Monday, December 30, 2013

On Saying Goodbye...

Today we said goodbye to a long-time family friend...Maggie D.O.G. Pepper Rupp...our family pet for the last 16 years.

Yesterday, we realized she could no longer stand up--her back legs would not function.  With each effort to stand, she just whimpered and could only lie there.  It's such a hard decision to make as a pet comes to the end of their life.  Much as you want to hang onto her, you have to decide whether the time has come to let her go--if her suffering is too great.  This morning, we took her to the vet to be euthanized.  What a long ride to New Bethlehem.  She never was a great passenger and she did not want to lie down in the box on the trip there.  She struggled to sit up on her front legs the whole ride.  I tried to soothe her by scratching her ears--her favorite thing in the whole world, besides treats--but she wouldn't lie down.  Strong to the end.

It was heart wrenching taking her into the office.  As we said our tearful goodbyes, she looked up at us with those soulful eyes.  We bid her farewell and left behind a faithful friend--one who always loved us unconditionally. 


She was inside while recovering from being spayed.
Then she chewed my couch...and
definitely became an outside dog!

She came to live with us back in 1998.  The boys came home one day on the 4-wheeler, our youngest son with this little puppy in his arms.  He used the ploy of "If we don't take her, they're going to kill her."  Now, I was not in the market for a dog, but when faced with that, what's a mother to say?  So we had a dog.

You may be wondering about her name.  You see, there were five of us trying to pick a name for her--my husband, my two sons, me and a niece, Kara, who happened to be visiting at that time.  Various names were tossed about.  Our oldest son thought it would be clever to call her D.O.G. (dee-oh-gee).  Our niece thought she should be called Pepper.  The rest of us thought she looked like a Maggie.  So a compromise was reached--she was christened Maggie D.O.G. Pepper Rupp.  However, to me, she was my "Maggie Dog".  

When she was little, I made the boys responsible for bathing her.  In the world of boys, that did not last too long.  It soon became my responsibility.  When she grew too big for the washtub, I would hook her leash on her, wrap the leash around my foot, stand on it so she couldn't get away, then soap her up and rinse her with the garden hose.  She did not really care for this version of a bath--however, since she was an outside dog, that's what I came up with.  I would always do it following an afternoon of mowing as I already needed a shower at that point.  I would also have to be sly in getting everything out and ready because she soon came to realize what all the paraphernalia meant! If she spied me, she didn't stick around the neighborhood!  As I would soap her up and rinse her, I would have to pause, turn my head and let her shake in between.  Needless to say, I would be just about as wet as she was and probably smelling similar--that lovely mixture of wet dog and doggie shampoo.  When I would unhook the leash, she would run in circles a few times and then crouch down as if to say, "Come catch me."  We would usually run around the yard for a time, me chasing her, until I would get tired.  She loved to play that game with whoever was willing, but as she aged, we didn't play quite as often.  After that part of the bath routine was over, she would usually go roll in the dust on the driveway!  Oh, well, at least she smelled a little better!

I always thought she had to be part human.  She had a definite personality and it almost seemed as though she knew what you were thinking.  She would cock her head and look at you with those dark eyes and you just knew she was connecting with you.

She was a great watchdog.  Before she lost her hearing a year or so ago, she would bark as soon as she heard someone turn onto our driveway from the township road.  She never barked at any of our vehicles, just other folks--such a smart dog.

She was always my faithful companion on walks, whether that be along our country road or through the woods.  As soon as I would start down the driveway, she would be out in front of me...she was not a follower!

Groundhogs and the Will to Live
Look closely at the tree!

She loved to chase groundhogs, of which we have lots in our neck of the woods.  You can see the story surrounding the above photo by clicking the following link: 

The following pics are of our granddaughter, Aubrey, with "Bankney" as she referred to Maggie...when Aubrey first started talking, she said "Maggie" pretty well, then at some point it changed to "Bankney".  A couple of months ago she was calling her Maggie again.  Each time I would pick her up to come to our house for a play date, she looked forward to seeing Maggie.  She would always say, "See Papa, see Maggie."  Then when we would get here and she would spy Maggie, she would say "Aww, Maggie so nice."  I guess you could call them kindred spirits in the fact that they both like their "nacks".   Aubrey enjoyed being very generous in giving Maggie snacks.  And Maggie loved her for it.

Over the past few years, Maggie developed arthritis, which made her move a little slower.  However, she could still find that burst of speed on a walk to the mailbox or if she spied a groundhog.  Last summer, she had suffered a stroke or something of the sort which affected her one that point, we weren't sure if she would recover from it.  But she was a tough one...after about a week she bounced back--sometimes walked a little bit sideways and a little stiff-legged, but seemed to be doing ok for age and all things considered.
 Without her, there will be a definite void in our lives--when someone has been part of your life for such a long time, it's inevitable.  However, if all dogs go to heaven, I am sure she is up there right now, crouching down, trying to coax any willing soul to "Come catch me!"

We will miss you Maggie in peace!

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