Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Dog 2002 - 2015

I'm hoping that the writing of this post will be somewhat therapeutic for me.  Maybe move me into the next stage of grieving.  I've been working on it since Thursday.  I have so many thoughts, memories, stories in my head, that maybe writing them all down will help.  The Dad and I are havin' a heck of a time without our four-legged kid.  We don't know this house without her. Which leads me to the beginning.....

When I bought this house, in October of 2001, I had recently gone through an ugly break up of a long-term relationship.  I lost my dog, Leo, and two cats, Figaro and Augustus, not by choice, and my heart was hurting from missing them.
I put it out to the Universe that I wanted a dog, but I needed to have a fence built in my new backyard first.
Enter, The Dad.
I've told the story here before, but as a reminder, that's how he and I met.  The short version is, the fence company I hired was jerkin' me around.  The Dad used to work for them, so the owner called him and asked if he wanted to build my fence as a side job on the weekend.
He said yes, and a week or so after it was built, I called and asked him out.
The rest is history.

  My friend, the one we went to see get married in Arizona last year, knew I was wanting a dog, knew my fence was in, and knew someone who had a dog that they were looking to get rid of.
He took me out to see her.
Pit bull mix.  Ughhhhhh, I didn't want a pit bull.  Of all the dogs in the world, she had to be a pit.
She was super sweet, we hung out and loved on her, and I said I needed to think about it.
I will never forget her as I was leaving that day.  She followed us to the car.  Sat down in the gravel driveway, with her puppy butt on the ground, back legs splayed out underneath her, floppy ears cockeyed, and watched me pull out.  She sat and watched me drive away until I could no longer see her in my rear view mirror.
I wonder how long she sat there that day.
I went home and couldn't stop thinking about her.
Madeline was her name.
I went back the next day to get her.
She was so covered in fleas, that they were jumping on the floor of the car.  We took her to one of those self-wash dog bathing places, 'cause there was no way I was bringing her into the house like that.  Gad, she was a mess.

Once home, she claimed me as her mama.  Actually, she claimed me as her mama that first day when she watched me drive away.
She wouldn't leave my side.  She was such a timid little thing.  I remember taking her for a walk on one of her first days home, without a leash, because there was no way she was going anywhere without me.  She was attached to my ankle at all times.  We went to the end of the block, turned the corner, went up and around the next corner, and something spooked her.  I can't remember if it was a dog bark, or a lawnmower, or what, but she took off like a cannon.  She was running so dang fast, and I'm running behind her, trying to keep up, calling.  I lost sight of her once she turned the corner, back onto the street of our house.  I ran all the way home, so afraid she had taken off, was lost, and I wouldn't be able to find her.
And there she was, sitting on the porch, waiting for me.
She officially knew this was home.

The one bad thing about having her so completely attached to me was, terrible separation anxiety.  Oh my gosh, she was HORRID.  I would come home from work to find something destroyed every. single. day.
I tried locking her in the utility room with access to outside, and she damn near chewed and clawed her way through the door.
It was so bad.  
I tried dog toys, treat balls, TV, music, yelling, scolding, everything I could think of, but nothing was working.
Then, one day, I came home to find my photo albums pulled off the shelf, on the floor, torn to shreds.
Years of pictures, ripped apart with her teeth, spread out all over the living room.
I didn't yell.  I didn't even look at her.
I sat down in the middle of the carnage and cried.
I cried for a long time.  Then I cleaned up the mess.
She never chewed anything up after that.

I still remember the first time The Dad met her.  He came over to see this new dog I had adopted.
One of the first things out of his mouth was, "I know dogs and this is a good dog."

After only having her for a couple weeks, I brought home a stray cat from work.  They were separated by a bathroom door for a couple days, but after that, they were best buds.
In their younger years, they played all the time.

Snuggling when no one was looking.

It's funny, over the past year, she had pretty much turned into a grouchy old lady, and didn't want to have anything to do with the cat.
But the night before we put her to sleep, she was havin' a heck of a time.
She was whimpering and couldn't get comfortable.
Her bed lived on the floor next to our bed, and the cat walked over and layed down with her.
He had NEVER slept on her bed with her before.
He knew.

So after bringing home the cat, and taking away her only-child status, then we did the unthinkable, we brought kids into the mix.
Poor dog.  She wasn't the center of attention anymore.
But she was so good with them.
Tolerating crying babies, teetering toddlers, and rambunctious kids.

It's so crazy how much a part of our lives they become, isn't it?
I went through our old photo albums to find most of the pictures in this post, hence the poor quality.
I couldn't believe how many pictures I have of her.
Especially before 2006, when The Kid was born.
She was our first kid and the amount of photos we have of her proves it.

Hangin' with Dad.

Snugglin' with my sister.

Soakin' up the sun.



Always with a pillow.

