Last night, we took Maggie to the vet for the last time. The little pom-terrier mix-mutt was part of our lives for more than eleven years, and I've had a lump in my throat all day. I really owe Tracy Brainard an apology. Years ago she called the church building (in tears) asking for her family to be put on the prayer list because they had just lost a dog. I think I responded appropriately, but I thought the woman had lost her mind. It's just a dog, right? No, Maggie wasn't just a dog. Sorry, Tracy; I understand now.
The picture at right was taken at the pound in Williamsburg where we got Maggie (on one of several visits we had to make before we were allowed to take her home). They guess-timated that Maggie was 2-5 years old when we got her, so she lived to the ripe old age of 12-16 (and in doggie years, that's... well, you do the math). She had a good life, but the tumor that had grown from golf ball size through softball size was heading for bowling ball size, and she was deaf and almost blind. And it was time. There are many things pets remind us about life-- like that it doesn't last forever.
Angelynn had asked us for a dog since... well, since as long as I can remember. But we were never going to get her a dog because we're just not dog people. At some point, Mom told us that we should probably get the child a dog, and Keri started looking at all the area pounds. And before I knew it, Maggie was living INSIDE our house (which we also said would never, ever happen) and sleeping in our bed (which she continued to do for years until SHE decided she would be more comfortable on the floor at the end of the bed). I'm still not really a dog person, but I turned out to be a Maggie person.
So I felt like I needed to mark Maggie's passing with something, so Maggie gets one last blog. I've actually written several about her over the years-- the short piece below was written in March 2008. It was titled "Maggie the Wonder Dog."
My lunch break yesterday reads a little like an old episode of Lassie. I was home on my lunch hour minding my own business and eating my peanut butter and (no sugar added) jelly sandwich when Maggie started barking. Now usually that means that the mailman has just delivered our mail. There was no mail when I went to the front door, but there was smoke, and lots of it, coming out from behind our across-the-street neighbor's backyard. I got my cell phone and went over to investigate, wanting to make sure someone wasn't barbecuing on a really big grill before I called the fire department. Sure enough, the back yard was on fire. I'm not talking just a little bit on fire; the grass, shrubs, pine needle mulch, split rail fence and several trees were burning and the flames had jumped to the other side of the fence. The smoke was so thick by that time that I couldn't tell how far back it went.
So I called 911, and 5 minutes later a fire truck pulled up and fireman jumped out and started doing their fireman thing. Fifteen minutes later, a second fire truck pulled up to add its crew to the mix. Firemen were running around grabbing hoses, axes and shovels just like on TV. I watched the show for awhile chatting with another neighbor before going back to work. I went over after supper to chat with the guy across the street and see the damage. It came fairly close to the house, but nothing was really hurt except a fence that he said he has been meaning to replace. If the fire had burned much longer, that could have been very different.
So Maggie the Wonder Dog saved the day. I still have no idea if she was really barking at the fire or not. She may have glimpsed a squirrel running for its life across the street... which is exactly what any squirrel in the vicinity would have been doing. But there is a good chance I would've have noticed what was going on had she not been barking. So we'll credit Maggie the Wonder Dog with saving our neighbor's house. And then she went out and found Timmy who had fallen down a well.
Good-bye, girl, Good dog!