|Birth: ||Dec. 24, 1957|
|Death: ||May 5, 1970|
Maggie came to our family because children didn't. My parents had tried for years to have kids, and while a dog is not a child, I think my dad knew a puppy would occupy my mom's heart and days until I would come along.
Maggie was a birthday present. Mom remembers coming home from shopping at Hess's and her first sighting of Maggie as a puppy in the kitchen where Dad had her waiting, wearing a bright red ribbon. Whenever Mom recalls it, she says that Maggie looked like "a little black powder puff".
As a Kerry Blue Terrier, Maggie had the curly blue-black fur the breed is known for, as well as the tough terrier attitude, a little independent, but good natured and determined. Kerries are known to be strong-headed, highly spirited, loyal, affectionate, and very gentle with children. They are also known to be fast, strong, and intelligent, and Maggie was all of the above. She was a well-behaved dog who understood boundaries, both physical and behavioral. Mom did a great job training the puppy, who grew into a faithful friend and family member.
Maggie wasn't initially thrilled when I came onto the scene. Used to getting all the attention, she basically developed sibling rivalry which Mom says "put Maggie's nose out of joint" with jealousy for a while. That resentment didn't last, and probably as I grew, Maggie realized she had someone who'd always be interested in her, and glad to play with her. My parents were a unit, and so were Maggie and I, because I saw her as my sister while growing up.
There's a special place in heaven for Maggie, for all I put her through in my youth. She had great forbearance though, and never got snappish with me, as much as I must have tried her patience. When I was tiny, she suffered my attempts to ride her like a pony, and as I grew, she wore the stupid doll hats I put on her.
Kerry Blues have a "beard" - that is, longer hair around the muzzle, and if food gets stuck in it, it doesn't smell pleasant. Maggie was a clean dog, and after eating, would trundle off to the living room to ritualistically wipe her snoot on the carpet, first one side, then the other, back and forth repeatedly, snaking along, which irritated my also very clean parents. As a result, after feeding Maggie dinner, my mom would try to beat her to the punch by waiting each night by the food bowl, pouncing, and wiping that beard down with a damp sponge reserved for that purpose. Maggie would then head to the living room to dry off.
She had a wild side, but always had restraint, which was why it was fun to see her get a little crazy. Almost all dogs adore playing fetch, and she was no exception, getting especially riled if you tried to fake her out by pretending to throw the ball but not letting go. Dad was great at this, winging his arm and exclaiming "Whooosh!" making Maggie spin back around, her eye on the ball in his hand. Her front end on the ground, her butt high and stumpy tail wagging, she'd woof indignantly as though to say "Don't even try it!"
Maggie was great fun after a bath. She held back politely the whole time while you plopped her on a folding card table for a haircut, then put her in the basement's stationary tub, wet her down and soaped her up, rinsed her off, gave her a rubdown with a towel... but she couldn't wait to get outside where she could really shake the water off. My dad understood how pent-up she felt, and encouraged her to let it out, playing with her with the towel, instigating tug of war, tossing a ball around, just keeping her moving to dry off, and let off all the steam she built up from the harrowing experience of her bath.
I can remember sometimes my dad and I would take Maggie to nearby Cedar Creek Park. She loved to walk there. We'd finally get to an area just below Cedar Crest College which was wide open. Dad would look around to be sure no one was nearby who might feel threatened by a strange dog, and then he'd let her off her leash. Maggie would go crazy, taking off at a full-out run in a huge circle, while Dad hollered encouragement to her. She'd circle back to us to check in, and Dad might say "Whisssssh!" which told Maggie she could make another round. And she'd happily do this until she was panting and pretty pooped.
On one of these park trips, we took a short walk through the Rose Garden, which yes, has lovely beds of roses, but also has small ponds with lily pads in them. Some of the ponds are kidney-shaped with flat stones in the water at the narrowest point, allowing you to walk across from one stone to the next. We three began doing this quite smoothly until Maggie mistook a lily pad for a stone and plopped right in, much to her surprise and our merriment, once we got her out and in good shape.
In my childhood sorrows, it was Maggie's soft side I cried into when no one else understood. When I had childhood joys, Maggie was always thrilled just by my happiness, even if the cause weren't known to her. A more empathetic being you could not hope to find.
In her later years, Maggie had mostly good health. She got a few so-called "cheese cysts" which the vet would clean out and sew up, but beyond that, she was fine.
There was a time however, when Maggie became upsettingly ill. She developed this terrible hacking sound which told us how sick she must really be. My parents delivered the parental chat about how sometimes dogs get old and sick, and how veterinarians help them go to heaven, which probably made me cry even harder. Knowing it was her end, Mom and I clung to each other, while Dad dutifully loaded Maggie in the car. Off they went, leaving Mom and I to weepily reminisce about what a wonderful, loving dog Maggie had been. We waited for Dad to come home, knowing it would have been hard on him too.
We heard the car in the driveway, and I went to the door, shocked beyond belief to see Dad helping Maggie out of the car. "She's back! She's back!" I hollered, while Mom came running to see. "What happened?" Mom asked. Dad looked a tiny bit disgusted after all the theatrics. "Laryngitis and bronchitis," he said dryly, with a tiny smile. The terrible hacking had been Maggie trying to bark!
She lived another year, but her rear legs began to betray her so she could no longer make the stairs. She began to lose control of her bladder, and her vision was going from cataracts. It was finally time to let her out of the limited life hers had become.
This was my first experience with euthanasia. As a concept it made sense because I knew Maggie wasn't happy anymore, but I wasn't ready to say goodbye, sure she could still get well, and it felt like my parents were killing my best friend. I was not present for her end. I was shocked my folks didn't bring her back home for burial. They told me she would be cremated, which disgusted me, because burning was what you did with garbage, and cremation was one of those adult words meant to give a nice name to something awful. It felt like they did not love and value her as I did. I was angry with my parents for their decision and for not bringing Maggie home. The house felt quiet and empty for what felt like a long time.
For the first time, I felt the full weight of being an only child. It was not until we got Tillie that autumn that my loneliness would subside, and I would have another sister to share my life with at home, and to heal my heart from the loss of my best and first friend.
Cremated, Location of ashes is unknown.
Specifically: Disposed of by our vet, Dr. Kipp
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Jun 12, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 38243675
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