Yesterday’s event at Barrel Oak Winery to honor my beloved Mina and raise funds for Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary was pretty cool.

The weather worked against us with icy conditions early in the morning and rain and fog the rest of the day. But, most of the people who came to the winery and bought wine were there because of Mina and the Sanctuary and I’m very grateful for all the support. There were people from where I live at Masons Keepe, colleagues and friends from where I work, one of Mina’s vets, our friends from Chow Now Pet Food, a friend from Houston who flew in for the weekend, Sanctuary volunteers, and many friends of friends whom we’ve never met.

Mina at BOW, August 2009

Mina’s Auntie Sue and I baked yummy vegan cookies and Uncle Robin brought the awesome, huge tip jar. I brought the 5×7 photo frame collage of Mina at the sanctuary (with photos by Deb) and Mina at BOW early in September. I included a photo of Mina at two months because most people who know Mina have never seen her puppy pictures. Deb also brought brochures from the sanctuary, we had flyers on the wine bar and all the tables and we were ready for 2 p.m.

The big surprise came when I learned from one of the staff that Brian (he and his lovely wife Sharon own BOW) decided to donate 10 percent of sales from all wines sold to the sanctuary. I am grateful for the generosity of Brian, Sharon and BOW in helping to remember Mina in a way that helps other non-human animals. They’re really building a community of caring people at BOW and that’s a great idea.

Everyone seemed to have a good time, lots of cookies disappeared, a few tears were shed, and we made $338 for the sanctuary! Terry is going to give me a current number on donations to the Web site but it looks like Mina has raised about $800, so far, to help her fellow non-human animals at Poplar Spring!

LET’S DO MORE. Please, if you haven’t already donated, visit Poplar Spring’s Web site and click on the “Donate Now” button and make a donation in Mina’s honor. Mina gave me love and joy and security and peace and I want to work to help other non-human animals who weren’t as fortunate as Mina.

Friends have said that Mina was lucky to have me in her life. Truth be told, I am the lucky one because Mina loved me perfectly and unconditionally and that’s a love that will stay with me forever.

Thanks again to everyone who helped get this little event together, to everyone who’s donated to the sanctuary, to everyone who came to BOW yesterday, and to everyone who couldn’t be there in person but joined us in spirit. I am so grateful for all of you.

Mina baby, you are so loved and you will never be forgotten

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Mina is frisky! She’s walking with a little bounce in her step, head held high, barking saucily at anyone she pleases, having a good time. She’s just her normal, old self on non-Prednisone days, and it’s wonderful to see her enjoying life again.

Mina on vacation at Grandpa's in October 2007

Mina on vacation at Grandpa's in October 2007

However, we have chemo tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at VIMP. It’s the Vincristine, again. Remember that experience? This time if it makes her violently ill we’ll know it’s definitely the drug, not the cancer. I have no doubt in my mind that the Vincristine made her sick the last time she had it, but her cancer vets seem to have a few doubts. They should learn to trust me because I know Mina as well as I know myself.

We also get to meet Carole from Chow Now Petfood sometime tomorrow to pick up more lamb Chow Now. She is so understanding about my ethics, because she does share them, and told me that the lambs are never slaughtered before they’re a year old and they spend that year living peacefully. OK, so that doesn’t really work for me because they’re too young to die so Carole told me that the lambs they buy for Chow Now are spared going to auction where they’d not get much, if any, humane treatment. Colleen reminded me the other day that I can’t hold it against Mina and the other canines of the world because they’re carnivores.

My goal this week is to keep her on the Chow Now and Metoclopramide to try and prevent the raging vomiting. I know it will bring her down physically, but I hope it doesn’t last more than three or four days. We’ll see.

s.

Mina and I are grateful for your help and can’t thank you enough!

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s.

Yesterday was certainly a good day here in the cancer ward. Sherrie reported that Mina was bright and perky and trotted some on their walk and hoovered up her food in seconds. Lori reported that Mina was napping when she arrived and stretched at the door for a bit. She also told me that when she opened the fridge to give Mina some boiled chicken for a snack, that Mina immediately stood at her bowls.

Asia said that when she opened the door to our apartment, Mina stuck her nose out and Asia then gently pushed her back inside. She turned to get Mina’s carpal brace and found that Mina had sat down with her leg outstretched, ready to get outside and pee!

