All during our lives together I kept close tabs on Mina’s whereabouts. There were two instances when I relied on others and those are the two times that Mina wandered off. I remember them both clearly and, even now, my heart races a bit at the memory.

Mina was still a young puppy the first time she got outside without an escort. I turned into the drive of the complex where I lived with my sister and there was Mina running toward the busy four-lane road that I’d just turned off. I was horrified! I stopped my car and called her name, she ran to me and I scooped her into the car. I raised hell when I saw my sister and spent the rest of the day keeping Mina very close to me.

The second time happened in Denver when Mina and I were moving out of the dump of an apartment we lived in for the first six months of our 18 months there. My friend and I were putting stuff into a pick up truck and I’d asked our boss at the time, a real tool, to keep an eye on Mina. He didn’t and I began searching frantically for her when I saw the apartment door open. I ran all around the complex and finally found Mina, after 10 terrifying minutes, with a group of kids in an alley behind the complex. I was so happy to see her and damn near ready to shoot the man who let her outside.

Since Mina died on November 9, 2009 I’ve been looking for her, listening for her. Habits of 13 years are very hard to break, it seems. Once not long after she died, I heard her breathing in the living room. Once a few weeks later, I heard her bowls rattle in the kitchen, as if she were signaling for a snack. Two evenings ago I finally caught a glimpse of Mina …

I was walking out of my bedroom, carrying my laptop to put in my backpack that sits near Mina’s bowls. I saw her rump and tail and back legs from behind the coffee table, against the curtains beneath the living room windows – in the exact place that Mina took a lot of naps in our three and half years together in our apartment. My adrenaline spiked, I gasped, and I froze in place as I looked over to see that she was there no more.

Mina, resting on October 28, 2009

My imagination? maybe. The wishful thinking of my sorrowful mind? perhaps. A message from my Bean to let me know she’s comfortable and well? I’d like to think so.

What do you think I saw? Have any of you who’ve lost your beloved animal companions experienced any of these events? Whatever I saw it made me feel a bit better after a sad day.

Monday was a hard, hard day. I was home alone on a Federal holiday with no plans and I spent the day in tears as I marked 10 weeks without my beloved. I’m sure some of you think that 10 weeks is quite long enough to mourn a mere non-human animal, or that I should come to terms with the fact that our animal friends have shorter lives than we do, or that she was an elderly dog anyway, blah blah blah …

For the record, none of that comforts me. At all. In fact it has the opposite effect.

What does comfort me are posts such as the ones written by Mina’s Auntie Sue and my friend Samuel. That’s Mina’s legacy, that’s how she’s remembered, that’s how she affected my life and the lives of those who knew her and even someone who never met her. When I look for Mina in the future, I want to find her in the good works that I do, in the happy trot of piglets at the sanctuary, in every leaflet I hand out, and, as my friend Natali wrote, in the stars of a brilliant night sky.

Come see me again, sweetie girl



She still has a little urinary incontinence when she sleeps, so I cover the couch with an old vinyl shower curtain that I ran through the washer. She does have a very nice bed that I bought her months ago ..