The Story of My Best Friend — Mickey

I never thought this day would come, especially so soon. I enjoy social media and sharing my life with people, but this was one thing that I didn’t want to share. Some things need to be private. But, on the other hand I want to celebrate Mickey’s life and everything she meant to me. She was my best friend, hero, and the most selfless and loyal living thing that I have ever had the honor of being with.

One of the last pictures I have of Mickey.

Let me explain, since I learned to talk a dog was on my want list. I used to ask my mom everyday to buy me a dog and honestly, got obsessed with the idea of having one. When I was around 6 years old, I told my mom that I was old enough and responsible enough to have a dog. My mom said “No, maybe when your nine, we’ll think about it.” I had a little sister that was just born, and honestly my mother wasn’t the biggest pet person. She actually didn’t like pets, especially dogs.

In the beginning of 2005 (the year I was turning nine, kids never forget these promises you know) I brought the promise that my mom made me back up. My mom just shook her head and said “We can’t.”

Then one day, it was around the spring in 2005, my mom and I were sitting in the car waiting for Mallika to come out of piano. She turned to me and said “Mehak, if you were to get a dog, what would you name it?” Without a second thought I replied “Mickey.” Mickey had always been my nickname and for some reason it just felt right that my dog be a part of me. I went home that day and told my dad what my mom had asked. Within an hour my mother was in my room saying “Mehak, I was just asking you for conversation purposes. We can’t get a dog now. Your sister is only three and we just can’t support one right now.” I remember being upset, but completely understanding.

My parents had a motive though. They actually did have thoughts about getting a dog and planned on surprising me with her. My mom’s friend actually already had my new dog picked out and was keeping her at her place.

For weeks my mother and Muskaan would sneak out of the house to take my new dog for her check-ups and take care of everything she needed. When it was time for Mickey to come home with us it was still a month before my birthday, but it made better sense to have her as the summer started.

I remember the day Mickey came to the house so clearly. It was June 4, 2005. It was a Saturday and summer vacation had just started a day earlier on that Friday. I was sitting in my living room with my dad. He was teaching me how to use an old camcorder of his. Half-way through his lesson, my mom told me to go and sweep the garage. She NEVER asked me to sweep the garage. But, I didn’t really think much about it and I did it.

I opened the garage door and started sweeping out all of the grass. About five minutes into it a car pulled up. I recognized her as my mom’s friend and called for my mom. My mother came out of the house, and my dad came out with the camcorder he was teaching me with. They set the scene up perfectly. My life was going to be changed forever.

My mom and her friend were talking and my dad goes back to teaching me how to use the camera. “Mehak this is how you focus the camera, lets focus it on this dog in her (my mother’s friend’s) hands.“ I for some reason missed the little puppy that was in her hands. She was so cute, and so innocent. I asked if I could hold her. The little puppy started to lick my face. My mom looked at me and said, “Mehak do you like her licking you like that? Do you like her?” I replied with “Yes, of course.” How could you not like a puppy? “She’s yours..” my mother said. “Wait what? Are you serious?” I replied with tears coming to my eyes. “Yes, she’s yours,” my mother said reassuringly. That was the one and only time I cried tears of joy. I couldn’t believe it that my parents…My MOM, the same lady who was terrified of dogs (mainly big dogs though) bought me a dog.

I ran inside and gave Mickey a tour of the house. My mother left for errands and my dad took me, Mickey, and my sisters out for Chinese. Mickey slept in the garage the first week. My parents had no clue what to expect about this puppy. She was teething at the time as well, so everything in the garage was bait for destruction. Including my mother’s shoes, my dad’s car keys, and her own collars (I have no clue how she did that but we went through three).

One thing that’s for sure though, that within the first week my mom wanted Mickey gone. It was different for her having a dog in the house and honestly I couldn’t blame her. Her once neat house turned into a dog house, and she initially wasn’t having any of it.

On top of that Mickey barked a lot. A LOT. Our neighbors down the street once even threatened to call the police because she was such a disturbance, I actually think she did once.

She also had a habit of running away. She was like a little Houdini. She was smart and knew just how to sneak out between our legs. When she did escape and she saw you chasing her, she would run faster and faster, it was as if you were playing a game of tag with a cheetah. As time went on she never grew out of the running away, she just got slower within her last year of living so you could catch her.

