Our Itsy-Bitsy Mitzie


A little white, black and brown dog entered our lives in September of 2012. She was a gift from Sue’s family and came to our home wrapped in a little pink baby blanket. She could be held in one hand, so I suggested we call her Mini, to be an opposite to our large dog named Maxi. Sue said she thought the dog looked like a Mitzie, and I had to agree with her, so that’s what we finally decided to name the little white, black and brown dog who entered our lives in September of 2012.

No dog who has ever lived in our home has ever had just one name, and it was no different for Mitzie. We soon began calling her Itsy-Bitsy Mitzie because of her diminutive size and that was eventually shortened to either “Mitz” or “Its,” both of which we used frequently. Quite a few other names came into use for various reasons, many of which will become obvious later.

When we took Mitzie to the Vet a few months later to get her spayed, he ran a blood panel to make sure she could handle the anesthesia prior to doing the procedure. It turned out that our little dog had even smaller kidneys, which already weren’t working very well. Getting her spayed was out of the question. The vet told us that Mitzie probably wouldn’t live to be an old dog, but with proper diet, she could still enjoy a few years with us.

Well, maybe God didn’t give Mitzie fully functioning kidneys, but He made up for it by giving her an extra portion of heart. Mitzie was one of the most spirited dogs I’ve ever known! She was strong willed and full of life, her eyes twinkling with mischief every time she was up to no good!

Our older dog Maxi has always fancied herself something of a guard dog, and it didn’t take Mitzie long to decide that she wanted to be a guard dog too. She ran from one end of the yard to the other, right on Maxi’s heels, going just as fast as her little legs would carry her. She soon had the attitude of a guard dog as well, although she usually had no idea what Maxi was barking at. I soon began telling Mitzie that she was “The worst guard dog ever,” but like I said, Mitzie had heart, and she never quit trying!

The next spring, I began setting flowers out in my yard. The fragrant aroma and bright colors of the petunias caught Mitzie’s attention the moment she laid eyes on them. When I let her out before bed that night, she returned with an entire plant she had pulled out of the ground. The next day I planted more, and Mitzie dug up more. She began eating them; actually chewing them up and swallowing them! I put up fences, and she bent them over. I put up sturdier fences and she dug under them. She was determined to eat my flowers so I began calling her “The Evil Little Petunia Eating Dog.” After a weekend of losing most of my petunias, I knew I had to lighten up so I made up a set of signs and posted pictures on Facebook. One of my friends began calling her “Petunia,” and it was a name that stuck with her to the end!

The next year I planted fewer petunias, and only in planters out of her limited reach. Mitzi moved on to the vegetable matter I compost in my garden by burying it. Mitzie began digging rotting stuff up and eating it. Watermelon rinds were her favorite. The more rotten and smelly they were, the more she desired to stuff them in her itsy-bitsy mouth.

I gave up composting in addition to raising petunias the next summer, so it became my peppers that caught her attention that year. I was wondering where my almost ripe peppers were disappearing to, when I found her in another part of the yard eating them. Like the petunias and composting, I tried everything to keep her out, but she was so determined that nothing seemed to work!

The next year I had plans of constructing a virtual fortress around my peppers once they began bearing fruit. That year Mitzie went out the day after I planted my garden and pulled all twelve pepper plants out of the ground and chewed them into little pieces prior to parading around the yard with some of their woody remains hanging out of her mouth.

The next summer I gave up petunias, composting, and peppers. Mitzie developed a taste for tomatoes.

Last spring Mitzie started getting sick and we thought we were going to lose her. Carl and I went to Duluth to run “Grandma’s Marathon,” but Sue stayed home and administered subcutaneous fluids to her with the help of a friend. Thanks to all the tender loving care, Mitzie got better and eventually returned to normal.

Mitzie’s health began deteriorating again a few weeks ago. When she stopped eating we took her to the vet. Her kidneys were having trouble keeping up so we began the subcutaneous injections again. The fluids seemed to perk her up, but she still wouldn’t eat and she gradually got weaker. We returned Tuesday and after running more tests, the Vet told us Mitzie wasn’t going to get better this time. He said that if we wanted, we could try some medicine that may help her eat, and if she did, she could still possibly have a couple more “good weeks in her.

We took our itsy-bitsy Mitzie back home and after trying for two days to get her to eat, she still couldn’t keep anything down and her health deteriorated rapidly. On Thursday, we returned home from a funeral and found that she barely had the strength to wag her tail. We knew it was time to say goodbye.

Sue unfolded the same pink baby blanket that she had used to carry the little white, black and brown dog into our home and used it now to comfort the precious friend that the dog had become. Sue gently wrapped Mitzie up and carried her to the pickup. Mitzie seemed peaceful on Sue’s lap while she went on what would be her last ride. With the vet’s help, Mitzie quickly and easily fell asleep atop the pink blanket while Sue and I held her.

Mitzie’s remains will be back from the crematorium in a couple weeks. In the Spring, I plan on sprinkling the ashes around my flower beds and garden. By doing this, I know the little white, black and brown dog who came to our house will live on forever among my petunias, compost, peppers and tomatoes.