This last Christmas.

Watchin' for Dad.
I always knew when he was home from work, 'cause she'd start whining and you could hear her tail whacking up against stuff.

She got so white over the last few years.

I did a whole post two years ago with these pictures.

Her favorite place in the world, the Rock Farm.
I can't believe how fat she was in some of these pictures.

Um  yeah, this is what you'd call an obese dog.
Holy cow.

Our house just isn't the same without her.
The Dad and I both keep thinking we hear her.  I caught myself yesterday when I was going to holler at the kids to close the back door "so the dog doesn't get out."
So many things I'm going to miss.
  • The clicking of her toenails, hitting the metal threshold of the french doors, as she comes out to see me in the garden.
  • Her big brown eyes.
  • Her uncanny ability to know when I pulled the cheddar cheese out of the fridge.  Seriously, she could be outside and come runnin'.
  • Seeing her face watching out the window for us, when I'd pick up the kids from school.
  • Greeting us at the door anytime we'd come home from anywhere.  She smelled me every time, to see where I'd been.
  • Her pillow sucking and kneading.
  • Watching the mailman deliver mail on the other side of the street, then waiting for him to go to the end of the block, turn around and come back our way.  Then barking like an evil demon dog from hell, until she couldn't see him anymore.  We had to move our mailbox from the porch to the driveway years ago, because she once broke a window in the living room by ramming the chair into it trying to get at him.
  • When she was younger, she was obsessed with the laser pointer.  We had way more lawn in those days, and she'd run circles, chasing it on the property line, for as long as you'd let her.  We started having to spell "red dot", and then she even figured out what that meant.  
  • She'd chase any sort of reflection and pounce, like a cat.  If I'd pull out the tin foil and the sun would hit it, I'd hear her bumping her nose up against the cupboards to get it.  
  • You could say, "Where is it", and she'd look up at the ceiling with just her eyes, like she always did with the laser pointer or any reflection.
  • We also had to spell Rock Farm.  My parents took her up there quite a bit when they were going alone.  I couldn't pack her jammie bag until it was time for her to go, or she'd drive us nuts whining at the door, knowing what the bag meant.
  • Cleaning up the floor after meals.  I've always said, I don't know how people have kids without a dog.  Who cleans up all that food mess?!
  • Yelling, "Maddie, I dropped something", and having her come running into the kitchen to see what sort of treat she was gonna get.
  • If she was in the kitchen while I was cooking, which was almost always, if I dropped something off the stove onto the floor, I'd say, "Hot, hot, hot", and she'd let it be until I told her it was okay.
  • She was TERRIBLE about stealing food, though.  It got worse as she got older.  She'd put her front feet up on the counters or the dining room table to get at something.  The kids learned early.  Walk away and it'll be gone.  She'd take it right out of their hands, too, the last few years.  During the summer, when we'd have company over and be outside with apps on the low table, the entire time we'd be yelling at her to lay down and get lost.  So, so naughty.
  • The Cat gets in these moods where he'll attack your ankles.  He puts his ears back and goes into wild animal mode.  It's usually in the summer when I'm sitting outside barefoot.  But I could yell, "Maddie, get the cat!", and she'd come bump him with her nose to run him off and save me.
  • Years ago, she had done something to get a sore on the end of her tail.  I can't remember what it was from now, but every time it would start to heal up, she'd wag and whack it up against something over and over to open it up again.  Well we came home from somewhere and walked into a kitchen that looked like a murder had been committed.  There was blood EVERYwhere.  All over the white cupboards, uppers and lowers, on the ceiling, on the fridge, on the walls, on the floor, on the counters. It was horrific.  She must have opened it up and then was wagging like a maniac when she heard us pull up. That was a fun mess to clean up.
  • She once ate an entire bag of Easter chocolates.  Foil and all.  I believe she did the same thing with Hershey Kisses or M & M's.  One or the other.  The girl liked her chocolate.
  • We'd find wrappers in the yard all the time.  Something had been left "safely" on the counter.  Like a loaf of bread.  Bag of chips.  She wasn't picky.
  • She would always sit up on her butt when she was in the chair by the window.  Like a person.  Front feet up, back straight, butt and back legs down.  We'd say, "Ah Maddie, she's sitting like the people." Everyone I know took a picture of her doing it because it was so funny.
  • She used to be able to get up on our bed by herself, and would generally sleep with us part of the night in the winter.  But in the last six months or so, she needed help. Every morning, when The Dad got up to get in the shower, she would whine to come up.  She'd crawl under the covers on my side, and curl up and spoon behind my knees.  It was one of my most favorite things.
Right after I first got her, a friend of mine came over with his camera and took pictures of her.
They top the list of my favorites of her.
Three of them have been by my computer forever, including the very first photo in this post.
One of them, that I love, is stuck to the glass in the frame, so I couldn't scan it.
Another one is all scratched up, but I still love it.
He took one through the gate before I knew he was here.
She knew somethin' was up and was right next to me, growling.
No one was gonna mess with her new Mommy.

