My Everything ~ My Loyal Friend Minty
(Perth, Western Australia)
Me and my best friend
I found Minty sitting all by herself in a pet store when I was 7 years old. I still remember the day as if it was 5 minutes ago. My parents fell in love with her as well and we took her home. Minty was a Australian Terrier/Pomeranian cross, with lots of courage and the most expressive face I've seen on anyone.
Over the years she became my best friend; I woke up in the morning at 6am to walk her before school, played with her in the afternoons, watched tv with her by my side and snuck her into my bedroom at night. She was my little shadow; when I had a shower she would lay outside the bathroom door to make sure no-one was up to any funny business! I am an only child, so she was my surrogate little sister.
Sometimes we had an almost telepathic connection; I knew when she was in distress from 20km's away, and she would sit by the fence or front door whenever I was coming home. We had secret hand signals, code words and expressions that only we understood.
Minty died 5 weeks ago from a combination of illnesses at 12 years of age. It was her time to go; I knew that day that she would not last the night. I slept on the floor beside her bed with my hand on her side; Mum woke me up in the middle of the night when she died (lying next to me on the floor).
She was so much a part of my life that it seems empty now. Most all I miss the sound of her breathing, and her presence in my mind. I miss the proper hello's we would have at every greeting; her fur under my hands and her wuffling in my ear. To fall asleep I have to listen to music constantly to fill the silence. Sometimes my insomnia lasts until 5am.
I don't have many human friends, which makes her absence all the worse. It sucks to go weeks on end without a phone call or conversation. It seems like whoever I talk to is only mildly interested. I miss having someone who I could talk to that would listen and not judge, and comfort me without words; the language of the body is so ill-used by human culture that I feel as though I can only use half of my expression. Hand signals of distress don't seem to register with people.
But this is not all about me complaining; I am grateful for every second I had with her. Her life, and her death, has taught me more than I probably will ever realise.
There will never be another Mintyone; she was my soulmate in animal form.
Note from ed:
What a thoughtful and intelligent essay!
Revealing your inner thoughts like this can only help others to understand that pet loss can be fully as devastating as human loss. This does not diminish the importance of human life; to the contrary, it elevates the importance of all of God's creatures in our lives, and reveals a deep capacity for love.
The many messages I have received about the seriousness of pet loss encouraged me to write another whole chapter on the subject of grief...
Look for a navbar button that reads "Pet Loss" in the next 3-4 weeks. It provides information and comfort to grieving pet owners. I know you will find it educational and uplifting.
My deepest sympathies to you, Sophie, on your painful loss.