Posted by: JulieAloha | May 2, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 122: Remembering Maggie

May 2, 2017

Maggie was my parent’s shih-tzu and she was one of the sweetest dogs you’d ever want to meet. We lost her to heart failure one year ago and still feel the loss keenly. She went just about everywhere mom did, but I often watched her when my folks were on vacation. From the time she was a puppy I used to bring her to Extended Care and she became the classroom Greeter. She loved children and was very gentle and tolerant of their excitement and rough behavior. She had a favorite pillow at Extended Care; wherever the fish pillow lay she would curl up on top of it and the kids would read to her during Homework & Reading time or sit next to her and gently stroke her soft fur.

Most people think of little dogs as yappy, but Mags rarely barked – she would silently stare down bigger, aggressive dogs without a sound and had a way of making you feel guilty by looking at you with utter disappointment if you did something she felt was inappropriate. Case in point, my dad had a reclining chair – Maggie would sit in the chair with him often, and sometimes by herself – but no one, NO ONE, else was allowed to sit in that chair.


The moment you sat down, she would stand up and stare at you, her tail would droop to the floor, and she would slink out of the room, stopping once to stare at you in what I can only describe as dismay before retreating to the farthest corner of the house. She refused to return until you got up from the chair. Even after dad passed away she guarded his right to that chair – mom had to get rid of the thing because no one was allowed to sit in it.

One of the only times Maggie would bark was when she was playing – she would race in and grab her ferret toy and race back out, then turn and bark, “RAH!!” and race back in. “Retrieve” was not in her vocabulary, but she was fond of “Keep away.” She would, however, grumble at you – a soft sound of annoyance, not quite a whine, just a little “excuse me? why aren’t you paying attention to me?” sound which she would repeat every 15 seconds or so until you acknowledged her request or, if you continued to ignore her, it might end in a sotto voce rumble of complaint and she would then turn her back on you in disappointment.


She loved to take walks, she made friends with every cat and child in the neighborhood, but when she got tired she just sat down. She liked to go for rides or go get the mail, but she did NOT like taking out the garbage or recycling because she didn’t like going into the area for the dumpsters. She loved to snuggle in bed in the morning and play “bite the hand” and she liked to hide under the blanket on the back of the couch or sit along the back couch cushions right behind your neck. She loved treats and would curl up on the kitchen floor nearest the treat bag, ever hopeful. She loved to sit outside on the grass while mom and the neighbors chatted and she attended Thursday evening movie nights in the Community TV room. During Bible study at church she would curl up under a chair and only rise when she heard, “Amen.” She could Sit, and Lie Down, and Roll Over, and Dance, and when you asked her to Shake she would shake herself all over and we’d say, “Good Shake, Mag!”

She was a sweet companion for my mom after dad passed, giving mom a daily routine and getting her out for walks and such. But as Maggie got older her heart murmur became more pronounced – we had a scare about two years ago when we thought we might lose her. She gave us one more year after that, slowing down with age but just as sweet as always.

April 29, 2016 Maggie started to fail; mom took her to the vet where they kept her for observation and treatment overnight, then into the next day…and the next. By Sunday she seemed to be improving and we had hopes that she might yet recover, but early on the morning of May 2 she took a turn for the worse and they called to ask mom for permission to let her go. Neither of us were close enough to get there in time, so we didn’t get to say good-bye – I took the day off work and went out to spend the day with mom, grieving together and sharing pictures and memories.

I’m hoping to sell my condo and move sometime soon – one of my prerequisites is they must allow dogs. Mom thought about getting another dog eventually, but it would be difficult for her to care for a new dog now and we all know that Maggie could never be replaced – everyone always says that, but this one was really quite special and she’ll not be forgotten.


P.S. If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know that earlier this year I had an extremely vivid dream about Maggie (see Good-bye Sweet Maggie, January 9, 2017) wherein I felt I finally got to say good-bye to her. I love you, Mags, always.

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