We lost a good friend this week. She had been with us since before we opened our Albuquerque Bed and Breakfast in 2001, and was an Official B&B Greeter. Her name was Mini and she was very popular with our guests. Her handout photos were more popular than our business cards and when guests left they rarely left one behind. Her picture is on refrigerators all over the world. Let me tell you Mini’s story.
We used to have fish tanks, and one day I went over to the pet shop in our neighborhood for some supplies for the fish and Mini was there. I have always had a fondness for Boston Bull Terriers, although I never owned one, and Mini looked to be about the right size and had the perfect coloring of a Boston Bull. The price was right…free to a good home, and our other dog, Shasta, was feeling lonely after the loss of her old friend and mentor, Bob, so I took here home. Both Shasta and Bob were pretty big dogs – 70 – 80 pounders, so we named this new pup Mini because she looked like she would be a lot smaller that they were. She was a mini Bob and Shasta.
The pet shop owner was out of town and the person watching the store didn’t know her history, but I didn’t care. Shasta was so pleased to have a puppy to play with for a few hours until she realized this puppy was here to stay. Mini got the cold shoulder for a few days until Shasta gave in and they became fast friends.
About two weeks after I brought her home a neighbor came over and was surprised to see Mini, the dog he saw tossed out of a small gray car to fend for herself behind the grocery store around the corner from us. He had been cleaning trash from the alley and witnessed the deed. He took her to the pet store and guilted them into cleaning her up and finding her a home, as their civic duty to the neighborhood. Now we had some history.
At best guess the vet said she was about 10 weeks old. Every time I took her to the vet she would plaster herself against me in the car to get as far away from the passenger door as she could, and then she would hyperventilate and barf. It took years for her to get over that first car ride when she was tossed out, and she never overcame her fear of the window in the car refusing to even stick her nose out when she went for a ride.
She quickly became the lady in waiting to the queen of the house, Shasta. Being very social dogs, when we opened as a Bed and Breakfast they welcomed their jobs as B&B Greeters, and were so good at it that people would ask if Mini could sleep in their room. (These were people that were having a serious Jones for their own dogs!)
After Shasta passed, Mini took on some personality changes. She started catching mice, was increasingly dog aggressive and decided that hot air balloons were a serious threat to the neighborhood so she barked until they left, freeing us all from the dreaded invaders. This was a tough job during Balloon Fiesta in October, but Mini was up for it. She did a great job until last year when her eyesight got too bad.
Another very memorable change in Mini was one that endeared her to so many of our guests… she loved to wear necklaces of all kinds. She received plastic beads and leis from all over the country, and people loved to take pictures of her all decked out in her “bling”. They sent specialty beads for occasions such as Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Superbowl, Balloon Fiesta, Lobster Fest, and of course, Mardi Gras. The beads never stopped coming. They were addressesd to “Mini the Dog”. We would put a few strands around her neck after breakfastwith guests and she would run over to the fireplace and pose for a Kodak moment. Many guests sent us their pictures of Mini too, and as the photo’s piled up our good neighbor, Charlie built “Mini’s Bling Bling Box to store them all. This box became a subject of show and tell at breakfast, perpetuating the cycle of guest pictures and more necklaces.
Mini was to be our last dog, as we like to travel, but two years ago, just before Mother’s Day a little Chihuahua puppy planted herself at our door and cried. We took her in, looked for her owner, reported her to the the usual places and no one claimed her. Mini was quite old and arthritic by now, and we wouldn’t leave them alone together feeling Mini would rip this puppy up, but Mini had found her first friend since Shasta passed and the puppy bought her another two years of liveliness. Mini played hard with little Risa and became much more active and less arthritic.
Time eventually caught up with her though, knees giving in, back giving out, hips in bad shape and tumors abounding. The medications were not working very well and we knew the time was near. Last week, she walked away from her food bowl, had a convulsive seizure and fell over. After it was over she couldn’t get up and at 14 years and two months we figured the best we could do for Mini was to let her go. We will miss her awful, and I know our guests will too. Mini was a perfect B&B dog. There ain’t too many better. Farewell, Min. Hang with Missy, Bob and Shasta ’till we get there. We know there are Dogs in Heaven.