This morning I was woken up by nails clicking on the floor in the hallway and I instantly thought “Oh thank you, it was all a horrible nightmare, she isn’t gone” but of course it wasn’t and of course she is. The nails I heard belong to Maddie. There has been a lot of heartache lately: family drama, hurt feelings from friendships, the loss of family members stacked very close together, old wounds being reopened as I rekindle a relationship with my brother and on top of it all, the loss of my most precious girl. When we had to put Izzy down several years ago, a friend made a comment referencing a lifetime pet. Mayday was mine. Izzy was the love of our whole family. She came to all of us equally (but might have hedged a bit more towards being a daddy’s girl) and was generally happy to love on anyone that would love on her, it’s the Golden Retriever creed after all. Mayday? Mayday was my shadow. My spirit animal. As Sprog’s BFF said when he found out “I’m so sorry, I know she was your main bitch.” She was glued to me, she followed me from room to room, she was constantly under my feet and slept on my side of the bed at night. She stole my sheet and pinned me in constantly. She always knew when I felt like shit and kept me company as I tried to heal. She interrupted my yoga practice by sitting on my hair, licking my face or belching on me. If she went to Willy or Sprog I would sit behind her and talk for her and they would laugh because even though I couldn’t see her face, my words always perfectly matched her facial expressions and her face was incredibly expressive. She let me put anything on her, we dressed her up in clothes, antlers at Christmas, I put remote controls on her head…she would do anything for me.
She was a fighter her whole life, just like me, she was a tiny little sickly bit of nothing when I found her and her sisters underneath the stairs of that abandoned trailer 14 years ago. She was covered in fleas, starving and so desperate for someone to save her…she climbed right up on me and licked my face in joy, while the other two huddled together in fear. She survived two surgeries and even though they said we could expect about 3-6 months with her after having to have her spleen removed, she lived happily for another 15 months. She had horrible allergies, just like me, and I don’t know of a sadder thing than a dog allergic to grass. We battled ear infections and skin infections constantly. She had two strokes, her eye sagged permanently after the first one and she lost her hearing after the second. Her bark forever changed at some point in between. I call her the most expensive free dog in the world. But, I don’t care, I would’ve spent anything on her, for her.
I debated telling you about her last day/night but it was awful and graphic and I just hate remembering her like that. I hate remembering how she suffered. I hate that the last image I have of her was her in pain, struggling, in that place. I wish that she hadn’t lost her hearing so that my words could’ve actually comforted her. I promised her that she’d never have to camp again. That she’d never be tormented by another bug or another little annoying dog again. That she’d only be in the air conditioning she loved so much forever. That she was never going to feel anymore pain. That she’d only ever get her fancy wet food and huge fluffy bedding and mommy’s soft sheets. That she was the very best girl. The very BEST GIRL and I loved her so much. I wish that we got that beautiful last day filled with cheeseburgers and gorgeous pictures but as with most things the internet is not like real life. I wish I could say that I am okay with her being gone because at least now she isn’t suffering anymore and while yes, I am so glad she isn’t in pain anymore? I am most definitely not okay with her being gone. I am a fucking wreck actually. Like sobbing mess, can’t go into my own bedroom, wreck. When I was sad, when I was lonely, I would put my nose flat on the top of her nose and my forehead on hers and just hug her, I would stroke her super soft ears or lay on the floor with her. She always made me feel better and now she’s gone, just like that. 14 years is over. Every day I expect it’s going to get easier and it doesn’t.
I miss you so much beautiful girl. Thank you for gracing me with your life. I am so lucky I got to be your mama.
More pictures here