Friday, July 13, 2012


Mimi was the one, if ever a dog could be "the one."

I knew she was the one the night I dreamed about her. Before we got her, before we met her, before I even saw her, I dreamed about a black and white puppy.

In my dream, this black and white puppy became mine. We were running around in a field of tall grass, golden light from the setting sun falling around us. Almost like heaven, if you imagine it that way.

When I woke up, I knew this black and white puppy had been Mimi, a dog looking for a good home according to a hand-written note posted at PetCo. And after we drove out to meet Mimi, that dream came true.

[Mimi, her first mom and sister Dottie before we adopted her.]

Mimi was the dog I had been waiting so long to get. And after begging for what my parents must have determined was a sufficient amount of time, they finally agreed to let me get a puppy in 8th grade.

After a brief search, we settled on the shy and skittish, yet extremely sweet Mimi Marie. She, along with her brother and sister, had been abandoned in a back yard, following who knows what kind of abuse. She was afraid of everything, including us, but with consistent love and care she became happy and brave.

[Mimi and I enjoying the lush St. Augustine grass in our back yard in Dallas, TX, shortly after we adopted her.]

Looking back, it seems like Mimi was always there. I don't really remember what my life was like before she was in it. She was always there, being her sweet, peaceful self. She was smart and beautiful; everyone always said, "What a pretty dog!" We always believed she was part Dalmatian, part Terrier, but we never knew for sure.

I remember taking her for walks by the lake, trying to put her in clothes or tie bandanas to her collar. I remember when we taught her to play dead when we held our fingers like a gun and said "bang!" I remember how she lived in my room in our house in Dallas with her crate at the end of my bed. I remember how she used to hide under tables and growl at strangers in our home. I remember when we taught her how to say "I love you," and it actually sounded like it. I remember when she got into a fight with a Husky who was twice her size and she didn't back down once. I remember how she was just as traumatized by our move to Michigan as I was, because she kept going to the bathroom in our basement.

Mimi was so special, so full of personality, and yet she was just like every other dog. She was always so excited to see you, even if you had only been out of sight for two minutes. She loved to eat random things she could find, either outside or on the kitchen floor. She loved chasing bunnies and squirrels and even tried to eat a baby bird once. She sometimes didn't listen and she shed like crazy. She loved to lay in the sunshine. She always got so excited when the doorbell rang. And she used to come over and sit on my knee whenever I sat on the floor.

Even though Mimi was technically my dog, she loved my mom the most. Nothing but my mom's high-pitched "puppy voice" could get her to wiggle uncontrollably and hop around with excitement. She was mostly terrified of my dad, which was the way it should always be with dogs and dads. Just one look from him and she knew she'd better get back in the kitchen. She loved my brother all his life and probably thought he was just another puppy for a while. The two would wrestle and play on the floor until my mom put a stop to it, saying, "She'll scratch your eye out!"

The truth is, I was the one that was around the least in her life. I left for college after a few years, then later moved to Denver. I sometimes wondered if she would forget who I was. But once we were reunited, we both knew the other one had never forgotten us.

I always knew that the day would come when Mimi wouldn't be with us, but I always pretended it wouldn't come. Sometimes I'd wonder, "What will I do when she dies or has to be put to sleep?" But as soon as I'd think it, I'd push the thought out of my mind. I said I'd face it when the time came.

Well, that time has come. And the truth is, I still don't want to face it. I don't want to face the fact that she won't be there, cold black nose, deep brown eyes, wagging tail. I don't want to face the fact that tomorrow she'll stop being part of our family. That there won't be any "Deewee" (my brother's first pronunciation of Mimi), or "Meeskers," "Weeskers" or "Puppy."

Life, tomorrow, will be a little more empty, a little more lonely, a little more cold. It will be missing a piece that can't ever be replaced, just as it is every time someone we love dies. And even though life will go on, there will be other pets and other adventures, Mimi will never be replaced or forgotten.

Mimi, we'll love you forever. And if dogs can go to heaven, I sure hope you'll be there, running through a field of tall grass, wrapped in golden sunlight.


john mcclung said...

Stop. Making. Me. Cry.
Mimi will be missed.

camille nicole said...

Oh girl.
My parents just put our dog down and I know exactly how you feel. Even though I'm halfway across the world, I still feel sad knowing that he isn't in it anymore.
Praying for you.

Molly said...

Elise, so sorry to read about your loss. I remember being in Texas on a playground with my class of Toddlers when my parents called to tell me they had to put down Andy. I'm glad you are close to your family as you say goodbye together.

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