I started this post over a week ago. Only now after a week of crying and sadness have I been able to finish writing this. I’m not going to sugar-coat it, it’s not a happy ending. It is however a sweet and funny story of the great love that we felt for our cheeky British Bulldog Minty. I wanted to share with you her story so that you don’t take your own family pet for granted, and to acknowledge our sweet girls presence on this earth. We were so privileged to know her and now this post is dedicated to you, Minty. RIP little girl! xo Your Family
I started this post over a week ago…
I love dogs. I always have! Since I was a kid I’ve pretty much always had a pet dog in my life. Growing up I was lucky enough to have lots of different pets, I also had a pet cat and a couple of pet budgies, but none of those ever came close to love and companionship that you feel with a pet pooch. That’s why when I took our current furry friend Minty to the Vet today I knew that I wasn’t going to cope all that well if they told me she was sick. And guess what. She is.
Minty, or ‘Minteesha Felicia Puppia Tokyo’ as she’s affectionately known around these parts is our family pet, and we’ve had her for about 5 years now. She’s a chunky, white pure-bred British Bulldog who looks like a barrel and acts like a tiny puppy the size of a Chihuahua. When we first met Minty, she was living with our dog breeder Lisa. We already had another bulldog at the time, Deirdre who had come to live with us a few years prior, so we already had a love for Bullies and their weird and wonderful ways. As soon as I laid eyes on the Mint Monster I was instantly besotted with her! She was a little weird looking, had yet to grow into her big boofy head and was clumsy! She was constantly running into things, much to our amusement.
When we first met Minty she was only six or seven months old and had already lived a colourful life. When she was born, she had a hole in her stomach and some of her internal organs were on the outside of her body. The Vet told our breeder that she probably wasn’t going to survive as she’d need a major operation to fix the problems and she was too small to live through it. Lisa, being the worlds biggest dog lover insisted that the Vet at least try the operation as there was no chance she’d live otherwise. Lo and behold, our little Minty was a fighter, and survived that operation against all odds. When she came out of the theater they’d wrapped her up in little white bandages, all rectangular and white like a little Mintie lolly in its wrapper. That was how she was christened with her name Minty and it’s stuck ever since.
When Mint was still a puppy, she struck more bad luck when she was run over by a car. Once again, despite her injuries Minty lived to see another day, albeit with a few more bumps and bruises and with a little less vision in one eye. When we heard her story, and the fact that she was needing a more permanent home, Trav and I just couldn’t say no. We agreed she’d be good company for Deidre and we were excited to have another fur baby become part of our family.
The day we went to collect her to bring her home, I sat down to pat her and she immediately hopped into my lap, all 21 kilo’s of her! She refused to budge, as though she’d decided that whether we liked it or not she was coming home with us! Her and Deirdre became fast friends. They got up to mishief all day long, and were spoilt rotten. They went through countless beds, toys and kennels and became quite good at destroying things. One night I awoke to a lot of noise outside. Was someone trying to break in? I turned on the light and found Deirdre and Minty ripping planks of wood off their brand new kennel. They’d pretty much dismantled the whole front side of the kennel with their teeth. I couldn’t believe it! They didn’t even stop when I yelled at them. This was after all their house, and their rules! Suffice to say that was the last kennel we ever bought them.
Sadly, Deidre passed away a few years ago of a suspected heart attack on a very hot day. She was my first baby, and it was heartbreaking to arrive home and find that she’d gone. I cried about it for weeks and still get a tear in my eye when I think of her. She was like our first child in many ways and taught us so many life lessons about unconditional love and responsibility. Even though we still had Minty to think about, both Trav and I found it hard to face Minty after Deidre died. The days after her passing both Trav and I found it hard to face Minty. She reminded us so much of our beloved Deeds, and we both struggled to sit and spend time with her when we missed her naughty sister so much. Minty took it all in her stride and just continued to be all naughty and cute, and eventually were realised that she was missing her big sister too, and that she needed us as much as we needed her.
Since Violet was born, Minty has become even more precious to us, as the relationship between the two of them has blossomed over time. Violet adores Minty and the two of them often get up to mischief when I’m not looking. Since Violet was a baby, Minty has watched over her and would always become distressed whenever Violet cried or got upset. If someone came to the door when it was just Violet and I at home alone Minty would become protective and bark at whoever was there. A few years earlier Minty had had a litter of pups herself and her old Mama instincts would kick in whenever Violet was around. Violet had taught Minty to be patient, tolerant and gentle, terms that I would never have used to describe Mint in the past!