When I got home she was bouncy and we took a nice walk to the leasing office, where she got more attention from Lori, and walked there again later in the evening. She ate like a horse. I fed her three times after I got home! Cooked two cartons of Chow Now and I’ll need to cook two more tonight. Where can I get organic, instant potatoes?

Oh! I have to say a big THANK YOU to Sherrie who’s going to make some homemade biscuits for Miss Mina Bean. She texted me some of the recipes last night and I told her the fattier, the better. I hadn’t considered making my own Mina treats but I’ll look for some recipes later on.

Mina is up to the full dose of Udo’s 3,6,9 oil and two teaspoons of Udo’s Pet Essentials supplement. She doesn’t seem to mind it on her food at all. I just wish she would gain some weight. She doesn’t appear to be losing any, at least not to my eyes, but I’m not seeing a gain, either.

Only two days to chemo …

s.

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That is the whole of my freezer. The frozen organic peas, frozen loaf of multi-grain organic bread, Earth Balance margarine, tempeh tucked behind it, and leftover WFM pizza in foil are mine. The rest is Mina’s stock of chicken Chow Now Petfood.

I have to cook more of it tonight so I’m saving my last beer until then. Sam Adams Light and wine donations gratefully accepted.

She LOVES the sweet potatoes I made for her today. Oh! and she’s scent-marking again which I think means she’s gaining muscle control back. It could be something else but I’m going with the positive aspect – for once.

s.

So … Mina is just about off the boiled dead chickens. I put only a tablespoon in her breakfast of mashed potatoes, chicken Chow Now, Udo’s Choice Pet Essentials, and Udo’s Choice 3, 6, 9 Oil. I don’t plan to give her any more boiled dead chickens after today so the remainder will go downstairs to my neighbor’s dog, Turk. He really likes Mina, but right now she can’t handle much enthusiastic behavior from her friends. A nuzzle and a little sniffing is Mina’s speed at the moment.

I still have to cook the chicken Chow Now, but I no longer have to dismember chickens and skin them in my kitchen. You have no idea what a huge relief that is for me. The Chow Now stinks while it’s cooking but a stick of incense gets rid of the stink. Mina seems to love it.

Today, we’re going to boil and mash some gigantic sweet potatoes for her carbohydrate needs, and we’re also driving out to ECOW in Amissville, Virginia to pick up a case of chicken Chow Now. I’ve cleaned out my freezer and moved things around but still not sure how I’ll store 24 16-ounce cartons of it. I may have to beg some freezer space from a neighbor for a while.

I read about prednisone side effects this morning to see if there’s a reason that Mina is drinking a bit less water the last couple of days. She’s peeing less, too. Maybe that’s because I’ve been home for four days and she gets to go out a lot, but her next chemo treatment is highly toxic (you can’t even touch the pills with your hands) and she needs lots of water to avoid cystitis.

The tile entryway is her new favorite spot to nap.

The tile entryway is her new favorite spot to nap.

Then I found a very cool Web site written by two parents whose beloved Golden Retriever, Berry, was a lymphosarcoma patient. I’ve added it to the links over on the side. They wrote a little book titled, ” Every Day is a Good Day: Berry The Dog’s Guide to Living with Lymphosarcoma.” I’m on the second chapter, “Surviving the first month of treatment.” It’s some scary shit, but the treatment of lymphoma in dogs has changed tremendously in the nine years since Berry was diagnosed. The interesting part for me is that Berry had the same diagnosis as Mina, including cancer in the bone marrow.

So far, KNOCK WOOD PEOPLE, Mina hasn’t shown any side effects from the Vincristine. She’s still eating enough for three Wheaties every day, and drinking a fair amount of water. She rests a lot so I think the lethargy side effect is present but, even so, we took two walks yesterday to the leasing office and back. She was bright, alert and sniffing all over the place during the walks.

s.

We took a good walk this morning, the best in a couple of days – all the way around the complex. Here’s Mina standing in front of the leasing office, wondering why Lori isn’t there to scratch her butt.

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We’re off to ECOW today for an entire case of chicken Chow Now Petfood. She’s nearly off the chicken carcass. I still have to cook the chicken Chow Now, but I don’t have to dismember any corpses.

s.