Excerpt from the book Mimi - Every Day Is a Gift
“She is a special little dog, no question about it. Just the other day, I was standing in the kitchen, and I saw Mimi through the window, sitting on the lawn – and a wild fox standing right next to her. I froze like a snowman. They sniffed each other, both of them wagged their tails, then the fox tip-toed into in the hedge. The whole scene lasted about ten seconds, not more.
I first thought I had just dreamed the whole thing. I ran outside, to see that the neighbours stood in their front door with their eyes wide in disbelief.
“Did you see it?” I asked them, and they replied “Sure we did! Unbelievable…!”
Indeed – when do you see a wild fox going up to a dog to say hello?? Almost never.
But Mimi seemed not to be surprised at all. For her, it was all normal, as she is friendly with all creatures of our world. Including snakes. She has no fear, whatsoever. Seriously - we met a snake once on our walk, and Mimi just walked up to it, wagging her tail as usual. She gave me the heebie-jeebies too...)
Frankly, I had no idea what it would be to care of a dog with a tracheostomy. The vet tried to warn me what I had signed up for, but I did not care anyway. I just knew that this dog deserves a second (and third and fourth) chance to live. There was never a doubt, even for a second. For weeks after her operation, she could not eat, and she had to be fed via an IV, and then came spoonfeeding, and feeding out of a syringe for months. Literally. Bite after bite. To this day, she can only eat food that first goes through the blender. Her “tracky-tube” must be cleaned three-four times a day. Her wound must be cleaned, and kept out of rain, wind, snow, mud, sand and dust. Even at night, while she is sleeping, I always need to be on alert, because if she leans on a pillow or on one of her stuffed toys, it can block her airway, and she then starts suffocating herself.
(Now I understand those parents with newborn babies who say they hadn’t had a full night sleep in a long time…)
According to the doctor’s orders, she must stay away from lakes, rivers, the sea, sand beach, digging, scratching, cats, rats, worms… But I just can't put her in a box, and protect her from the whole world.
She wants to live a full life, and that’s exactly what I pledged to give her, even if it means that I must be at constant alert, just like if I had a small child with a severe form of autism or epilepsy.
Would I save her life again, knowing what challenge it presents to look after her? You bet I would, without a shadow of a doubt. She has given me so much joy and inspiration, and an education of a lifetime: how to see the joy in life and cherish each day, as we never know when it is our last one. Mimi is my true inspiration. Whenever I (think I) have a problem, I just look at my brave dog, and I realize – I really do not have any problems.
Not to mention, she literally saved my life. Twice. For real.
We do our morning meditation together, she sits in my lap, motionless, as if she knew that we must stay put for a little while. She does not move a hair, and matches my breathing exercise with her own breathing. I wish I knew what is going on in her tiny little head at those times.
We sat on the top of mountains together in Slovenia, travelled on a ski lift in Austria, went boat riding in the Lake District, explored hidden paths in the Peak District National Park, travelled with steam engine on the Isle of Wight, went to the Opera house in Buxton, went to the gym together, and went to Church for the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. We even go to the movies together. (She can sleep through a two-hour movie, unless the film is boring.)
We once went to a church to see Handel’s Messiah. The priest was worried that she would disturb the concert with her barking. I said to him “Father, if this dog barks, I will donate £1000 to your church in cash. Because that would truly be a miracle…”
While I am writing, Mimi is sleeping right here next to me, sounding like a tiny respiratory ventilator.
I call her “my little Darth Vader”.
One thing is for sure: she has the force with her, there is no doubt.