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As an aspiring writer, I blog about whatever happens to move me at the moment -- though some posts contain serious content, my big-picture goal is to bring a little humor into an often humorless world! Welcome, y'all, and make yourself at home! Please make sure you update your bookmarks!

When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger...Epictetus

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My shadow...

Everybody sees their shadow occasionally -- I saw mine all the time.  My shadow even had a name -- Madigan. She never knew that was her name -- she was completely deaf. But she knew a smile, a gesture of the hand. She was feisty, would pick a fight with the other dogs over next to nothing and smart. And she was one of the best friends I've ever had.

Saturday night, she was in my lap, sitting in such a way that her head was on my chest. Looking down into those brown eyes -- one almost completely obscured by a cataract -- I had the distinct feeling that she and I didn't have much longer together. Perhaps, she knew it, too. Perhaps that's why, on the day before, she brought me a present -- a dead mole. Perhaps it was a parting gift -- I have to say I didn't accept it very gratefully but, one day, I'm going to laugh about it. Right now, I'm trying to comprehend an existence without her under my feet, of seeing that white moon-face watching my every move, of her walking in front of me, swinging her head from side to side to make sure I was still behind her -- her eyes having to tell her, since her ears could not.

She entered my life through the internet. I don't know even know why I was looking but I found her on a rescue site called Bulldawgs of Georgia -- I saw her face and knew she was mine. She had been rescued from a puppy mill (she was a breeder) and, with her deafness, I wasn't sure what I was taking on. She had some "mental" issues to begin with (the breeder called her "Kookie") -- but who wouldn't after being caged for two years with barely any human -- or canine -- interaction? Still, she came into our lives -- and our house -- and before long,  she decided it was good to be queen. She lived a miserable life for her first two years; a royal life for the next ten. She was my shadow, bonded to one person -- me -- as most deaf dogs will do.

Madigan had some health problems over the last couple of years -- hypothyroidism and Cushing's Disease -- she was on medication for both -- and in the last year, her snoring had gotten really loud  -- which is saying a lot, considering she was a short-nosed Boston Terrier.

Last Sunday, around 3 AM, she cried out -- and, when we turned on the light, we found she'd spit up blood. There can be various reasons for this but, in all honesty, it's never a good sign. We took her to the emergency vet -- they took x-rays and there wasn't much guessing at that point -- tumors in the lungs and near her heart. It was a situation that was not going to get better and, in fact, would probably mean an agonizing death.

When we made the decision, in the wee hours of the morning, we took a moment to go into a private room and say our goodbyes. It didn't take long -- however humans and dogs communicate, she and I had said everything we needed to say over the last ten years. I reminded her of all the pups that would be waiting for her across the Rainbow Bridge, then we let her go. I held her as she took her last breath, as her tough old heart had its last beat. She went gently, easily, with complete trust, because she knew I'd never do her wrong -- she was in the arms of the person she loved most in the world. I would not have had it any other way. What a rare privilege having her in my life has been -- and I know, without a doubt, that I was loved completely and unconditionally as only a canine can.

I know the hand of God was in this -- in the last two years, we've lost three other dogs -- and each one taught us a lesson about how long to hold on -- and whether it was for the dog's sake or for ours. I prayed that when it came to this one -- to my Madigan -- that she would not be agony and that neither would we. The quickness of the whole scenario was a blessing, though, in the middle of it, it hardly seemed so.

I think, maybe, I was her angel during the time we had together on earth.

I know that, now, she is mine.


  1. Oh Lynn, what a lovely post about your dog. Sorry for your loss.

  2. Aww me.. that was some post. Goodness. It is tough and no one can really understand that exact moment, but good wishesto you.