Mia passed away last Saturday morning unexpectedly from heart failure. She had just turned 12 years old.
She was the best friend I ever could have asked for. She was the perfect dog. Mia was one of those rare dogs that was naturally well behaved, and oh so sweet and gentle. She helped us raise ducklings and chicks. She'd watch toads and caterpillars- lying down and occasionally giving them a nudge with her nose. When she found baby birds on the ground, she'd get so agitated and find a human, leading them to the bird so they could help. She loved babies.
Mia loved hiking. We'd go on adventures all around Vermont. She never ran off, she always came when called. She helped me teach younger dogs off leash manners, like Delilah and some dogs I dogsat. They'd always follow her lead and I was able to get reliable recalls from everyone whenever we went hiking. Delilah and Mia were kind of jealous of each other so there was definitely some competition/sibling rivalry going on as well.
Mia taught me so much about dog training. When we got Mia, I had wanted to do agility, but I was too young to take classes. So I taught her a bunch of tricks and we would do obstacle courses in the backyard. The last time I stayed at my parents house, I was practicing agility with Delilah. Mia wanted in on it and started jumping the jump, which was the only obstacle set up that she knew how to do. She such a smart, eager dog. She learned everything so quickly and listened so well. We had a "special trick"; I taught her to heel off leash so I would walk her around my neighborhood off leash. I could tell her to sit-stay or down-stay and keep walking, and she would stay there. I would then say, "Okay, heel" and she'd trot to catch up and then go back into a heel. Lastly, when our house was in sight, I would put her in a stay and get a head start. Then I would yell, "Okay, go!" and we would race back to the house.
She never did anything bad. Even when she was "naughty," it was actually really endearing. When she was a puppy and we first started leaving her out of the crate, she found the toilet paper hanging in the bathroom, grabbed the end, and ran around the house with it. When we got home, the entire first floor was TP'd!
I felt really guilty about getting Delilah. I didn't spend a lot of alone time with Mia this past year. I just wish I could have done something special with just her before she left.
Mia, I will always love you. Thanks for the memories. <3