I remember the day I laid eyes on her. She was the cutest puppy I had ever seen and it really was love at first sight. I knew that very moment that when she retired from racing, she had to come home to me. She had to.
And so, week after week, month after month we went up to the greyhound farm to visit her and the other puppies. It was a delightful time for us, we got so much puppy love.
And in April of 2005, just as my taxes came back I marched right back up to the farm and paid for that girl. If she was mine when she left the farm, she’d be mine when she retired from racing. I did the happy dance all the way to the farm and all the way home. I was so head over heals in love with this girl.
This little girl was packed with personality. She knew when we drove onto the farm and she delighted us with games of chase, racing through the fields. As part of her getting ready for the track, she chased a whirlygig in the field. It was always a good day when she caught it. With or without our help.
Minnie and I had a love affair. She loved me as much as I loved her. As she got ready to off to the races, first to training in Oklahoma and then to the track in Florida, I promised I would get her home as quickly as I possibly could.
And just like that, she was outta here. She quickly discovered however that running at the track was nothing like playing in the field. In fact, I’m convinced she was more worried about breaking a nail than winning a race.
In late November, I got the call, my little girlfriend was ready to come home. I made my plane reservations and just before Christmas I flew down to Florida to bring our girl home.
It was pretty clear from her antics at turnout that racing wasn’t her thing, but digging was. Look at the size of that hole!
It took her no time at all to get used to the comforts of home. The rocking chair was a favorite place of hers. She was a premium yellow banana connoisseur. She only stole the ones that were perfect off of the counter and she always left the peel on her bed.
The day after Pete’s first chemo treatment, Minnie had a teeny tiny cough. Just one. On any other occasion, I would not have had a second thought. But I panicked, not wanting to expose Pete to anything and it was off to the vet clinic. Physical examination was fine. At the end of the visit, she had one more little cough. I looked at our vet and said that is what I was hearing. Just to be sure, we did chest x-rays and sure enough, there was a tumor in her lung. It was devastating to say the least, but we also had Pete that was already in progress for his cancer treatment.
She did great for nearly five months and then she started to limp. X-rays showed that she had hypertrophic osteopathy, a bone disease secondary to lung cancer. Painful, progressive and there was nothing we could do.
On Sunday morning, just one month shy of her 12th birthday, Minnie assured us it was time. She had a hard time walking, she was more out of breath and she turned away from her breakfast.
Making that dreaded decision one more time was devastating but Karen and I have promised all of our dogs that we will always do what is best for them and letting Minnie go was the greatest gift of love we could give her.