Today has to be in honor of Maggie Millicent Sweet Potato Pie. She took a fast turn for the worse last night, and by this morning we knew it was time to say goodbye. No regrets (not that this makes it easier). I promised myself I wouldn't wait too long this time and cause another dog a lot of suffering just so I could have one more day.
I am going to show you pictures you've never seen before (I'm pretty sure), in honor of the sweet and funny dog she was. She's been the only dog of mine you've known if you are a follower of this blog. But, you probably don't know how she came to be mine.
She began life under questionable circumstances, and she and her littermates were left at the Ann Arbor Humane Society. She was the only one who lived, and it cost a lot of money to keep her alive. She had double pneumonia. I had just lost Chips, and wasn't really looking for another dog. Indeed, Maggie did not become mine for a long time. However, she did come to the extended family of some friends I was staying with while finishing a grad school project. Therefore, I was a part of her life from the time she was about eight weeks old. With a lot of medication and care, she recovered. She was also born with really bad hips. And she couldn't ride in a car without being given doggy Dramamine. I have no pictures of her when she was really little.
The friends, who eventually got full-time care of Maggie, found this picture of her. I think she might be about eight months old in this one. Please notice the purple collar.
Maggie wasn't getting enough exercise in the city, and friends Phil and Nan really wanted me to take her home, but I didn't think she was the dog for me. Her bad hips would keep her from backpacking. Chips had gone everywhere in the car with me; I couldn't see having a dog that threw up in under two miles. And her yellow eyes gave me the willies.
But when she was almost one and a half, it came down to: Maggie would either come with me or go back to the pound. I decided to give her a try. I had her hips x-rayed. They were terrible. One side was so bad the ball was just barely engaging the socket. I hoped that more exercise would improve the muscle tone. She loved chasing this toy, which came to be known as the "red ring." And we took two walks a day. She quickly gained strength in her back legs, although the vet warned me to never put a pack on her. She got so she could ride about 30 miles without barfing. Not great, but better.
So I began an internet search and discovered that Vizslas are a Royal Breed. She fit the characteristics perfectly, except that she doesn't like water. I especially liked their nickname of "Velcro Vizsla," because they like to always be touching their human. Nan called her "the red worm," because she always wanted to worm her way into a lap. Speaking of:
That picture was taken in 2006, and you can see that her face was already almost all white. Also, oddly, her eyes darkened over the years and lost their pure gold tone. When she was overweight she looked like her lab mama. But too much weight was bad for her hips, so we worked hard to keep her slim. When she was slim she looked like a perfect Vizsla.
She had the softest ears of any of my dogs. They were like warm silk. She loved to have them petted, and it was a pleasant thing to do. Those ears would flap when she ran, and I got a few pictures of how cute that looked.
Although she always loved her day hikes (right up until the last couple of months), it was no great hardship on either of us to not take her backpacking. I did take her camping a few times, and she didn't like it. She didn't like being cold or wet. She didn't like being outside at night. She was always nervous in the tent, and didn't catch on to camp etiquette the way Chips did. So I never felt bad for leaving her home. She was also not the one-person dog that Chips had been, so she happily stayed with Om.
The last good picture of her was taken the weekend we visited Chuck and Sylvia in December. You can see that at Engage, Embrace, Enjoy if you wish.
I want to share a video with you. This was made by Wendy Francisco, wife of Don Francisco, a long-time Christian musician and singer. Many of his songs have touched me over my adult life. One that particularly helps me is I'll Never Let Go of Your Hand. But this video is about DoG and GoD. Very cute, very short, very true. Enjoy
Oh, and the rest of Maggie's nickname? I think "Sweet Potato" is obvious from her color. But I've always known she was a sweet potato PIE because of the whipped cream at the end of her tail!
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