Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In Memory of Mya Dandee March 19 1999 - February 28 2012

13 years ago a little duck-footed multi-colored puppy entered my world. I thought I didn’t want a puppy until Jason brought her too me. “Look! She has eyebrows just like you like!” he said to me. And in fact she did. Eyebrows, extremely long eyelashes, and the longest ears which she would step on for the rest of her life as she walked along sniffing everything. People joked that they weren’t sure what her face looked like because it was always pressed to the ground.

Mya Dandee was named because of the dandee lions that she would snap at in the grass. It was a perfect name for a perfect dog. If you didn’t know her in her prime, you probably wouldn’t believe how smart and understanding she was. She could understand and respond to a plethora of words and conversation. She also knew hand signals when we needed to keep sound out of the equation. She knew many “tricks” that entertained everyone we encountered. She was well behaved, well mannered, and had the most pleasant disposition. It’s hard to teach children to take precaution of other dogs when they’ve been around Mya and how gentle she was with them. Mya was extremely strong. She could pull me up a hill while running, she dragged us along on walks, and during her stubborn moments, would not be budged. While playing with her rope she pulled me over every time. Yet, she was extremely gentle. When our nephew Bradan was very small he wanted to play tug with her and her rope. She would tug much softer than with me and Jason and even let Bradan win! She had compassion!

Two of my favorite ways to play with her was to get right down on the floor with her, steal her toy, and play keep away…batting at her feet and mouth, growling and patting the floor. She would do it right back and try to steal the toy back! It was sheer joy! Second was when she would bite my pant leg and twist and jerk and growl. She wouldn’t let go and I she would position herself over my foot so I would pick her up with my foot (while she was still biting my pant leg) and swing her around, and rub her belly. She loved it and would constantly play this.

We would take Mya everywhere with us in her early years. We decided one of her first years with us to take her to the fireworks show….wrong decision. She didn’t like the bang and hid under the blanket behind and under Jason and shook. We never made her watch fireworks again. We heard her really howl once (a couple other times in her sleep) when we took her to a parade and as the emergency vehicles passed and blew their sirens, her little head tilted back and up, her mouth formed the perfect and kissable little circle and she let out a little howly sound! During her first year of life she had 3 surgeries, one on each eye and one on her leg which required pins and much faithful and consistent physical therapy by Jason. Jason would take her after hours to our apartment’s swimming pool and have her swim to work her leg. He’d physically move her leg every night and work it out. We even took her to the sand dunes to hike in the sand to help strengthen her leg. The doctor told Jason that he didn’t think she would ever really use that leg again, yet there she was running around and keeping up with her cousin Timber, who is extremely fast…just think how fast she could have been without ever having a broken leg! What a strong girl and what a committed and loving dad!

I could tell you of all the hikes and excursions we’ve taken but it would take pages and pages. We took her to the top of Timpanogos, or at least the lake, and to rivers, and camping, and walks. She was the best golf-ball-finder in the world and golf balls were one of her favorite things to chew on! I can’t tell you how many times she would snatch up golf balls without us noticing, she was a ninja! And she would secretly try to hide them from us and would chew on them. When we noticed she had something, she’d try to hide it in her cheek like a squirrel! She was a great bird dog, and even without any training we would walk around the field at my parents’ house and she’d flush out pheasants with ease. She had so much fun. We would take her on my family’s annual fall picnic and even play seek-and-go-hide with her. Her color was perfect for blending in. She would always win, except for that time when a neighboring picnic-er’s dog sped out to try to catch her. Its owners apologized saying that they all thought Mya was a rabbit so they didn’t call their dog back! Ha!

Mya never left my side for 13 years. She started at my side and ended at my side. I can’t think of a better thing to happen. She told me when to go to bed and was there through my pregnancies and sickness and celebrations. She knew what I was thinking and feeling and was always glad to see me. She protected me with her whole being as I did to her. We had special mommy-puppy time where I would give her a brushing, it was our special bonding time. She was extremely kind as Sydney and Peyton entered our world. Even though she seemed a bit annoyed at times at these little creatures, she was so concerned about them and would help me see to them when they were infants, always checking their crib and being there with me. As our children entered our life, Mya did not get to go as many places with us, but she was always there for the big events and always included when we were able.

But time moves on and she got older. Even though she couldn’t do as much with us, she enjoyed what she could. But her eyesight faded and her hearing diminished, she stopped being interested in bones or really anything. I became her “service human” and she stayed with me for protection, it was the least I could do for her, and even when I became “bothered” by her licking or scratching or constant need for only me to take her out, I really loved every minute of it and, of course, am missing it now. It was definitely her time to go. She was scared and confused and I hated seeing her that way. It broke my heart. Deciding to let her go was one of the hardest decisions we have ever come to. She was supposed to be with ME forever, get old with ME, never leave ME….it’s hard not to be selfish with someone as special, as loved, as loving, as a big part of my life as she has been. She had been mine and Jason’s everything for several years until we added to our family and then she became just as big a part of their every day life. She touched the lives of many of our friends and family throughout the years and was cared for by several of them, much to our appreciation. I miss her kisses, I miss her hugs, I miss her breathing. I miss everything about her.

When we said goodbye, she was relaxed, she looked happy and she looked 6 years younger. When I touched her mouth and tongue and looked into her eyes, I felt that she could see me again. I hoped that we were able to calm her so she wasn’t scared and hurting anymore. When I saw her little tongue and the almost relief and youngness in her face, I almost felt a sense of calm and relief myself. It made it bearable, not easier, but made it able to say goodbye.

The night before she passed, a pack of coyotes ran through the field in the back of our house. They howled and barked and called out. I like to think they were calling to her wild spirit, calling her come with them, to let her know it was time for a new adventure. All day new daffodils were blooming. I want her with me. She will never leave my heart and I hope I remember the way her kisses felt and the solid mass that she was when I hugged her.

I have many many many more stories and memories of my baby girl. I could go on and on. As I remember all the many things about Mya, I hope that you all have memories for yourself of her. Please share those with me if you are able, I would love to hear about my little dog through your experiences.

Mya, you were the best dog I could have ever had! Thank you for making Jason bring you home. Thank you being my dog, my companion, my friend, and my baby. I miss you with all my heart and I want you to be happy and not scared. I will see you often as you watch over us and I will never forget you and what you gave to me and Jason throughout the years. I love you!


  1. Yes, I remember Mya: always under foot; running to meet me when I came to her home and jumping up and pawing at my leg; wanting and expecting me to give her attention with her little tail wagging furiously.

    Mya was a constant annoyance all the time! Oh, how I will miss her.

    Papa Philip.

  2. I'm not an animal lover, but Mya had a way of getting into your heart! It was always funny how, when we would sit down to eat, she would sweetly beg. She knew she wasn't supposed to have people food. But she would come up to us and gently set her paw on our leg and look at us with those pleading eyes. It was heart breaking to tell her no!

    She loved to have her belly rubbed, and especially enjoyed it when we rubbed her hip. When we started petting her, she would always turn herself so that we were rubbing or scratching her hip while wagging that little tail like crazy! She Loved Papa Evan! When she heard the garage door opening, she would run to the back door and faithfully stare at the door until he opened it. With tail about to wag off her butt, she greeted him anxiously! She loved to go for rides with Papa in the car. But hated the car wash....we only made that mistake once! We treasure the picture we have on our wall of Papa hugging Mya. She will be missed!