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.”

Baby Maggie and Millie (formerly known as The Yellow Girls)

Baby Maggie and Millie (formerly known as The Yellow Girls)

From the start, Maggie got to me with that contented, sanguine look of hers.

At the South Utah County Animal Shelter with Maggie and Millie (and an appropriate built-in caption)

At the South Utah County Animal Shelter with Maggie and Millie (and an appropriate background caption)

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.

That day at the vet's when Maggie recognized her master's voice.

That day at the vet’s when Maggie recognized her master’s voice. Thirty pounds of puppies and me–well, my hand and foot.

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 prayers 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.

Autumn hike, Dec 2015

Autumn hike, Dec 2015

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.)

Maggie at Big Springs, Nov 2015

Maggie at Big Springs, Nov 2015

Maggie in Rock Canyon, Nov 2015

Maggie in Rock Canyon, Nov 2015

At Big Springs, Autumn 2015

Foothills north of Orem, Autumn 2015

Overlooking Provo Canyon, Dec 2015

Overlooking Provo Canyon, Dec 2015

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.

Her last hike--lasted about two minutes.

Her last hike–lasted about two minutes

In the end she gave in.

At the vet's office.

At the vet’s office, Wednesday morning, 30 March 2016

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 . . . .

It's taken a few days to complete--so it's not technically a daily sketch--but this is my good-bye painting for Maggie.

It’s taken a few days to complete–so it’s not technically a daily sketch–but this is my good-bye painting for Maggie.

6 Thoughts on “Maggie and Me—a tribute

  1. Leta Hansen on 4 April 2016 at 7:16 AM said:

    I am so sorry for your loss of Maggie. Our pets offer us so much during their lives and ask so little in return. Maggie seems to have had a good life with you and her spirit will always be with you.

  2. Layna on 4 April 2016 at 12:45 PM said:

    What a nice tribute. Brought tears to my eyes. So grateful the Lord saw fit to bless us with special spirits that touch our lives, make wonderful friends and companions, bring us joys (and sometimes heartaches), and encourage us through the days and years of this life.

    • Many’s the time I’ve thanked Him for these blessed young ones. I’m not always the best dog-mom, but I’ve done my doggonedest. I hope I’ve been a blessing to them as they’ve been to me.

  3. Terri Lynn hatlo on 4 April 2016 at 1:06 PM said:

    Sue, I’m so sorry for the loss of your dearly loved Maggie. You describe her entrance into, and departure from your life so poignantly. Here’s hoping that the three of you will comfort each other in your time of sorrow. Well, my words are completely inadequate for what I want to convey. The tears will stop, the memories will season, but Maggie will still not be there. I hope April showers will bring a brighter May. Ok, I’m stopping now. ❤️

    • Losing a dog stinks, that’s a fact, but there are silver linings. Those nights when something reminds us of something they did, and we fall all over ourselves laughing at their remembered antics. Usually we’ve got another one or two dogs looking perplexedly on, which makes it all the more hilarious. Maggie never outgrew the puppy-like tendency to lie down with crossed paws. It was an adorable trait. So, yeah, Maggie won’t be here anymore, but I hope to notice her spirit hanging around again once in awhile.

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