Mina in 2008

So here I am at the eighth month mark since Mina died and went to heaven. It seems like forever since I last kissed my sweet, furry girl’s face or rubbed her belly, and it seems like just yesterday that we were together. It’s all very odd. My friend Colleen, who lost her dear Tosca back in January, says we’re living without context. I think that’s accurate.


I do things and I talk to people but I spend so much time by myself since Mina left. There are pleasant distractions and some fairly awful distractions, but it all boils down to lots of hours spent in my own company. When Mina was with me she’d keep me honest by reminding me that she needed several walks every day and nudging my leg with her nose when I’d spent too much time on the computer. I always knew she was there even if I couldn’t see her or didn’t know where she was napping.

I did try to get out and walk around the property for a couple of months after Mina died, but it was a sad attempt to stay in touch with the people and canines we knew. Most avoided me because, I’m told, they didn’t know what to say to me, they didn’t want to face the truth that some day they’d be me. I called myself the “grief leper.”

So, this morning when we got to work at 7 a.m. I was suddenly reminded of last summer when Mina was in chemo and how I’d pick up Auntie Sue at the train station and she and I and Mina would drive in together. These were the late afternoon chemo days, so we had plenty of time to drive to and from the District. Mina would get to come inside and trot around the office and visit all the early arrivals. Some of my colleagues would come in especially early if they knew Mina was going to visit, just so they could meet her.

Mina at work, outside Auntie Sharon's office, August 2009

One of my colleagues had the most remarkable reaction to meeting Mina for the first time. She’d grown up without pets but learned to love the animals at the zoo and asked me every day about Mina’s condition. When Mina walked into her office for the first time, this lady grabbed Mina’s face in her hands and gave her a big smooch! To say I was surprised is an understatement. Another colleague who greeted Mina every time she visited the office was reminded of her visits when Auntie Sue’s Christmas jingle bell pin would ring in the hallways. He said it sounded like Mina’s tags jingling when she came to visit him.


Mina made a lasting impression on the people she met. Our neighbor had to take Turk, Mina’s buddy, to PWEVC a few weeks ago. There, she met Dr. Smith and told him that she and Turk were Mina’s friends. Dr. Smith told her that Mina was very special to him and that “Miss Bottner is the best dog mom I’ve ever met.”

And that, my friends, is how I want to be remembered.

Mina Bean, Mina Bean, prettiest girl I’ve ever seen …