Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Minnie's Story

We were looking for another dog.  One that was smaller and could stay in the house.  We researched different breeds.  I know many people like the "pretty" dogs, labs, collies and such.  I have always been drawn to the "ugly" and misfits.   As soon as Al showed me a picture of a Rat Terrier I was sold.  When we read about their traits and being an excellent "farm" dog, I liked the breed even more.  

We kept watching the newspaper, checking the shelters and rescues, but nothing.  We had kind of given up, then I saw a tiny ad in the shoppers guide.  I knew it was an Amish family by how the ad was written (usually, there is a community phone and you call and someone takes the message and they tell the party to call you back).  Anyway, when the lady returned my call she says "we only have 1 puppy left, a female and she is the runt of the liter."  I said, "we will take her."  "Are you sure, you haven't even seen her...."  I said, "yes, sounds just like what I'm looking for! (I love runts)."  

When I picked the girls up from school, I told them we were getting a puppy.  Oh, they were so happy.  We could hardly wait for Al to get home from work so we could go and pick her up.  

The Amish farm was in Greenwood, WI, about an hour from us.  When we pulled up to the old farm house, it was milking time and everyone was busy.  The wife invited us into the home, there was the sweetest dog, belly full of wiggly little teets...the mama....she came over and was licking us - super friendly.  Then we saw her....the tiniest puppy....hiding under the table.  She was very shy, but came out to be by her mama.  For me, it was Love at first sight!  We let her say good bye to her mama and inside my coat she went.  

As we drove away from that old farm house, we started thinking of names...Al came up with Minnie as she was tiny.  It stuck!  

Here is a picture of Minnie as a puppy and Anna in 1st grade.  Those two were almost inseparable.  Oh the "deals " that were made between Justine and Anna to see who could sleep with Minnie.  "If you let Minnie sleep with me this week...I will do (fill in the blank) for you next week."  Oh, how they would fight over that poor puppy.   Somehow, I don't remember, Anna ended up sleeping with her the most - like every night!  Probably because if Justine had Minnie in her room, Anna would lay outside her closed door peeking under it, begging to come in, sucking her thumb falling asleep.  Anna use to "lock" Minnie up in her room so she couldn't get away from her.  Minnie didn't seem to mind...

Minnie had a docked tail.  We had a big farm dog named Champ (this was Justine's dog) who had a long tail.  Oh how Minnie was jealous of it.  She would bite it, hang on like a tug toy and Champ would spin and run a bit - it was like a game.  We said, "Minnie has tail envy."  

Anna signed up for the dog project for 4-H.  She had an idea that she could show Minnie at the fair.  We had a wonderful dog leader who hosted weekly dog obedience classes at her home.  They went on for months.  Minnie, was such a terrier - she would take on the biggest dog at the classes - which, happen to be Rex, an Australian Shepherd, and the nicest dog there.  Minnie, also had "little dog syndrome" - she tried to act tough, but she really wasn't.  For some reason, she didn't like Rex - if she thought he was looking at her, she would growl and bark.  This didn't phase Rex at all, he ignored her for the most part.  

Minnie wasn't the best at the "sit and stay" so Anna never won good ribbons.  However, Anna didn't care, she was just having fun in the costume class.  

That is Rex behind her.  

It was at the fair we met another 4-Hr who had a male Rat Terrier, "Puppers."  We made arrangement for Minnie and him to "meet" the next year and have a liter up puppies.  Minnie decided to have her puppies when we were at Disney World in Florida.  My sister was watching her - it was a good thing too, I couldn't believe that I wasn't there to see it.  We decided to name the puppies after Disney characters.  

It was shortly after our trip to Disney that Anna started having some health problems.  It was a few months later that she was diagnosed with bladder cancer.   Anna was in treatment for a year.  Every Friday she had a chemo treatment with the 3rd Friday an overnight stay at the hospital - we called this the "bad one."  When we would return from her treatments - there Minnie would be.  She wouldn't leave Anna's side.  Laying for hours with Anna on the couch...she was the best comfort I could ask for.  What a good dog!  I loved her even more for that!  This was a bond that was unbreakable.  Anna needed Minnie and Minnie willingly gave of herself.  Even if Anna about drove her crazy and she did...Anna would kiss Minnie's head over and over and count how many kisses it took before she would get pissed and growl.  It was a 50 kisses...and Minnie had enough.  Anna loved to suck her thumb and rub Minnie's ears, smell her ears and rub her ears on her face.  I would say, "leave poor Minnie's ears alone" she would say, "I just can't mom, I love them."  Anna had broke her habit of thumb sucking by 5th grade, however, when she started the chemo treatments the thumb sucking started up again, but only during and after the treatment.  The thumb and Minnie's ears helped her cope.  

A few years later, we decided to breed her again as we wanted to keep 1 of her puppies.  We knew someone with a male Chihuahua, "Cinnamon", that we liked and so we invited him over for a weekend "visit."  It was during that visit, I caught Anna holding Minnie down....if you get my drift...I said, "what are you doing..?!?.."  She says, "I want to make sure she has puppies...."  Oh learn about the birds and bees in the most natural ways on a farm....  It worked and Minnie had a liter of puppies.  We picked out the 1 we wanted, the runt, we called her Dori.  Anna, however liked another puppy, Dolly.  Oh how she cried and cried when we said she couldn't keep 2 of them.  Well, as she always can, she worked her Dad into saying "yes" and we kept 2 puppies.  

We had Minnie, Dori and Dolly all spayed.  It was fun having the puppies, but I don't like the breeding...puppy mill thing...just me... 

Minnie was a chicken chaser, oh she loved it when we would say "go get em Minnie" she knew which rooster or hen to chase after.  When we had sheep that needed some exercise, we would tell Minnie to "go get them" and she would run those market lambs up and down the fence.  Minnie loved to jump - she would come in from outside and literally start to hop on the couch from about 8 feet way...somehow she landed it.  Minnie loved to smell...whenever we would go visit someone that had a dog, we would rub their fur all over our clothes...when we came home, Minnie would smell and smell...sticking her nose in fact right on our tickled and I LOVED it.  We would say "Minnie we were cheating on you..."  Minnie loved car rides.  For years, she was my daily companion back and forth to school for drop off and pick ups.  Sometimes, if you left the car door open, Minnie would hop in and wait to go somewhere...even if we weren't going.  I would trick her sometimes and drive over to my pole building and say "we are here..."  she would jump out like it was some new adventure...just to see we were still at home.  

Minnie was with us for over 15 years.  She had started getting senile and forgetful.  She could hardly see or hear.  One night this past summer, we let her out before bed.  Only Dolly came back to the door, we called and Minnie.  I thought well, this is "it" - we had to get a whistle and blow for her to hear us...she was behind the horse fence crying.  The more we yelled and blew the whistle, the more confused she got and started running toward the woods.  Good thing her leg got snagged up on some weeds and Al caught her before she got into the woods.  I had to keep a watchful eye on her every time she went outside.  We all knew she was not going to be with us for much longer...we gave her extra love, hugs and kisses, special treats and pampered her for months.  I had to do all I could to make her last days as comfortable as I could - I needed to return the favor to her - she took such good care of Anna when she was sick - how could I not do everything I could to make her end of life the best - I owed her that.

Minnie passed on Monday, November 9, 2015.  I hesitated writing this post, because it was sad...and I don't like extra attention "oh, we are so sorry..." type things.  Obviously, when someone's pet passes we are sorry.  So, please don't leave a comment...instead, I would rather you look at your pet with a new appreciation and give them an extra hug and kiss.  Pets are more than just animals - they are a special gifts we should treasure even after they are gone.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

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