It was the spring of 2000 when we made the decision to get a puppy. We had always had cats but now that we lived in a house with a yard we thought it might be nice to have a dog too.
As we stood looking at the group of puppies excitedly bouncing around us the farmer asked if we preferred a long haired or short haired one. Their mom was a husky/collie cross and their father was a german shepherd. The pups were all very different.
‘Long haired’ I answered. I envisioned the dog spending much of its time outdoors and I felt a thick coat would help protect it from harsh weather. It wasn’t long before I realized that this wouldn’t happen. Mindy was rarely outside unless we were outside – she was always with us.
When she first joined our family she wasn’t much bigger than our cats.
She quickly became part of all our daily activities and she loved all the attention she got from the children who attended my childcare home;
She was never particularly fond of the parents who kept coming and taking her children away – she was very protective of her pack and even shared her toys with toddlers;
“Let’s go give Mindy a treat” was the cure-all for any child who experienced separation anxiety. The chewed door frames in the above picture were a result of Mindy’s separation anxiety when we tried to leave her home alone.
Although often still referred to as ‘The Puppy” she was really quite old. She had cataracts which limited her vision. Two years ago she lost her hearing. Long walks were impossible – some days even short ones were hard for her. Last winter we had to keep going outside to rescue her – she could go down the stairs but then couldn’t get back up.
For the last few years she has had limited interaction with the younger children. She still enjoyed their company but she was easily startled because she couldn’t hear them coming. The sunroom was her space where she could get uninterrupted rest but she could also come to the gate to visit the children when she chose to.
Last evening we took her for her final car ride. She had spent the last few days visiting her favourite parks and eating some very special meals. We had planned a family walk with her in the field across from the vet clinic but she didn’t have the strength. We carried her in to the office.
I though I was prepared but saying good-bye was harder than I anticipated. The silence that greeted me when I came downstairs this morning was worse. We’ll miss you Mindy.
April 15, 2000 – October 29, 2014