It’s the first day of spring, girlie girl. You remember what that means? Yep, I sneeze and cough and complain about my itchy eyes every time we go outside. March is also windy – better pollen dispersal … up my nose! Sometimes it seems the pollen bothered you, too, as I’d find those little piles of yellow, foamy puke in various corners. And you’d lick your feet more in the spring than other times of the year, giving them their pinkish-brown color from the iron in your saliva. Your paws were that color for most of your life, until you started chemotherapy last April. I still find it remarkable that you died with four white paws.

I miss kissing your paws. You hated it when anyone touched your feet, always retracting the paw automatically, but sometimes you’d let me pet or kiss the tops of them. Were you just gritting your teeth and indulging me?

Last March on the first day of spring, we visited Stone Bridge at Manassas National Battlefield Park together. It was a nice, warm day and you’d been feeling bad for a few weeks and I hoped it would cheer you up. It certainly seemed to do just that, as I recall. So many new smells, a few people milling about, and you really wanted to climb down the rocks to Bull Run and sniff the water. But you weren’t in any shape to handle that sort of goat-like activity, so I had to hold you back. I’m not sure you understood it was for your own good.

Mina at the Stone Bridge, March 22, 2009

Wanna know a secret? I haven’t been to Stone Bridge since you and I were there on April 16, 2009. That’s the day you fell into a puddle of water and somehow got debris up your nose. I took you to the emergency vet that evening for a nosebleed and Dr. Smith found your enlarged lymph nodes. I drive by the bridge from time to time, but I don’t really look at it. I have walked through the Battlefield Park since you died, in fact I was there yesterday, but I doubt that I’ll ever walk to the Stone Bridge again. I hope your memories of those visits are sweet. I enjoyed taking you there, I loved watching you sniff every weed and flower and try to get closer to the water to smell it.

Mina avoiding the camera at Stone Bridge, March 22. 2009

There’d better not be any pollen in heaven. ‘Cause someday when we’re together, I want to walk with you on warm, spring days and not have to sneeze. I miss you my sweet Mina Bean. I’ll always miss you as much as I love you …