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 wagged their tails, and then the fox slowly disappeared under the hedge. It lasted for about ten seconds, not more.
I thought I just dreamed the whole thing, so I ran out, and then I saw my neighbours standing in their front door, with their eyes wide in disbelief.
“Did you see it?” I asked them, and they said “Sure we did! Unbelievable…!”
And it is – 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. So a fox walked out of the woods, and came to say hello. No biggie. Pass the salt please.
Frankly, I had no idea what was it like to care of a dog with a tracheostomy. For weeks after her operations, she could not eat, she had to be fed via an IV, and then for months - spoonfeeding. Literally. Bite after bite. To this day, she an only eat food that went 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 and dust. Even at night, while she is sleeping, I need to be alert, because if she leans on a pillow or one of her stuffed toys, it can block her airway, and she can start suffocating herself. (Now I understand those parents with newborn babies who say they hadn’t had a full night sleep in a long time…)
If we rigidly attempted to stick to the doctor’s orders, she must stay away from lakes, rivers, the sea, sand beach, digging, rain, wind, cats, rats, worms… Which of course, is far from real life:
I just can’t put her in a box, and protect her from all the elements.
She wants to live a full life, and that’s exactly what I pledged to give for her.
She is no different from other dogs, except from the six cm long hole in her throat.
Someone asked me the other day, would I choose to save her life again, knowing what challenge it means to look after her. And the answer is, of course, I'd do it again, 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 in life. Whenever I (think I) have a problem, I just look at my dog, and I realize – I have no problems. Not to mention, she literally saved my life. Twice. True story.
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, and does not move a hair, and listens to my breathing. We sat on the top of mountains together in Slovenia, travelled on a ski lift in Austria, went boat riding in the Lake District, travelled with steam engine on the Isle of Wight, went to the Opera house in Buxton to see a show. We even go to the movies together. (She can sleep through a two-hour movie, unless the film is boring, and she is somehow always right.)
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 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”. She definitely has the force with her…”