Good­bye to a faithful friend

Simcoe Reformer - - OPINION - Gord Christ­mas gord­christ­[email protected] hot­mail. com

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.

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