My last remaining dog recently died. She was 16 years old and her name was Menina, which means ‘young lady’ in Portuguese because she acted like one (most of the time).
Menina (a Basenji/Corgi mix) traveled from Africa and settled down in New York with her family. On the way there, she didn’t tell anyone that she was pregnant. Later, she had three beautiful pups.
She quickly got used to New York City life – riding the elevator to and from the apartment, taking cab rides, being walked on a leash and no longer being allowed to roam around the neighborhood as she pleased as she did in her native country (That’s how she got pregnant in the first place.).
When Menina was younger, she was very quick on her feet; fast as lightening. None of the dogs could catch up with her in the dog run. Her favorite past times included going to the park to play, sniffing everything within smelling distance, barking at the bigger dogs and showing them that she was queen of the neighborhood. She also liked to protect her family, so that when a stranger approached, she’d produce her scariest bark. It worked. The strangers stayed away.
She liked company but didn’t care for strangers touching her. In a room full of people, Menina would find an out-of-the-way spot to sit, watch and listen. With alert eyes and perked ears, she’d look back and forth at each speaker, as if she intently followed and understood the conversation.
Menina loved fish but didn’t care for vegetables. She loved bullsticks and large bones that she could chew on for hours.
Waiting to cross the sidewalk
Taking a cab ride to the vet.
Menina and her daughter, Cadeau.
Menina experiencing her first snowfall.
Menina (August 30, 1994 – June 20, 2010)
June 24, 1995 – March 31, 2009
Portrait by Joanne Giesbrecht of Thistledown Arts
Thanks to everyone who left kind and warm comments here on my blog and e-mailed me privately when I announced the news of my dog’s death. I really appreciated it.
Thanks so much to Joanne of Thistledown Arts, who surprised me with a special gift of a portrait painting of Cadeau. I love it! My whole family loves it. I have a great big smile when I look at your wonderful work, Joanne. Thank you very much.
Below is another simple dog treat, basically made from peanut putter and flour. Cadeau loved peanut butter. It was the only way I could get her to swallow her medication without spitting it out. If I put the pill in other foods, she would eat the food and spit out the pill.
Her mom, Menina, likes peanut butter, too, so I made this easy Peanut Butter Treat this weekend. The recipe says to use whole wheat flour and white flour. However, I used white flour alone because that’s all I had. Instead of the corn oil, I used olive oil because, again, that’s all I had. I got no complaints.
Peanut Butter Treats
· 2 tablespoons corn oil
· ½ cup peanut butter
· 1 cup water
· 1 cup whole wheat flour
· 2 cups white flour
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine oil, peanut butter and water. Add Flour 1 cup at a time, then knead into firm dough. Roll dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut with small bone shaped cookie cutter. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Makes 2½ dozen.
June 24, 1995 – March 31, 2009
We named her Cadeau, which means "gift" in French. Cadeau Oferta Prenda Minha de New York. Yeah, the name is rather long but it suited her. Sometimes she was called her other names because she was curious, playful, stubborn, annoying, persistent….
Mainly, we thought of Cadeau as a gift because she was unexpected. My sister didn’t know her mother, Menina, was pregnant when she brought Menina from Africa to New York.
Menina gave birth to Cadeau in my bedroom and dragged her to me, still on the umbilical cord. Now, how could I refuse a gift like that?
She looked much different from her mom who is part Besenji and Corgi, while Cadeau was part small Border Collie and Corgi.
A friend called her Sweet Face and I’d get a kick out of that. She may have had a sweet face but she didn’t always act sweet. When she opened her mouth to bark, she had the fiercest bark in all of New York City. It was enough to send people jumping back or hurrying in the other direction on the street.
Cadeau liked food. A lot.
She liked to eat everything. Anything.
She would eat African food, Italian, Chinese. She wouldn’t dream of turning anything down.
She liked vegetables, as well.
Of course, she liked a good bone, too. With meat on it.
Some food favorites were fresh salmon with rice or corn on the cob. It was no fun to eat the corn unless it was on the cob. She also loved eating mangoes on the seed.
She knew when someone opened the refrigerator door or pulled something out of the microwave or plated food from the stove. Then she’d show up to get her portion. If you didn’t want to share, she had ways of convincing you to capitulate.
In the mornings, I’d feed Cadeau dog food, so she made sure to wake me up every morning to feed her. I never needed an alarm clock with her around. She didn’t wake me up a minute before or after it was time for me to get up and feed her. She’d wake me up right on time.
One day, she didn’t wake me up and she wouldn’t eat her dog food. It was puzzling but we weren’t too worried because she still ate the human food. Then the following week, she stopped eating the human food, which she loved the most. It was then that we knew something was terribly wrong.
Then, she stopped drinking water.
A few days after that, Cadeau died from health-related issues due to old age. She was 14 years old. It happened so fast.
I saw Cadeau take her first breath when she entered this world and I saw her take her last breath when she left it.
Rest in peace, dear Cadeau and see you at Rainbow Bridge.
I made these Salmon Dog Biscuits in memory of Cadeau. She’s never going to be able to eat them but I’m sure she would have loved them if given the opportunity. Super easy to make, with super simple ingredients of canned salmon, baking powder, flour and salt, the biscuits turned out very delicious. How did I know? I tasted them, of course. So, I suppose, humans can eat this, too.
I gave the biscuits to Cadeau’s mom, Menina, and she gobbled them up. She really liked them. Didn’t I tell you? Like her daughter, she loves fish, too.
Ed Note: Thanks for your very kind words, everyone. It’s much appreciated.
See you at Rainbow Bridge.
Salmon Dog Biscuits
· 15oz can of Salmon or Jack Mackerel
· some flour
· 2 tsp of salt
· 1 teasp of baking powder
· Optional: add sprinkle of garlic powder if desired
Mix together fish, plus ALL liquid from can, salt & baking powder, add enough flour for texture
Spread out on cookie sheet
Score into sections (easier to break apart when done)
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 mins. or crust is golden
Store in container in frig or freezer for longer periods of time
Cadeau at her favorite spot, by the window, two days before she died.