Posted by: lylahledner | December 24, 2007

Maggie looked so peaceful

Good friends, like Mike and Anita are rare. I’m thankful that we are surrounded by them.

It was time. Michael placed sweet, brown eyed Maggie on a piece of carpet from the garage. It was a clean, good piece of carpet.  He told her that she was going for a Magic Carpet Ride. That helped, but not too much.

I had to drive. I needed something to help me go data and in my vain attempt to subdue so much emotion.

My eyes hurt. My heart hurts.

My house smells like Maggie. Michael threw away her pink dog bowls. I’m glad, and yet I feel sad.

I drove. Michael sat in the back seat to comfort Maggie. It’s as if she knew something was up. We wonder if she wasn’t thinking that she was going to the dog groomers. She hated going to the dog groomers. We liked it when she went to the dog groomers.

My Dog’s Hair Salon, was Maggies dreaded place. I never did brush her. I just couldn’t see taking the time or making the time to brush the long, silky hair of a Shitzu. Besides, she looked so cute with “the shave” as I called it.  Whenever she came home from My Dog’s Hair Salon, she acted like a prima dona. She knew she was cute. I think she liked it – eventually.

Anita was waiting for us and Mike arrived shortly after we got to their home. Originally, it was Mike, Michael and myself who planned to make the trip to the place.  Anita, sensed my grief, and she offered to come to. I was hoping she would. She knows me. I’m thankful she does.

Michael and Mike sat in the back seat – both having a part of Maggie’s body across their legs. Anita sat next to me. I drove.  We all had some tears and remembrances of little things Maggie would do.

Maggie was sorta Mike and Anita’s dog too. For years, she was in their family Christmas pictures, because for years Michael and I would be gone for Christmas to be with our daughters and their family in Portland. People used to ask them about their dog. It was cute.

Just before we pulled into the parking lot of the Humane Society of Phoenix, we had a discusssion of something I thought was settled. I wanted Maggie back home and I wanted her to have a burial.  It was agreed that we would bring her back and bury her. Michael asked Mike if he’d help him. Yes. He would help him.

Michael and Mike went inside to find out the drill. Anita and I sat in the back seat with Maggie: petting her, talking to her, soothing her and reasurring her about her Magic Carpet Ride.

The guys came back out. Good news. No wait. Michael and Mike jointly carried Maggie into the building - giving her a Magic Carpet Ride. She was pretty peaceful looking.

We walked in to the center and a sweet, kind, young girl did her drill. She quickly took the magic carpet with Maggie on it out of M & M’s hands.  She gave us some instruction, and I have no clue what that was, but I obeyed.

Maggie looked at the four of us. We said whatever it was that we said to her and then stood their in the presence of strangers and wept profusely. I looked at my husband’s face and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it so sad, so contorted and red.  I’m sure we all looked the same.

We loved Maggie.  They say that people rescue dogs. I don’t think so. I think dogs rescue people. Maggie rescued our family. She rescued us from ourselves.  She helped us be other-centered. 

Maggie wasn’t the cuddling type of dog. She was more of an independent lady. She liked to be close by. She liked to lay near our feet. She liked anything, but her way.

I think of all the grandkids, Miriam seemed to be most endeared toward Maggie. She would, occassionaly, pretend that Maggie was her baby.

I don’t know how the grandkids will process coming to Nana and Poppies house and Maggie not being here. I’m sure we’ll show them her final resting place.  Maybe they won’t even notice. Will they?

After the sweet, kind, young girl whisked Maggie away, we were quickly ushered into a waiting room. It was the kind where grieving people go, like at the hospital. We wept and wept. Do you know how good it is to weep with friends, who really weep with you about the same thing that you’re weeping about?

It seemed to be taking too long. The sweet, kind, young girl said it would be a few minutes. Thirty minutes wasn’t a few minutes. Did Maggie resurrect? Maybe they discovered what was wrong with her and they fixed it and she was going back home – whole and bouncy and happy.

We left the holding room for weepy pet owners and stood in silence in the front office. Finally, our girl came out and opened a door. “Do you want to see Maggie?” No. Yes. No. Yes. I stepped forward, for some reason I wanted to see my Maggie girl. One last moment. A moment in time stood still.  These kinds of moments stink.

She pulled a black garbage bag out of a pillow case. Anita noticed the delicate flowers on the pillow case. In spite of her independence, those flowers were Maggie. 

Eight eyes were peeled on the unraveling of the garbage bag. She exposed her face, her legs and her body.  Why were her eyes opened? I guess God did that. She looked so peaceful. She was resting – finally. No pain. No sad eyes. No twitching. No more trying to get up, unsuccessfully. We pet her, one more time.

