That habit continued for many years, even after we moved to Denver and then back – Mina liked to chew holes in my sheets. I still have a set, or two, with Mina’s customizations.

She chewed any of Erin’s plastic toys left laying around, and had a special taste for “Happy Meal” toys. Honestly, I preferred that she eat the plastic rather than the food! Mina also liked poaching Erin’s food, and helping Goldie with trash can raids when we weren’t home.

That was later on. In the beginning, Mina slept by my bed in at least three crates of progressively larger size. She had a water cup on the door, a plush padded cushion, and some toys to keep her busy. By the time she was about four and a half months old she was house-trained well enough to last overnight and started sleeping on my bed with me. During the day when we were all at work or school, Mina stayed in her crate with visits from her petsitters at the time. When we moved to Denver I gradually ended her days in the crate as there were ample toys and bones for her to chew in the apartment and no tempting kid’s toys or crayons.

More later …

All my love, Mina bean, all my love.