As Violet grew older, the two of them grew closer. Minty is often subjected to all kinds of abuse from Violet, who insists on sitting on top of her, pulling her ears, putting her fingers in her mouth and one time she gave her an impromptu rectal exam. Poor Mint didn’t see it coming and Violet was bathed in hand sanitiser for weeks just to make sure! Despite all this, never once has Minty snapped at her, growled at her, or made any other notion that she’s annoyed by her human sisters invasive fingers. In fact, Mint seems to understand that this little person is her best friend and she would always reciprocate by giving her wet kisses and following her around the back yard like a shadow.
I think this is why, when I noticed Minty hasn’t been herself this weekend that I really worried. Minty wasn’t just our dog, she was our daughters companion and best friend and protector! Aside from that, she was also one of my babies. I made an appointment for her to see the vet first thing in the morning, and after a quick consultation the Vet told me exactly what I didn’t want to hear. Minty was sick. She needed surgery ASAP, and that surgery would be risky. I did my best not to start bawling on the spot. I thanked the Vet, booked the surgery and walked out of the Vet’s office.
As I sat in the car with Violet and Minty in the back, I couldn’t help but cry. I felt sad for Minty, and sad for myself, but most of all I felt sad for Violet. She was blissfully unaware that her puppy wasn’t well, and she’s too young to understand the complexities of losing a pet. I tried not to think about it, but I couldn’t help but feel miserable on the drive home. I tried to focus on the positives and tell myself everything would be fine. I hoped that it would be.
I finished this post one week later…
I wrote the first part of this post when I first worried that something was wrong with our beloved Mint. I didn’t admit it at the time, but now that she’s gone I can admit that I knew that things weren’t good. I had that familiar gut feeling that Mama’s get when you know that something is wrong. It doesn’t matter how much you try to ignore it, it’s still there.
After Minty’s initial surgery, the Vet had told us that despite her initial problems, that once he operated on her he found a multitude of other issues. Turned out, our Minty, who was acting cool like nothing was wrong, was actually far worse that we’d imagined. After a few days at the Vet’s she was well enough to come home. Looking back now, I’m so grateful her last days were spent at home with her family. After a few sleepless nights, for both Minty and myself, I still had a bad feeling that something wasn’t right. We took her back to the Vet on the Friday and he agreed she wasn’t as good as she could be. He asked us to leave her at the surgery for a few hours so he could do some tests.
A few hours passed, and my phone rang. I knew before I answered it wasn’t going to be good news. The Vet told us he’d have to operate again, and that it was high risk. I clearly remember the call: I was in Big W looking at Christmas lights at the time. What a ridiculous juxtaposition of events. I hung up the phone and waited for him to call back. When the phone rang again, it was the Vet telling me that it was indeed worse than they’d thought, and that she’d passed away. Even the Vet sound teary. I just hung up the phone and bawled my eyes out, in the middle of a homewares store. I didn’t care who saw, or that people were staring. I was heartbroken. Not only that, the feeling that I’d had for the past week or so had just been validated. I’d known this was how it was going to end right from the start. And I hated that I was right.
Miss Minty and all her cuteness!
It’s been a week since I received that phone call. Nothing much has changed, we’re still sad. We’ve not moved Minty’s food bowl or bed, as its still feels too soon to do something so final. I still come home and go straight to the back yard to see her. I still have that fleeting moment of confusion when I don’t see her there, waiting for us at the back door. Trav has commented that he often still hear’s her trade-mark panting from the back yard. I knew that I’d miss Minty, although always assumed we’d have her for much longer.
It’s the silly things that we miss the most. Her licking the backs of your legs, which drove us crazy. Her white fur shedding onto EVERYTHING. Her ability slip stealth-like through a tiny crack in the door just so she could sneak inside and hang with her humans. Her smothering Violet in kisses whenever they were together, leaving Violet smelling like dog spit (that drove me crazy). Her wee-ing on her bed, or anything else that wasn’t the grass. I miss every single naughty, gross thing that she did. And feel sad about how mad it used to make me, when I realise that just having her around, being a total brat was actually a real privilege.
So for anybody who has a dog who is naughty and far from perfect. For anyone who’s dog drives them crazy on a daily basis, go and give then a big squishy hug and love them for all their faults. Because I guarantee that you’ll miss that behaviour when they are gone. I know I do.
It’s super cheesy, but I have to say it: Its moment’s like these, you need Minty.
RIP Minty girl! We hope you’re happy up there in heaven, destroying stuff, licking people, and wee-ing on everything!