Maggie joined our family in 2011. Mary found a breeder in Indiana who offered mini-golden-doodles, and we were immediately hooked.
We visited the puppies to meet their parents and the owner. There were a few little fluff balls left, but someone else had first pick between the remaining two females.
I noticed one had a white tip on her tail and I knew she would be coming home with us. Two weeks later, she did.
Maggie Mae slept on the way home, curled up in Mary’s arms. She crawled up on Mary’s shoulder and snuggled down behind her neck against the car seat. We knew we had the perfect little dog who would bring us years of love.
When we brought Maggie home, we still had our Shih Tzu, Heidi. Heidi was almost thirteen years old, and though she was intrigued with the bothersome pup, she had difficulty keeping up with Maggie.
Maggie made herself right at home and began wrapping us around her paw. Maggie slept in her kennel, but very early in the morning she cried until I went in the room where she slept. I laid on the bed and put my hand in her kennel until she went back to sleep.
When our little Heidi passed away, Maggie was ready to heal our hearts.
We taught Heidi to ring a bell hanging from the doorknob when she needed to go out. Maggie stands by the door and stares at us. I taught her to sneeze to get a treat. Now she sneezes to tell us she wants everything we eat.
When we offer Maggie a treat, sometimes we tell her to sit and stay. She does it, reluctantly. We go to another part of the house and hide the treat and tell her to go find it. It usually takes her about a minute.
Maggie absolutely loves to go for a ride. Anywhere. It doesn’t matter if we just drive around the block, she’s thrilled. She especially likes to ride in our Silverado. She’s a perfect travel companion. She even loved the ferry ride to Mackinac Island a few years ago. She rode in the basket of a pedal-powered surrey when we were in Florida.
Maggie knows our routine and if we change it in any way, she knows immediately and starts following us around the house. If we say, “Go get your leash,” she starts barking and goes to the hook where her leash is hanging.
Maggie loves Christmas, just like we do. She also loves our bed because we have several pillows. She believes we put them there just for her.
Squirrels and cats are the bane of Maggie’s life. She is offended they would dare step foot on her lawn. It’s a good thing she can’t see the back yard where I have an old wooden swing frame I use as a platform for feeding wild animals, especially squirrels.
Maggie is a combination of a miniature poodle, and a medium size golden retriever. She picked up a trait from her poodle parent. When she wants something, she dances on her hind legs with her front paws together and waves at us. I’ve never seen a self-respecting golden retriever do anything like that. It has to be poodle-ish.
Four years ago, we received news that terrified us both. Mary was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. Doctors said they caught it early, but she would have to undergo chemo and radiation treatments.
It’s true what they say about dogs. They know when something isn’t right. Our little Maggie became Mary’s personal caregiver and stayed close to her as the days slowly passed. Through sickness, pain, constant fatigue, worry, and frequent trips to the cancer center, Maggie seemed to anticipate what Mary needed. We couldn’t have had a better nurse.
There is something else about Maggie some might find hard to believe, but it’s true. Every night since Mary’s battle with cancer began, Maggie has joined us to pray before we go to sleep.
I say, “Maggie, come on, let’s pray with Mama,” and even if she’s sound asleep on the couch, she comes in, jumps up on the bed, and lays down between us while we pray. As soon as I say, “Amen,” she gets up and goes to the foot of the bed, curls up and goes to sleep.
Dogs have loved us for almost all of our fifty years together. Each one has been special in their own way. I think Maggie knows us better than any other dog we were privileged to love. We seem to have been knit together in an almost spiritual way that touches our hearts every day.
That precious little puppy with the white tip on her tail, that I somehow knew would be ours, still greets us with a toy in her mouth every time we walk in the door. We love you, Maggie Mae.