Thursday, April 25, 2013


Maddie Not Happy
We've been very blessed.  We had a dog who has been loved by us for almost 15 years.  We had so much fun with each other.  We've taken countless pictures of her and I don't think she could have asked for a better life.  She's gug holes in the backyard, eaten steak off my my plate when I wasn't looking, ran out the door and down the street, got in the trash, boot-scooted inappropriately, and mooched for food without any evidence of humility.  But I have been blessed.

We got Maddie when she was two months old, from a lady who hosted a bible study we attended.  Two months earlier, her dog had four or five puppies and we were able to see them when they were first born.  Maddie was the only brown one, and my girls asked if they could have her.  They didn't ask me of course, but plans were already in motion.

Cuddling with Lindsey
The night we brother her home, she was kind of listless and lethargic.  My neighbor said that it was something to be concerned about as puppies tend to get sick with all those horrible diseases that puppies have to endure.  We hoped that wasn't the case, but for about three days, she had us wondering.  The only activity she really offered was whining in the middle of the night in the backroom where she slept, but we kept the light on for her, so she wouldn't be scared.

But after three days...

This dog figured out that she was home and quickly became the center of attention.  She was the center of my daughter's attention, at least.  I wasn't totally sold on the idea of having a dog, but I gradually warmed to the idea.

Playing Dress-Up
My girls dressed her up in shirts and skirts, hats, glasses...anything that wouldn't fall off.  I can't count the number of bows that were placed on her head.  In the mornings, she would run from her sleeping area, jump on the bed and lick me to death.  I called it, "Doggie Love" and would sing "Doggie Love" to her to the tune of "Baby Love."  Yeah, that's corny.  I don't even know why I put that out there for all to see.  But, it just shows that she was a happy dog and she fit right in with this family.

Drama Queen
As my girls got older, they tended to lose some interest in Maddie, as boys started coming into the picture, but even the boyfriends loved Maddie as well. In spite of all the girl stuff that came along with getting older, they still spent time with her, and kept on loving her as before.  They gave her a lot of attention, more so than other teenagers.  Whenever they would tan out in the backyard, they would have her out there with them.  When they learned to drive, they would take her in the car for a ride.  My wife and I became more patient with her, as she slept more and didn't get into so much trouble.  We also learned that by calling her lovingly and not yelling at her for running out the front door, she was a lot more responsive to coming back, and it was always more of a funny experience than a frustrating event.  Even in her last days, she would try to get out the front gate.

Her life was filled with love, treats, pictures, squeaky balls, stuff animals, and all the things that a dog could hope for.

Maddie with Kellie
Her last few days were spent in comfort, and my youngest daughter spent a lot of time with her, carrying her to her bedroom and snuggling on her bed, as well as spending time with her outside the last day.  When she stopped drinking water, we knew it was a matter of time.  Last night, I hit the gym early, because I wanted to be here at the house when she passed.  My daughters came by the gym (I keep my phone in the locker) while I was winding down and told me she had passed fifteen minutes earlier.

I went back to the house as quickly as I could, and I could see her in the window where she always greeted me when I came home, except she was gone.  She was laying on her bed, as still as I have ever seen her before.  I walked in, and immediately got down on the floor and I laid there with her, just one last time to say goodbye.  To say I wasn't crying would be a lie.

Mom Thwarting Her Escape
What's remarkable about this wonderful dog is that she was part of my daughters' foundation, from their childhood to adulthood.  My daughters were 4 and 7 when we brought Maddie home and now they're 19 and 22.  When I was a kid, I had numerous dogs, and while I remember certain things about them, I can't remember personalities or quirky behaviors that are ingrained in my daughters' memories such as their memories of Maddie.  They will have stories about her to share with their children, and with their grandchildren.  They will share how much they loved her and how much love she gave to them.  It's a love story like no other.

I find that writing is a great way to reduce stress as well as counter grief.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't grieving today.  My blog today is from a letter that I wrote a few weeks ago as she was declining.  It was summarized as "if Maddie could write" and what she would have to say to us, as follows:

"If my family could hear me speak, I would tell them: Don’t be sad, because whatever spirit God gave me will remain in your hearts, as my love for you is too much.  They say that all dogs go to Heaven, and I’m hoping that’s true.  If it is, I will be waiting for you with my tail wagging and a squeaky ball in front of me so that we can play forever and ever.  

I have been blessed.  

There are no words to describe how much I love all of you, except that I love all of you so very much.  Thank you for the most wonderful life any dog could have.

Maddie Dog"  

No, Maddie, it is all of us who have been blessed, and while it's not written in the Bible, I do have a hope that all dogs do go to Heaven, and that we'll have a chance to see you once again.

Goodbye old girl...I love you.

Maddie Dog (1998-2013)

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