ODE TO MIMI

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Mimi stood by a tall oak tree, crying because the squirrel she was stalking wouldn’t come down so Mimi could kill it. She knew it was against the laws of nature to be deprived of that kill. 

Eventually, she would relent and go for an adventure deep in the woods. It made me concerned because of bears, poisonous snakes, and other critters who could seriously harm her. I’d call her repeatedly and before long she’d come tearing down our one-lane country road, unaware of the possible consequence of being run over by a pickup truck or some other four-wheel monster. Worn out and hot, Mimi would find the deepest puddle to bask in. 

She and I had been introduced only a few months prior. In order to get a female papillon at that time I had to fly to Dallas from Virginia to pick her up. At 10 months old, she was bigger than the petite papillon I expected, but she was beautiful with her shiny white coat, bushy tail, and black silky butterfly ears. 

I remember when the breeder handed her to me, her long sleek body molding to my arms. We were a team. 

I learned right away that Mimi had not been socialized, and I suspected she had been ignored by her previous owner. She had a fierce growl, which she reserved mostly for men. Hmmm. She nipped at people too—my great nephew called her Mean Mimi because she set him straight with a nipped warning, but he begged his mom to visit her. 

Mimi was obsessive about playing ball. There was never a time when she quit before I did. After years of her obsession, I began storing her ball in the freezer. It was the only place where she couldn’t suss it out. 

Though she wanted to be near me, she was not a particularly affectionate dog, definitely not a lap dog. So those moments when she would lie on my chest, with her glorious face right next to mine were all the more special. 

I’ve never excelled at training pets but eventually Mimi stopped growling and nipping at people. I think she felt loved and safe living with me. 

Yesterday, Mimi at 14 years old was put to sleep. My dear, dear pal. 


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