She also hated baths, you couldn’t make her take baths. After we did it though, she run around and rub herself on the carpet. It was like she was hopped up on caffeine and going crazy. It used to crack me up. I hope I recorded a video of that.

After having Mickey for a year or two, we had some neighbors move in down the road that were professional dog trainers. I thought “Mickey’s fast! This would be perfect!” The lady taught me the ins-and-outs of how to train your dog and she made it sound easy. It wasn’t. The instructors at the doggy school hated Mickey because she barked at all of the other dogs and she refused to listen to anything they had to say. Agility just wasn’t her thing. Actually, anything regarding obedience wasn’t her thing. I tried to teach her at home as well. I set up a tunnel, and jumps. Mickey did them with me, but refused to do it anywhere else. Needless to say, she passed agility, but was asked to repeat the course (so she technically failed).

I taught her a lot of other things too. Like shake, sit, hi-five, down, and bow. She’d only do it for food though which I guess I was okay with. She also loved cheese. She learned the word “cheese” too. Every morning before school, Mickey would wait for my mom to call her because she knew my mom was going to use cheese in our lunch sandwiches. Mickey also learned the words “walk” and “treat”. We resorted to calling it the W-word and T-word so she didn’t know what we were talking about.

Mickey taught me one thing that I don’t think anyone else could teach me. It’s selflessness. She was the least selfish being I have ever come to know. She truly cared for me. She would bark at whoever came to the door to let them know that she was there, and she was there to protect. In that way she was a perfect dog. Nobody entered the house without us knowing because of Mickey. Even the days when she ate something funny outside, she still barked. That’s true selflessness. Doing something because it’s your duty, and you don’t let obstacles stop you.

Mickey loved hunting in West Virginia. I witnessed her killing two chipmunks, two birds, and one time she got into a fight with a snake. That was really crazy and I remember being really hysterical. Luckily, my neighbor was home and he picked up the snake with a shovel and separated the two. We had bears in our backyard too, a whole family actually. Mickey loved barking at them. Luckily they didn’t attack her though. I don’t think they minded her actually.

After 6 years of living in West Virginia, we moved and Mickey did not like it. Back in West Virginia we had a huge backyard, a place for Mickey to run and have fun. Here, we had a little bit of land and a forest. Nowhere for Mickey to go around and run. She got a little depressed for the first month.

Mickey also found some new irrational fear in hardwood floors. She refused to walk anywhere in our house unless we escorted her. I don’t quite understand it, and I don’t think I ever will. But, my friends and I always used to make fun of it when they would come over. I still laugh at it thinking about her.

My sisters also set up an Instagram account for her. They posted pictures of her doing everyday things. I laughed at them for doing it, and I thought that it was kind of silly. Although, now I’m really happy that they did it because I have something to look back on. They used to comment on it and talk as Mickey, which was always really odd to read. But, It was funny as well.

Walks were Mickey’s own escape but it’s not the same as running and feeling free. That why, whenever I turned 16 and I got my car, I started taking Mickey to the dog park 30 mins away. She loved meeting all of the other dogs. I had to put her with the bigs dogs though because she didn’t get a long with the small dogs at all. She had this thought in her head that we was the toughest one there. Yes, I was THAT owner that brought her small dog into the big dog pen.

Mickey would always get compliments from other owners like “Wow, your dog’s 8? There is no way! She looks like she’s 4 our 5.” It’s true. Mickey was way too energetic for her age but I wasn’t complaining, of course. I always figured that Mickey would live a really long and healthy life, like up to 13 or 14 years old, because she looked and acted so young.

After I finished up high school. Mickey had been with us for 9 years. She grew up with me. All throughout the summer I made it a thing to take her to the dog park at least once a week. She loved car rides there, and would always stick her head out the window. They were an escape for me too. It was a great way for us leave everything and help me clear my head, and help her get her exercise.

When it came time to leave her for college, my parents and I thought through all of the options of bringing her with me. It just wouldn’t work this year. I had to get settled living 7 hours away from home and taking on the responsibility of having Mickey would have been too much for me. But, I told them that next year, I wanted to buy a house off of campus and bring her with me. They agreed, because she was of course, my dog. After a week into college Mickey started throwing up at home a lot. Before I left for college I took Mickey for her medical check up and everything looked fine, so we were unsure about what was wrong.

