She was more than a dog. She was more than a pet. She was member of the family. Minnie was a unique pet with a larger-than-life personality. My wife (Lindsay) found her in the streets in the fall of 2008 and she made herself at home right away.
My wife was driving down the street from our house and saw a dog in the street that resembled her dog named Indy. She slammed on her brakes and noticed that it was not her dog but one that looked just like him only smaller. When she got out of the car to check on the stray, she was on her back with her paws in the air. My wife took the dog home, fed and bathed her. The homeless dog smelled like garbage (is how my wife described it) thus she received a second bath immediately. She put up Found Dog signs around the neighborhood but no calls came in.
I first met Minnie in 2010. I began dating Lindsay in 2011 but we were friends prior and I would visit her often as Lindsay was watching my dog (Phoebe) for me while I was out of state. We took the girls (dogs) to the vet in 2011 and I remember that Lindsay took Phoebe into the vet and Minnie and I were outside waiting. I told Minnie that I was starting to have feelings for Lindsay. It was the first time that I said that out loud (I know, it’s weird but that’s how it happened). As time went on, we would take the girls out for walks and other outings with us. I really do credit Phoebe and Minnie for helping Lindsay and I getting closer.
Another memory that I have of Minnie was Thanksgiving 2010; I went to Lindsay’s house and Lindsay had sent away for a DNA kit for Minnie to figure out what type of breed she was. Lindsay got an email with the results and we read it together with both Minnie and Phoebe by our side. Lindsay opened it up and was confused. It said she was a “bulldog schnauzer” – Lindsay said it out loud and Minnie began to growl at the results. Every time anyone said “bulldog schnauzer” near her she would go nuts. Later that night at dinner we were getting ready to eat and go around the table to give thanks. When it was my niece’s turn (she was six at the time) she said “I am thankful for Minnie.” It was so funny and caught us off guard, but everyone who followed her, ended our speech with, “I am thankful for Minnie.”
One final memory was how she hated to take baths. She would hide. She knew it was time when we would get out the shampoo and her towel. Her hiding spot was usually the same spot. Under the desk in the office. My wife has a video of her searching for Minnie just before giving her a bath and it leads to finding her under the desk.
In July of 2022, on the eve of our family going on vacation to Disneyland, our son shouted “Minnie is bleeding!” My wife and I looked over and she was bleeding. We called the animal hospital and I took her in. Minnie and I were there for five hours. The final prognosis was cancer. She had a small tumor and it caused her to bleed. It was a long battle for her and she fought the good fight for nearly 18 months but the cancer became worse. She lost a lot of weight and her sight, hearing was fading. Two nights before she passed, she climbed upstairs for bed but collapsed on her side and was exhausted. My wife and I came to the difficult decision to end her suffering.
On Friday, November 10 we said our goodbyes to her at Oakdale Veterinary Group. We held her paw and gently petted her as she took her final breath. Our Minnie was gone.
She will forever be a part of our family and I am very lucky to have had her in my life. This Thanksgiving we will go around the table and give thanks. I promise you everyone at the table will say “I am thankful for Minnie.”
Dennis D. Cruz is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 847-3021.