Because old dogs have poor circulation, Maggie needed a second shot. The sweet, kind young girl, said they weren’t sure it took fully, as her eyes still twitched. I’m glad they gave her a second shot.

Did she fight? Did she know we weren’t there? Does she know we’ll be marked forever by her life. Does she know that she rescued us?

I didn’t need to drive home. Mike did. Anita and I sat in the back seat. I felt wasted. I feel wasted.

We arrived home and Michael gently picked up his dog, our dog. He carried her to the back yard to the determined place – the final place to put to rest a rescuing dog.

The tree fort area of our yard is Maggies new place. Mike and Michael dug through rock to get the appropriate size hole. Mike gave Michael the honor of laying her down. They said a thank you Lord for the joy she was and put the dirt on her body covered by the pillowcase with the delicate flowers.

I love my husband. He cares for me. He cleaned up the place in the dining room where she last laid. That spot and the one in the family room and the one in the living room and the one in the entry way and the one in the hall way will always be Maggie’s place.

I don’t think I can do this again.  Anita says that there are so many other things in having a pet that make the this worth it.

I’m thankful it’s over. I’m thankful she’s resting. I’m thankful for the gift she was to me. Maggie – you were a good dog. Thanks for rescuing me.

Posted by: lylahledner | December 23, 2007

Maggie is not gone . . .yet

This morning, I was so surprised to hear Maggie.

She barked. Not a bark without pain.

Are we cruel to prolong the inevitable?

When Michael and I came to her aide, she looked at us with big brown eyes.  Sad eyes.

If they could talk, they would say, “Why am I still laying here? I need to get up. I need food. I need water. I need to go out my doggy door, because that’s what I do.”

She even wagged her tale. How cruel is that?

Put that tale down, please.

I have this darn lump in my throat.  My faces feel contorted and my heart aches. I am helpless today, again.

I got a plate of water and dear, sweet Maggie, lapped it up. Michael soothed her little neck.

Big brown eyes. Sad eyes of trust, love and helplessness.

A decision has been made. One that many dog and cat owners have made. Today is her day. Not ours, but hers.

Candace described her own agony. Linda described her own agony. Meisha and Darby Rose had their day.

This stinks. She is teaching me something. How to live when you die.

I see her pink dog bowls. Water. Food. They are near my computer desk.

I’m so sad.

I can’t see my computer screen.

Posted by: lylahledner | December 23, 2007

When good dogs die

It’s a cool winter night here in the desert.  I’ve got the heat up to 72 degrees.  I don’t want Maggie to shiver so much.

Maggie is my dog.  My dog is dying.

The inevitable is happening. We didn’t think it would or at least not yet, but it is.  Maggie has always seemed to bounce back, but today, it’s been different. Tonight, we know she is dying. 

Death is so weird. It stinks.  This Pet Check Up site says that, “Although we know death is an inevitable part of life, there is really no way to adequately prepare ourselves for the passing of a loved one, whether human or animal.”

I didn’t think I’d be so sad.

Maggie came into our life, because Jenni really needed a puppy. She didn’t like Arizona. She didn’t like leaving her friends. She didn’t like life, too much. 

Maggie helped change things for Jenni.

Maggie helped change things for us.

This Pet Check Up site also says, “Yet, if we choose to be mindful, even in their passing, we will discover that our animal friend continues to teach us precious lessons about love, trust and living in the moment.”

I hadn’t thought that Maggie would teach me something about life, trust, dying and living in the moment.  I feel too sad to think about what she might be teaching me. 

She is helpless. I feel helpless.

The Pet Check up site says that it’s good to be near them as they die. It says that we can help them through the process and that our presence can make them feel comfortable.

I hate pain. I don’t want anyone to suffer. I hate suffering.

My sweet dog is dying. This article also says that whenever possible, let your pet die in a natural way and to let them choose their place.

How natural is death? The body shuts down and all that you knew and know is subtracted. I hate subtractions. I never was good at subtractions or geometry.

Maggie did choose her place.  Michael found her this morning in the kitchen. Makes me wish I hadn’t been so irritated with her in times past, because she kept getting under my feet in the kitchen.

We have chosen Maggie’s place. She’s near my husband’s place at the dining room table.

What will I miss? Maggie laying near my feet. Maggie greeting me at the door. Maggie wagging her tail with total acceptance.

I’ll miss watching Michael play with her and talk to her and think she never was going to die. Today, tonight his mind is changed.

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