Goodbye to a faithful friend
My son Joe phoned one morning just before Christmas and told me he had to have Maggie the Mooch put down.
He was having a tough time holding it together on the phone.
I’m long past the real man doesn’t cry bull. There’s tears on my keyboard right now.
A lot of you who are long- time readers are dog lovers so you know the feeling. To those that say “hey, she was just a dog,” I can only answer there is no such thing. A lot of us measure our lives according to the dogs( s) we owned or were owned by.
Maggie the Mooch replaced Fubar in the trio that has added so much to our lives, rounding out Rambaux, the one eyed, declawed killer cat that kept us mouse- free for almost two decades, and Rudy the Rodent, a
16- year- old min- pin, the sole survivor.
The last time I saw Maggie was when she was here at the cottage while the kids were up north. One morning she lapsed into a funk and quit eating, bad sign for her, a relentless beggar, hence the nickname Mooch.
The vet told us that her kidneys were infected and shutting down, always a major problem with a 50/ 50 survival rate, but he had hopes the antibiotics would stem the disease. They didn’t and at the end Joe was feeding her a food supplement with a turkey baster. Maggie was a sweetheart, a gentle, good- natured sharpei/ boxer cross, with a wonderfully wrinkled face. She spent every night at the foot of our bed until we moved. She went to stay with the kids and to be with the love of her life, Jax, a Dutch shepherd belonging to Joe’s lady, Laura.
Every dog I see reminds me of Maggie and probably will for some time to come. That’s it for me, when Rudy goes, no more dogs. I don’t need the grief. If the fates had any sense of justice they would make dogs that live as long as we do. We knew Fubar and Rambaux had come to the end of the trail, worn out by age, but Maggie had just turned seven and we were looking forward to a few more years hiding food from her.
Human friends come and go but a dog will stick with you through thick and thicker; unconditional love be you saint or sinner. Rudy the Rodent did not leave my side through a knee replacement and a shattered femur. We spent some long, long nights together.
Maybe it’s the blue mood I’m in, but it seems to me that age can be defined in one word, loss. You start to lose old friends, you lose what defined you as a generation, you lose a sense of usefulness, replaced, if you’re lucky, by a decent pension. There’s nothing for it of course except to Marine up and get back in the game.
I’ve waited a week or so to write this, had to, it took that long for the pain to wear off enough to where I could analyze things a bit. What if we had never had Maggie at all, or Rudy, Fubar, Rambaux, Patch, Hobo, Buttons , or Smokey? We would have cheated ourselves out of a lot of happy memories. For me Maggie will forever run in the paddock with Jax.
I hope God has treats.