When we brought Mia home in 2001, she was a cute little ball of fur with a freckled nose. Our daughter Rachel had earned money to buy her by doing chores, having garage sales… and a few donations from family and friends. Although she was originally meant to be Rachel’s dog, in no time at all she became the family pet. Rachel picked out the name Mia (pronounced with a long i). I tried to convince her to spell the name ‘Myah’ so it wouldn’t be mispronounced. Rachel stuck to her guns and as expected we were constantly correcting people on how to pronounce Mia’s name! Dad, who always nicknames our dogs, quickly labeled her ‘Mia Pia’, sometimes lengthened to ‘Mia Papayah’!
Mia was the most even tempered, lovable dog we’ve ever had and we are privileged to have shared in her life of 14 years! She loved road trips, long walks and playing ball! We took her with us just about everywhere we went; long trips to multiple states, hikes, walks in the desert and excursions to the beach. Every morning, six o’clock sharp, she would awaken us with a paw hit to the bed and a head shake that signaled it was time to get up. Steve often took her with him to run errands. He always claimed to be “tired of taking care of dogs”, but he was probably the person who took care of Mia the most. When traveling he was the one who made sure she was comfortable and had everything she needed, including a special place with blanket and water where she could see out every window.
When the kids moved out Mia stayed with us. She was always a topic of conversation during phone conversations and texts. Mia was like our family link. She sort of “held” us together, a mutual bond, even though we were far apart.
At 14 years Mia developed congestive heart failure. Medications had prolonged her life but after a few months her little body had just given up. I was at work the day she passed away. We had made plans to take her to the vet that day because she hadn’t been feeling well. Shortly after talking to Steve he sent me a text saying that Mia had passed away in Rachie’s arms. I had slept downstairs with her the night before because I knew she wasn’t feeling well, but I still felt devastated that I wasn’t able to say goodbye. I am so grateful that Rachel was with her when she passed.
I’ve never struggled this much with the loss of a pet. We’ve lost two other family dogs but none so painful as losing Mia. I have struggled with the question of “Could we have done more to improve or prolong her life?” As I look through pictures of Mia, full of energy and spunk, I realize that it was time for her to go. She could no longer chase birds or bunnies, play ball or tug of war, jump on the sofa or hear our voices. But she looked so young and her eyes told you she still longed to do those things. When she passed she was still a cute ball of fur with freckles on her nose. My only regret is that I didn’t stop and give her a pat more often.
As I turn off the lights and start up the stairs, I want to stop and say “good night Mia Pia, see you in the morning”, and then I remember she isn’t here.
People keep saying they believe dogs go to heaven. I pray they do. We will see her again.
Rest in Peace little Mia