Maggie and I had an agreement–when she went, she’d take me with her. Actually, I’m not sure Maggie ever agreed, I mean, we didn’t shake on it. (I should have made her shake; she knew how to shake on command.) On Wednesday morning, 30 March 2016, I had to release her from her semi-contract.
24 Feb 2004: Maggie and her litter-mate sister, Millie, came to live with us. They were 2-3-month-old puppies we adopted from the South Utah County Animal Shelter, through Lab Rescue of Utah. We picked them out from an online photo titled “the Yellow Girls.”
From the start, Maggie got to me with that contented, sanguine look of hers.
The day after we brought the girls home, we had to take them to the vet to get their last set of shots. We suspected Maggie was having a little trouble (with something personal), so we had to leave her with the vet for a couple of hours. My friend gave me a ride over to pick her up.
They were keeping Maggie in a back room, and went to go fetch her. The assistant had to put this little puppy (OK, she was fifteen pounds) on a leash–which she resisted, as all good puppies will–and drag her down the hall. I saw them go by and cried out, “Maggie!” She turned toward me and dragged the assistant back to the room where I was waiting. I’ve never forgotten that moment–when she recognized my voice and ran to me.
There were plenty of times when Maggie could be a pill. She and Millie ran away from home whenever they got the chance, the brats! After leading us a merry chase, they always came happily back home. We finally, finally got the fence fixed and that put a stop to escapes.
Three years ago we had to let Sister Millie go–she had cancer. It was in March. (We also lost our dog Christy in March a number of years ago.)
Last October Maggie was so sick that we thought she needed to be let go. A few days before the scheduled appointment, I posted about it on Facebook. Some of our friends prayed for us and cared about us–thoughts and prays work: Maggie got better! I’ve been calling it a Facebook miracle. But we knew Maggie wasn’t going to live forever. During her five remaining months she went on numerous hikes with us–always lagging behind, but always game to be there.
Maggie was a photogenic dog. On most hikes we got a really pretty portrait of her. (It’s easy to get a photo of a dog sitting still.)
We somehow lost track of Maggie’s age and added a year to it. She was really only 12 years old–not 13–when she died. (We can blame that on Polly–she’s aged us all.)
Last Wednesday morning Kerry woke me up because he thought Maggie was dying in agony. It was another seizure–she’d had a few in the past five months; they only lasted a few seconds, but this one went on and on and on. Though she slowly recovered, the seizure was the sign we’d been needing. “She’s never going through something like that again,” we decided. Kerry made the phone call and got us an “emergency” appointment.
I’m not sure why, but Maggie didn’t want her picture taken; she would NOT look at the camera. Did she sense what the photo meant? Do photographs really steal one’s soul?
We had enough time before her appointment, so we drove up into the foothills and let the two dogs out of the car. Overly friendly, unshy Maggie still wouldn’t look at the camera.
In the end she gave in.
When we got home Kerry had to go to work, so Polly and I prepared to take a walk. As I got Polly’s walking gear out of the closet I glimpsed, out of the corner of my eye, Maggie shambling down the stairs to join us. And then she was gone again. Perhaps she was still trying to keep her pseudo-agreement not to leave me behind . . . .