November 11, 2005 - February 4, 2013
The day came, although I pretended it never would. Ever since Maggie Mae entered my life, if I ever made reference to her departing, it was accompanied by "a long, long, long time from now" or sometimes more wistfully, "But, Maggie's going to live forever." I believe I truly thought she would never leave my side with a child like naivety. I never wanted her to.
She was and always will be my life's finest friend.
I love that word to describe her ... finest.
So simple, as Maggie too was ... yet so profound, like her impact on my life.
* * *
Maggie Mae joined our family in 2008, almost immediately after Justin and I were married. She was a "rescue dog" of sorts, a retired breeding dam. We were told she was an excellent mother; a quality she would later prove when I brought home babies of my own. At first, Maggie was painfully shy. She had never been a pet, and she wasn't sure what to make of toys, treats, and cuddling on the sofa. Gradually, she learned to trust us ... and soon she chose me as her "person." Her breed, Brussels Griffons, are known as "velcro dogs," meaning they attach themselves to a single caregiver and follow them everywhere. So, whether I was in the shower or making breakfast, there she was. She was my first baby ... and my love for her never wavered.
Maggie Mae has been my secret sharer for the last 5 years. She witnessed my worst, yet continued believing I was the best creation in this world. When Jackson was diagnosed with PIS, I turned to her with reckless abandonment, because I never felt the need to explain my tears. She understood them. She never questioned, gave advice, or made me feel silly. There was little I found more comforting than feeling her small warmth beside my body. Knowing she would be there when I returned home from an upsetting trip to Shriner's was a comfort like no other.
Now, my heart is broken. I ache to have her back with me. After bringing Maggie home from the vet on Saturday afternoon, her condition rapidly declined. Although we had hoped it would, the diuresis did not return Maggie's energy. She was almost immediately lethargic and continued to be unwilling to eat. By Sunday morning, she was showing signs of withdrawal from us and generalized weakness. By that afternoon, her back legs were unable to bend, and she was stumbling when trying to walk. On Sunday evening, when I returned from being out, I found Maggie Mae lying on the kitchen floor by her water bowl. I feared she had passed away because she did not respond to my entrance. However, upon approaching her, she lifted her head to look up at me. I carried her to the couch and spent the next few hours just stroking her fur and expressing my love. Once Justin came home from work, Maggie's condition was very, very poor. We knew that she was ready to go home ... even if that meant making the difficult decision to let her go in the morning.
To the very core of her being, Maggie Mae put us first. After telling her everything we needed to say, including countless "I love yous," Justin and I both tried to sleep downstairs with her. Maggie was lying on her favorite blanket in her "special spot" on the corner of our couch. We did not want to leave her. Justin grew uncomfortable on the floor, and asked me to sleep upstairs so he could have the couch, and I obliged. By that time, Maggie did not want to be approached or touched. I blew my Maggie a kiss and said "I love you sweet girl, goodnight," and climbed the staircase. Within 5 minutes, Justin called up to me to tell me that Maggie Mae had passed away. It was around 1:15 AM. In true Maggie fashion, she waited until I, her "person," had left the room to pass ... and she did so on her own, freeing us from the burden of having to make the decision.
What an angel.
* * *
I have good moments and bad ones. There are moments when I chuckle aloud, remember the way she used to bully Tobey off of my parents' bed when she was younger. Then, there are moments like this evening, when I find myself turning toward her spot on the couch and motioning for her to follow me up to bed. I crumble in tears. I am blessed to have know my wonderful "stinky Griff." I am forever changed by her unwavering devotion until the very moment she was called home.
This morning when Jackson walked down the stairs, he said to us: "Maggie float away." I don't think that was a coincidence. Perhaps our loyal girl even visited Jackson's dreams to tell him goodbye as she left this place. It would not surprise me one bit.
I am imagining her that way now ... floating away towards the heavens ... greeted by Tobey, and Prissy, and Spot ... making a new "special spot" on the Rainbow Bridge until the day we will meet again.
Rest In Peace, Maggie Mae.
You are my finest friend.