2004-05, my happy girl with her "summer shave"

It’s impossible not to think of the last time I saw Mina when this day comes around. I always cry, I always berate myself for not being a better companion to her, for not saving her from the cancer. Then I look at her pictures and see her beautiful brown eyes and playful expressions and realize that Mina holds no grudges against me; she never did.

I still run into people who want to know when I’m going to adopt again. When I tell them I will never adopt another canine, they don’t seem to believe me. The difference is that now I don’t find that as frustrating as I once did. It’s their problem, not mine. I’m comfortable with my decision even if I’m still not comfortable living all by myself without Mina.

So, I was thinking about her a lot yesterday as I drove down to our vet’s office for the first time since the day after she died. I went to deliver some fliers for an event I’m planning and looked forward to seeing her vets. But, they weren’t there and the staff on hand didn’t know me so I dropped off my fliers and left. It didn’t make me sad to walk in there, it made me kinda glad that Mina never has to go to the vet again. I’m pretty sure heaven is full of veterinarians but I’m also sure they’re out of business.

Y’know what the genius is of canines? Their ability to live so companionably with humans. No other species has had much success living with us because we mostly kill and eat them or destroy their habitats so that they become extinct, but canines have figured it out. Mina’s genius was learning how to live with me, something no human has ever mastered. She took care of me for years and years and when it was my turn to take care of her, she made the transition easily while I struggled with learning to take care of a cancer patient. Mina is brilliant.

In a couple of weeks I’m driving down home again to visit my Dad. I hope Mina will ride along with me because this will be a much better trip than the one in December. I’m gonna stop at rest areas and greet any dogs who are stopping with their people because that’s what Mina would do, and I’m going to remember the feeling of her head on my shoulder as she catches the breeze from my open window …