Good-bye to Our Winky Dog

Mia, when she still had both eyes.

Mia crossed the rainbow bridge last week. Our sweet Mia. Her quality of life had gone rapidly downhill. I am grateful to have been an important part of her life. She was a good dog. 

When my daughter brought her to us, Mia relished in her freedom. No longer living confined in an apartment, always on a leash for her city walks. She had never before experienced such freedom as at our house! She chased the squirrels and deer. She frolicked and pranced around the field behind our house. She generally liked to keep her distance and yet she followed us around the house constantly, especially my husband who always had treats. She was a skittish girl, almost passive-aggressive like a cat. 

After a time, she came to love us. Especially my husband with his patience and his treats. How she followed him around! Always had to be near him! 

Mia was special. As far as I could tell, she was some sort of corgi cattle dog mix. Unlike a corgi cattle dog, her legs were long and lean, she was svelte in comparison to corgi cattle dogs I have seen, and she had a fox like quality to both her face and tail. These dogs have a high prey drive, which would explain her impulse, in spite of her handicap, for squirrel and deer chasing. 

My daughter rescued Mia (or the other way around, I think) when she moved to Arizona after college. Although she had to remain on her leash, Mia would try to chase the rabbits into the bushes. Rabbits are everywhere in Arizona. Mia was not meant to be a city dog though, so she came to live with us. Here, she pranced about off leash and smiled a lot. She chased squirrels.  She was a finicky old woman; we estimate her to have been around 14-15 years old.  Mia could be passive-aggressive like a cat. I loved Mia because she took such good care of my daughter. Also, because she was herself and a sweetie pie. 

She was our winky dog because she had one eye and required much care. Corgi cattle dogs are notorious for experiencing progressive retinal atrophy. Mia was seeing-impaired due to genetic glaucoma, having had one eye removed and the other was slowly losing sight as well. Besides causing blindness, glaucoma causes pain and discomfort due to pressure on the eye. For this reason, sometimes, as in Mia’s case, the eye must be removed to relieve that pain and pressure.

Caring for a dog with glaucoma requires dedication and patience. At first it seemed overwhelming, but we  made Mia’s medication disbursement a habit akin to brushing our teeth. We gave her drops in the morning and in the evening to relieve pain and decrease pressure on her remaining eye. Near the end administering her medications became my husbands chore. He was dedicated and steadfast.

In the end she suffered not only from blindness, but arthritis and dementia too. Her quality of life quickly declined. It was hard to watch.

 There is now an empty space where Mia’s bed once sat, where her food bowl was kept. The ghost of her clickity-clacks around the house. The ghost of her bumps into the furniture. The ghost of her stands at the window, looking out at the world. 

Mary Oliver wrote, “A dog comes to you and lives with you in your house, but you do not therefore own her, as you do not own the rain, or the trees, or the laws which pertain to them.” 

God bless you, sweet Mia. It was an honor and a joy to know you. I am grateful to have been a part of your life. I know that you are forever chasing bunnies over the rainbow bridge. 

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