The Life of “Miracle Minnie”
November 1996 – August 18, 2011
“Miracle Minnie” Matsumoto was rescued from Rancho Coastal Humane Society in June of 1998 by Joanne Matsumoto. We refer to her as “Miracle Minnie” because of the many times she had close calls with death. When we brought her home, the humane society said she was a year and a half old, so we really don’t know her exact age. Her first homecoming was love at first sight. Joanne and I can recall that beautiful day, when we got back to our house as she romped around in the ivy in our front yard as if to say, “Here I am, home at last!” From that day on, our lives have never been the same.
Quickly we noticed the great things about our Minnie, as well as the bad issues. We realized she was not leash trained, and liked to snap at people who would swing their hands as they walked. She was good with us, but had no patience for bikes, skateboards, or many other dogs. Her good qualities of affection, excitement, intelligence, and talent, quickly overshadowed her bad ones. She was very smart and learned how to open our gate and get out. She decided early that our yard was her place and decided not to open the gate unless she was going into the yard. Minnie loved car rides, her walks to the beach, learning obedience and running.
We enrolled her into an obedience class which she really enjoyed. The instructor taught us some basic agility, so we started doing agility with her. She did well, but never really liked it as much as we did. One of the handlers in the class said she might do well in flyball. We didn’t even know what flyball was, but went to watch and soon we started training. Minnie did well, but the learning was slow due to a few setbacks. After a year of training Minnie tried to run her first race in Ventura. She left the start line made a right turn and ran down the dunes at the beach. After a mile run I captured her. It took a couple of months before she was ready to race again, and this time she was a success! Minnie raced for 6 years, until she was ten and a half. She ran off at least four more times, right near traffic in Los Angeles, in Valley Center, Del Mar, and Chula Vista. Minnie, however, did very well in flyball, became very solid and earned many titles. She learned to ignore all the other dogs and concentrate on her racing. She loved to bark wildly at the start line even though she usually ran in third position.
Minnie was a real chow hound and enjoyed stealing food in the kitchen whenever she could. She was the instigator and stole the food, then she and Vegas would eat it. “Little Min” was a tough dog with a big attitude. In her early years she did not want to take anything from any dog. Once on dog beach, she got all the dogs chasing her as she out ran them. She then came running to me as I scooped her up for her own protection. As she aged, she became much calmer, but never gave up the big attitude completely.
When she was almost thirteen she was diagnosed with kidney disease. We were devastated, and refused to let her die without giving her our best efforts. Joanne and I read and learned everything we could about renal disease. We were able to get her levels to drop lower than half of what it was when she was first diagnosed by using herbs, acupuncture, and medicine. We had to give her medicine and fluids under the skin daily, and towards the end of her journey, medicine hourly. The three of us became experts about how the disease progresses and what symptoms it causes. The day before Minnie passed away, she was able to have the drive and stamina for her “Final Walk” around the perimeter of the hospital with the two of us. She was weak and unstable, but determined as ever to enjoy that last reunion with Mom and Dad. As was predicted, Minnie was overcome by the disease on the morning of August 18th, 2011, but not without a valiant effort on her part.
Minnie had a terrific life even though she was stricken with kidney disease the last two years of her life. Just days before she passed away, she was still going for walks at the beach and to the local library. It is because of this one little dog that Joanne and I were able to learn about flyball and start our own team, Ballistic Racers Flyball Team. Minnie was able to enjoy flyball, agility, obedience, walks, car rides, church service, airplane flights to Catalina Island, and travels to Las Vegas and many other places. Minnie was the church mascot and each December accompanied us to Christmas Caroling for the seniors at various nursing homes. Joanne dressed with her with reindeer horns and red vest to entertain the seniors. Now in Heaven, Minnie enjoys her Grandpa, and has given us some of the best memories of our lives.
Many Thanks to God, Minnie and all those who helped us care for her,
Brian and Joanne