I figured she was throwing up because she might have had worms or something that dogs get. Schnauzers also have really sensitive stomachs and maybe her food didn’t suit her. We switched her food to something more stomach sensitive but, she was still throwing up. My mother took her into the doctor, and everything came out negative. She suspected issues with the pancreas, but the doctors said blood work was coming out negative and everything looked normal.

They couldn’t find anything wrong. The doctors thought she was constipated and sent her home with a prescription for laxatives. Last Sunday, was November 2nd. Mickey was ill. She was shaking and looking like she was in a lot of pain. We called the doctors, and they said to bring her back in. Monday they ran blood tests again and they found Mickey did in fact have pancreatitis. She was in the hospital all week. She was throwing up. They were feeding her through an IV and the swelling was starting to go down.

My mother was keeping me updated through calls and on Thursday my mother sent me a picture of a happy Mickey. I was relieved. Mickey was a healthy dog, and this was just a freak thing right?

Wrong. Friday my family was prepared to bring Mickey home, but she was depressed. Thursday night the doctors found a lump that had just formed on her stomach. They said that it could be serious, but she showed no other signs of cancer so it couldn’t be, could it? They took a biopsy Thursday night and sent it in.

Friday morning my mother called me, and said she was waiting to hear back from the doctor. My mother and I didn’t think anything else could be wrong, but we were wrong.

The doctor called my mother around 3:30 in the afternoon to confirm that Mickey did have cancer, pancreatic cancer. It was aggressive, and Mickey didn’t have much longer to live. My dad called me around 4:00pm on Friday. It was straight and to the point. “Yeah Mehak, um.. Mickey has cancer.” my father said with no emotion, or maybe he was trying to hold it back. “Wait what?” I said with disbelief. “We are euthanizing her tonight.” he added.

I don’t think I have ever felt so helpless. I was so far away and there was nothing I could do. “You can’t do that!” I screamed at him. “That’s my dog. I am not there for her and you can’t put her to sleep until I can be there.” I added angrily and upset. My dad was quiet on the other line and after a few seconds replied. “Mehak we have to, she is suffering too much and you are almost 7 hours away.”

I hung up on my dad and called my mom, and went through the same thing with her. “Mehak she’s on IV and the moment we take her off she’ll be in unbearable pain.” she said. “The doctors have said it would be best for her that we put her out of her pain now.” She said this calmly trying to hold back tears on the other side.

I was literally banging my head against the staircase in some building that I had just run into. “Lets put you on Skype so you can be here too.” my mom said. I watched Mickey’s last breaths over Skype in some rundown building on Purdue’s campus. It was like I was watching a movie, but that was my dog. My best friend.

We did this for the best, and I know that. My biggest regret and one thing that I will regret for the rest of my life is that I wasn’t there with my best friend during her last moments.

Mickey has gotten me through a lot of stuff, and the one time she needed me, I was off living my life somewhere else. I let her down by not being there for her that day. I didn’t have a choice though. Mickey was without doubt in a lot of pain and chemotherapy wasn’t an option for the pancreas.

Mickey was defending our house until she couldn’t anymore. The Sunday before she died, she still defended our house when the piano teacher and math teacher came over. I can’t even think about how much pain she must have actually been in. That shows her selflessness.

Cancer had completely engulfed her little body. She wasn’t all there on Friday. But, I can’t help but wonder what she was thinking about me. I wasn’t there for her. She had protected me from so much, and I wasn’t there for her. I want to say I made the selfless decision of letting her go without a formal goodbye because she was in so much pain, and meeting her would have been closure for me, but not for her.

It sounds crazy, but I just wish she would come to me and give me a signal that she is alright. Because that’s all that I really want. That I made the right choice of not letting her wait for me.

My mother and Mickey and had a funny beginning, and an interesting relationship. As I said before, my mother wasn’t a big dog person. But, she became a Mickey person. I sometimes think my mother and Mickey actually had a stronger bond than I did with Mickey. I think its because in the beginning Mickey was fighting for my mom’s approval of her. When Mickey died, it affected my mom in a way that I never thought it would. I owe my life with Mickey to my mom. She made that sacrifice for me in the beginning, and in time Mickey made sacrifices for us, and my mom. We lost a family member, a true Vohra this weekend.

Don’t take your life for granted. Because, even the good things don’t last. Mickey has taught me selflessness and loyalty. I know that a part of her will always be with me.

Thank you Mickey for being so amazing. I love you.

Mickey Vohra

March 18, 2005 — November 7, 2014

pics courtesy of @mickey_v9 on Instagram.