Tony, the picture taker, gettin' new doggie loves.
He passed inspection.

Oh my gosh, that face.
So, so sweet.

I took a lot of pictures when we drove up to bury her.
It was a gorgeous day.
Blue skies.
I haven't taken them off my camera, or even looked at them yet, though.
Not ready.
But I know we chose the perfect place for her.
My parents took her there the week before.  I'm so glad she got that one last trip.
I told her she was gonna get to go to the Rock Farm when the vet gave us time alone with her to say goodbye.
Forever resting in her favorite place.

Rest in peace, Maddie girl.
Mama's gonna miss the heck outta you.


  1. Oh Mindy, I'm bawling quite literally reading this. As you know, we have just lost our Little Miss Libby a few weeks ago and my heart is still so sore and raw and aching for my baby. I know the pain you're going through and hurt for you and your family. This was a lovely tribute to Maddie, to her gentle loving soul. I know she had the most wonderful life imaginable, filled with your love.

  2. I read every single word,Mindy, and I am bawling like a baby now. Any of us that have had and lost pets know exactly how you are feeling and know that there is no "magic"to make the hurt go away. You will just stumble through it day by day and it will hurt a little less and one day you will say her name without crying.
    Look how lucky she was to not only love a family but to be so loved by them back. No missed meals or cold nights out in the freezing temps for her. She had a good life with a good family and now she is over the Rainbow Bridge where life is ALWAYS perfect.
    I am so so sorry, Mindy. God bless- xo Diana

  3. Geesh, you are having a rough start to this year. Losing a beloved animal is the worst. As a kid, I had a dog for a couple of years that followed me everywhere I went and I still get teary eyed when I think of him. Maddie was so lucky to have you and your family and it is so thoughtful that the rock farm is her final resting place. Hugs, Mindy.

  4. Good morning Mindy- what a lovely sweet tribute to your Maddie girl. She was a part of your life during so many wonderful moments and obviously loved you all too. The rock farm was a wonderful choice for her final resting place. Take care, Liz

  5. Oh my goodness, I can't stop crying. I can feel the amount of love you had for her in every word and picture. I'm so sorry your Maddie girl is gone. May she live forever in your heart.

  6. So sorry about your pup. It is hard losing a dear pet! My eyes were brimming with tears last night when I read this. I'll be a complete mess when my girl goes. There is no time limit for your sadness. Take all the time you need.

  7. I am sorry about your little doggie Mindy. You can tell from your words how much you loved her. And the photos tell a story of what a wonderful life she had with you and your family. She was as lucky to have you as you were to have her. I hope your heart will feel better soon. Your post was beautiful and actually brought tears to my eyes. You poor dear! I know how you feel.


  8. Oh, Mindy. It's so hard to read this. I am feeling so sad for you and the kids. I'm glad you have so many wonderful memories to warm your heart. Give yourself time, as long as it takes. What a sweet girl.

  9. Waaa, way to bring tears to my eyes! Sending hugs your way as you learn to navigate life without your faithful friend...

  10. Maddie sounds like a really wonderful dog and friend and family member. We've had and have cats that were like this as well, so I feel your pain. I send you and your family good wishes.

  11. I pray that God makes this easier for you. I can't imagine how I would be to loose my cat, Coco. She pulled me out of a depression after my Chemo and now I've loss the LOVE of my LIFE to cancer. She is the only thing left!!!!! I don't have many friend's where I live now.[ no family either] So all my out of town friends want me to get rid of her!!! So I can visit them....... She has had 2 meltdowns since loosing her Daddy, so we have each other.... I cried the whole time reading this and my heart goes out to you. You do what you need to do to get over this and remember you have us....

    1. Wow Theresa, you've been through a lot! And anyone who tells you to get rid of your cat has never loved an animal. I'm so glad you have her to help you through hard times. They really are the best shoulders to cry on.

  12. Hey you...........cant stop thinking about you guys. I'm glad you wrote this beautiful post and I do hope it helps in your healing. So many gorgeous moments and such an amazing story of love. All I can say is that the memories you have of her and the love you all shared will always be there....These pictures are proof...............hang in there buddy....Nic xoxo

  13. Such a nice tribute to a beloved family member! I cried through your whole post. Hugs to your whole family!

  14. Dear Mindy,
    I'm so sorry that you had to say goodbye to Maddie. Your post was so beautiful! . . . and an amazing tribute to her and how much you loved her. I'm pretty sure that tears rolled down my cheeks through the entire post. I LOVED reading every single story. I hope that this tribute to Maddie helps you grieve her loss . . . and treasure her always.
    Sending big hugs!!


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