Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Mina Show: Need and Growing Old


Mina needs me like a fish needs water.

This is not my ego piping up. It is simple fact.

I do not think I was the first person to ever show Mina love and a kind touch. I like to think this, because the alternative is unbearable - three long years as a breeding machine without any human kindness. That is unconscionable. So I believe that someone liked her enough to rub the space between her eyes, to scratch the arch of her neck.

In recent years, Mina's need of me has grown, almost exponentially. Her faculties, on the other hand, have declined. She will sometimes race from room to room, panicked nails clicking on wooden floors. She will investigate every nook and cranny, confused as to my "sudden departure". Finally, she will pop her head into the spare room (the office) and find me typing away. Her body will relax, she will hop up on the sofa, and curl up into a Mina-donut.

There are times when I find this comical. Mostly I am filled with great sadness and a strong, fervent desire to hold Mina close to my heart so that our breaths co-mingle and we are deeply connected. She does not care for this, so I do not do it.

Mina is approaching her 15th birthday, 12 of them spent alongside me and 6 with Celeste.

Because I am human and can ponder the future, I will sometimes find myself imagining life without Mina. The space she occupies in my heart is egregiously large, painfully so. It is a tangible thing that presses against arteries and veins, pinches nerves. The absence of her is virtually unimaginable, but I try to fathom it anyways.

I don't know the why of my relationship with Mina. It is different than my bond with Celeste. It is even different than the friendship I shared with my first dog, Juju (who Mina slept next to for one night). It is different than my relationship with most people, because it is a sure, certain thing. There is no doubt, no fear of a friendship ending with Mina. Whatever our relationship isn't, it IS unconditional. She forgives me my impatience and sudden bursts of anger. I forgive her her sassy fence fighting and unyielding stubbornness.

When I look into her amber eyes, I see someone looking back. Someone who is trying to comprehend me in perhaps the same way I her. Someone who gets jealous and angry and can be ugly. Someone who gives so much love and hopes for a little in return. Someone who loves to sniff a blade of grass for fifteen minutes longer than any rational dog should. Someone who can't race around the backyard with her sister, but who will still play bitey-face in the morning.

Someone who curls up next to me and sighs the sigh of someone who has come home.

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