Friday, 13 September 2013

Mini the wonderdog - rest in peace little bear

19/2/2004 - 9/9/2013

Early this week I lost my best friend and constant companion of approx 5 years, Mini the beautiful brush coat Shar Pei. I was adopted by Mini in 2009 at the time she was in the care of SPR (Shar Pei rescue inc.) A wonderful group of volunteers who I have had the great fortune to get to know and many I can call amongst my friends.

It truly was love at first sight. She was a little chunky, ok she was fat. She was not in the best condition, her eye surgery had just been done sutures like fake eye lashes were sticking out at odd angles, her nasal nares were healing too. Her fur was a sun-bleached from being an outside dog, never the less she was beautiful. At our first meeting she sat on the leather ottoman, something she was not supposed to do and raised her paw to me to introduce herself. With that Mini had my heart there and then, I was utterly besotted I have loved her from that moment and will always love her.

She was a dog that looked like a bear-hippo-wombat-dugong who bounced down the stairs like a bunny. Who stood at the top of the landing with the stance of a little bull and had the stubbornness to match. Mini had strange little quirks, she would refuse to walk through puddles but think nothing of rolling in wet grass. She was cheeky, nimble as a Ninja and just as silent when it came to the art of stealing delicious soft goats cheese and other forbidden snacks. She was equally well versed in the art of manipulation and had the gifts of a great actress when it came to the charade of innocence when caught. Further her skills as a master manipulator were legendary, her ability to con treats and cuddles out of anyone were legendary.

Maiphatlayde Mini Dee was her full name, or Mini for short, when she was in trouble, Mini Dee. Also know as Little bear, Lumpkin, smelly bear, stinky, fattie, Squishkin, Poopie, Peanut, angel bear, Miss Moo, Moopy, Princess, Hippo-bear, fluffy-bum, puppy, beautiful girl, Madam, moocher and Mini the wonderdog. Whatever the title she was my constant companion, partner in crime, sandwich stealer, cheese and mooncake thief. Snorer, slobber monster, shedder of fur, destroyer of dental splints, air pollution expert with an ability to clear a room in record time. Also she had appeared television and online, been in photoshoots and in print, she was an artist’s muse too. She was a hard working office assistant, studio manager, supervisor, greeter, who napped on couture gowns and had very expensive taste in fabrics.

Mini was more than a dog to me, she never displayed any dog-like behavior, more of a short person in a fur coat. Never fetching a stick or showing any interest in “doggie pursuits”, rather preferring to watch, supervise and generally be the boss of the show. Any trips to the dog park would involve me playing with “real” dogs and Mini hanging out with the other dog owners hustling pats and treats, watching her human utterly embarrass and mortify her.

Recently Mini had a few health problems, nothing that I thought could not be fixed with trips to the vet, good care and love. After all she was 9 1/2 and in great condition for a breed notorious for it's unique and very varied health problems. She was her ideal weight, sleek, healthy, the glossiness of her coat was a source of comment. I was so proud of her and would always let her have the pats and attention from strangers who thought as I did that she was gorgeous.

Last week I arrived home to find her having breathing problems; a rushed trip to the vet was to initially settle it and make her comfortable. The follow up the next day was to investigate further; a lump was found in the throat close to her tonsils and removed. It was sent for testing and the diagnosis was that of Lymphoma. Armed with statics and information, I liked the odds of remission and decided to go down the path of chemotherapy. We attended our first session on Friday, despite the breeds’ terrible veins, it when well, Mini seemed good. No nausea, she was a little tired but nothing that wasn’t expected. Mini was unimpressed with the shaved spots on her beautiful coat but the numerous pats and liver treats from the vet seemed to satisfy her. She was tired on Saturday morning, but otherwise fine enjoying her food and little trip to the park, same again Sunday. Sunday evening she had a lovely dinner of roast chicken which she thoroughly enjoyed, plus my sister had made her some salmon treats – all was good in Mini’s world yummy food, she’d had lots of attention, got to go to the dog park that day to sit in the sun and roll on the warm grass. I tucked her into bed and she fell asleep, she was snoring content and happy. 

Early Monday morning was when it all changed. She woke and just could not settle back down. Her breathing was getting worse & she couldn’t find a comfortable position to sleep, I sat with her holding her head and propping up her up with pillows, she would sleep for a bit. Then it would get too much and the awful ragged breathing would start again. Just before dawn I knew it was time to let her go, her breathing was laboured, she was floppy, she was so, so tired. My beautiful girl was put to sleep that morning, her breathing slowed and she was gone. I held her for the last time and said my goodbyes. I stayed until she lost the warmth in her body.

So now my house is strangely empty and quiet, there is no sound snoring or click of her nails on the floorboards. I expect to hear her or see her barreling through the dog door. When fireworks are set off I know I will miss her attempts to protect me from the noise by barking at the ceiling. Artwork  and drawings can now lie drying on the floor without out my little critic sitting on the pieces she does not approve of. I can eat toast in peace, I don’t have to check myself when I leave the house for a snail trail of drool on my pant legs.  My floor will be missing the tumbleweeds her shedding fur, my walls will be free of slobber and I can use white bed linens again with not fear of dribble and weird stains. I can go to the bathroom unsupervised and not have a nose force the door open; I am loath to clean the smudge mark her nose made off the door.

I know for me, my life without a dog is not complete; no doubt I will get another furry companion. Whoever that is will be loved and will help heal the raw void that Mini's passing has left but there is a place always in my heart for my little girl. I am grieving for the loss of my companion; I miss her noises and her presence, the gentle nudging of her substantial snout, the poke with her paw, her soft little ears, our cuddles, her purrs and disapproving grunts. The morning sneeze in my face which served as her way of greeting, her sweaty tummy, the slight corn chip smell of her paws, I miss it all. The weight and warmth of her next to me, the rhythmic sound of her breathing and snores that I have grown accustomed to.

I am blessed to have the time I have had with such an amazing creature. She really did have a full and rich life, I tell myself this to console myself as I need something, it hurts.

I miss her, I miss her so much it aches.

Mini, adored and adorable, always and forever loved

Rest in Peace my little bear I love you



  1. What a beautiful tribute to your companion-muse and what a lovely bear of a dog Mini sounds. And what a wonderful life you gave Mini! Make sure you look after yourself while you grieve. All the best x

  2. Wow. Just wound up here from Pinterest and magically went to the blog about your darling Mini. Even if I hadn't just lost one of my dear rescues/companions, I would have been just as moved. I'm not one to comment normally, but your writing inspired me to do just that. I hope by now you have another deserving, loving soul in your life, as this post is nearly a year old now. Mini was brought to life through your words. I see that was one of the last posts, but I hope you continue writing somewhere else. You have a talent for it, and I would gladly read anything you wrote if it was set forth with the same heart and skill as your heartfelt eulogy. By the way...I also have many nicknames for my little darlings (as many people undoubtedly do), but two of them happen to be Wombat and Land Manatee (akin to your dugong :-) See ya on Pinterest!