Mina’s Auntie Sue told me yesterday morning that she and Uncle Robin made a special donation in honor of Mina. Auntie Sue contacted the The Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University to find out about making a donation. Sue’s dad, a retired veterinarian who met Mina a couple of years ago during a visit, graduated from Cornell’s veterinary medicine school.

Here’s the letter she got when she inquired about donating in memory of my precious baby girl:

Dear Ms. W.,

Please accept my sympathy at the loss of your friend’s beloved companion. The Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research at the College of Veterinary Medicine is devoted to researching the cause, prevention and treatment of numerous cancers in all species, including canine lymphoma. I believe that a gift to the Sprecher Institute will be a meaningful memorial to Mina.

You may make a gift payable to Cornell University and enclose instructions designating the gift for the Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research in memory of Mina. If you include your friend’s name and address, we will be pleased to notify them of your gift. You may mail your gift to:

Office of Alumni Affairs and Development
College of Veterinary Medicine
Box 39
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

You may also make your gift online at the following Web site by clicking on the “Give Now” link and choosing Sprecher Cancer Institute from the drop-down menu under College of Veterinary Medicine. If you choose this method, please e-mail me with the name and address of your friends so that we can acknowledge your gift to them.

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/gifts/

I hope this information is helpful and please contact me with any further questions. Thank you for remembering Mina through a gift to the College of Veterinary Medicine. Our work is driven by the hope that someday we will be able to prevent and cure cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Sincerely yours,

Kevin Mahaney
607.253.3779

Sue and I both cried in my office when she gave me the news. I spent some time reading about the program and learned that some dogs get cancers that are resistant to chemotherapy, just like my Mina. Every day I ask “WHY MINA?”

I also found some useful information that Sue also used when her beloved Ariadne died of a long illness. The vet school maintains a pet loss support hotline and I now carry the number with me in case I need to call them some evening. I realize that my friends can’t carry the burden of counseling me in my grief over many months, so it’s good to know I can bother strangers with it.

There’s also some interesting information about the stages of grief that I’ll keep checking to make sure I’m not in any danger. So far, I wake up every day feeling like I’m living some alternate life, wondering how this happened to my Mina, and desperately wanting her to come home. It still just doesn’t seem real.

If you’d prefer to make a donation to Cornell in honor of my Mina, that would be wonderful. You can also donate to Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in her memory.

s.

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Yesterday was a very long, very sorrowful, very difficult day for me. I cried a lot. I left a meeting at work because I could feel the pain of Mina’s loss welling inside and I sobbed for nearly a half an hour. I went home to my empty, echoing apartment (it never used to echo) and tried to figure out what to do with myself. I visited the leasing office to pick up a package and felt out of place, out of time.

The package was a gift from my friends Dawn and Greg, a book about grieving for our lost non-human animal friends. I found some nice poetry in it, including one by Mark Twain written for his daughter’s funeral. I’ve always found this short poem very touching and now, very appropriate for Mina:

Warm summer sun,
Shine kindly here,
Warm southern wind,
Blow softly here.
Green sod above,
Lie light, lie light.
Good night, dear heart,
Good night, good night.

It makes me cry. I know the book will make me cry, too, so I’ll put it aside until I’m feeling stronger. Right now, everything feels wrong and I find myself crying out loud for Mina and asking “WHY?” I keep hoping to see her when I turn on the light every morning. I want nothing so much as to take her for a walk. Mina loved walks. She loved being outside. She loved snow and sunshine and cool days and meeting her human and canine friends and playing, when she was younger. I hope she’s enjoying in heaven all the things she loves.

My friend Sue saw Mina in a dream Sunday night/Monday morning. They went for a walk out at Sue and Robin’s house. Mina was very happy, very healthy, full of life and love. I think she was trying to let Auntie Sue know that she’s happy, at peace, and enjoying herself.

I have not had any dreams about Mina. One of my friends believes this is because right now, while I still haven’t come to terms fully with her death, that it would hurt more than help me. So perhaps Mina was letting Auntie Sue know that she was OK so that Auntie Sue would tell me.

Today, I have to be in a class all day (tomorrow, too). I won’t get home until after 6 p.m. For now, it’s OK not to spend a lot of time in the apartment but I’m hoping that some day I’ll feel comforted being in the home where Mina and I lived and were happy for three and half years. I went through a stack of photos last night trying to figure out the year they were taken and where we were living at the time. I think I did a pretty good job. There must be more, somewhere, because the years 2002-2004 are missing. I’m positive I took pictures of Mina during those years as she was about the only person I ever photographed! I just don’t know where they are at the moment.

And, I don’t know what this post is about, really. I have trouble thinking clearly and I feel like I’m walking in fog all the time. All I want, all I want in this whole world is for Mina to put her paw on my arm and kiss away my tears.

s.