Thursday, June 21, 2007
Goodbye, dear Maggie
We knew the day would soon come, and we'd been dreading it for quite some time. When you have a 16-year-old dog, you tend to start automatically checking if she's breathing every time you see her asleep. But knowing it's coming doesn't necessarily make it any easier to lose a beloved family pet.
On Sunday, Father's Day, Garfield finally took Maggie, our Brittany Spaniel, to be put down. It was time. We could tell for days that she was dying, and we couldn't stand to see her suffer any longer. We'd said our good-byes back in December when she had a series of seizures, but she bounced back. However, this time was different. We knew there'd be no bouncing back.
So we said our good-byes again, preparing Emma for several days that Maggie would be going to "Doggie Heaven" very soon. I made sure she loved on Maggie plenty of times each day, and we took one final walk, such as it was, around the neighboorhood. It was all I could do to hold back tears as I walked behind them, hearing Emma softly tell the dog things like "Just take it easy, girl. We'll walk wherever you want to go. I don't want you to go to doggie heaven and be with all your other friends...I want you to stay here with me forever."
Other than the disconsolate sobbing that Emma did when we first told her Maggie had finally gone, she's doing better than I expected so far. She still talks about her dog every day, and some of the things she says just hurt my heart. She spends a lot of time looking up at the sky in deep thought, until she lets me know that she's "just checking to see if Maggie might poke her head out through the clouds". The poor little girl has lost her absolute best friend in the world. I hurt for her.
I suppose it's mostly for Emma's sake that I'm sad, but I do find myself getting choked up from time to time. I'm not the type to treat an animal as though it were a person, but I've never known married life without Maggie around. She was a truly loyal companion to me in those days before children when I would've otherwise spent a lot of time home alone during the day. I think it'll be quite some time before I lose the habit of wanting to take special leftovers outside, or before I stop expecting to hear her nails on the door whenever it starts to rain. Emma and I will be catching ourselves in actions and conversations pertaining to Maggie for some time, I'm sure. Our walks will feel quite different, and our yard quite empty.
We love you, girl. You've left a Maggie-shaped void in our hearts.