Dogs have tails, cold wet noses, and tongues that attack you ears and cheeks. These are the things they use to worm their way into your heart.
Maggie, a pure breed black lab was a puppy rescue. She came from a frustrated couple who could no longer accept another piece of furniture destroyed or her charging over to a neighbor’s house to play with their dogs, even though she was not wanted by either the neighbor or their dogs.
At the time she was only 6 months old but was nevertheless a stout and imposing figure. My daughter had formally had a black lab that she was not able to keep, but now more settled down she could certainly have the joy of a new friendship with this special dog. Besides, her toddler son, Skyler, needed a companion, so a new home was found for this lovable, playful little puppy.
My grandson named the dog Maggie and a friendship was starting to form. Maggie’s habits though had not changed enough to find her a forever home since the things she chewed at my daughter’s house were more expensive than even her previous owners had experienced.
So, Maggie came to live with me, that was 14 years ago.
She got along with my other dogs, as long as they knew who was boss. She turned out to be quite an athlete. Maggie, as a growing dog, could jump a 5-foot fence from a complete stand still. Once on the other side she didn’t wonder off. I guess she just had to know what was on the other side.
As a bird hunter she had a keen nose, and worked hard to find a hidden bird. She was relentless in spite of her owner missing the shot more often than not. One time in Missouri it was such a joy to see her work the field with her companion, a German shorthair pointer. He would point the location of the bird and Maggie would flush and retrieve the quarry. What a beautiful sight!
On any hunt, she would not allow the other dog to retrieve any birds. She sure was a glory hog, wanting all the attention and reward for a job well done.
That all seems like a lifetime ago. Now gray and overweight she couldn’t even hop into the front of my truck floorboard to go for a ride. Now, jumping down 15 inches seemed more than she was willing to tackle. What a change the years have made in Maggie.
Along with her many health problems, last Monday Maggie went to the happy hunting ground where she can chase around a bird like the puppy she once was.
Maggie has left us with a legacy of mostly fond memories for the time she spent at our house. Her tail never stopped wagging when we came out to see her. Her tongue was as quick as ever and she would delight in ambushing my nose when my face got too close to her head. I can still remember the twinkle in her eye when she knew she had gotten me with that sloppy wet tongue.
Funny, nothing prepares you for the end of a pet’s life and it always seems so sudden even when the signs are visible that the end may soon come.
So, this is a tribute to Maggie, a dog that brought as much joy as she did frustration into our home. Thanks for the fond memories you left behind, Maggie. We will miss your quirky personality. Good-bye dear friend.
Note: Those who have owned and lost a pet for any reason, understand the grief that follows. That’s what The Grief & Wellness Group is here for.
The Grief & Wellness Group, Inc.
Bob has 18 years of experience as an educator and administrator. As a Grief Recovery Specialist and a Veteran, he delights in helping individuals move beyond the pain of loss.