This post was written in 2021. Maggie gifted us another year of cuddles, walks and love before we had to say goodbye (19/01/2022).
Our eldest canine child, Maggie, is 13 on the 11th May. A beautiful English Springer Spaniel. She is seriously slowing down: her arthritis is getting to her, her eyesight is failing and she frequently forgets why she’s entered a room. A couple of recent incidents – where she’s clearly been in acute pain – have us worried that our time together is rapidly running out. She didn’t want to stand up this weekend so we had another trip to the vets who adjusted her pain meds. We’re actually grateful for the year+ stuck at home because it has meant uninterrupted time with her.
(You can’t see on a post blog but there was an hour’s break here so I could snuggle her and cry. Pets really do break your heart).
Anyway, I don’t want to write Maggie a eulogy after she’s gone; I’d much rather write her very own acknowledgements page whilst she’s still here and I can read it to her.
We got Maggie back in 2008. Helen (my wife) had been through a major health scare, serious surgery and subsequent emergency surgeries to stem internal bleeding. Afterwards, we got the puppy we had always said we’d have one day because we realised we didn’t want to put things off when tomorrow can be so uncertain. Maggie is our yay-Helen-didn’t-die dog. When we arrived to pick up 8 week old Maggie, we realised it was not a good breeder – the conditions weren’t awful but they weren’t great either. And the pups had been docked. We couldn’t leave her there because we were immediately in love.
Helen wanted to call her Cat – she thought it would be hilarious on dog walks. It was vetoed. She also suggested She-Ra, Mumm-Ra and Moog. All also vetoed. Although I conceded and allowed Moog as her middle name: Maggie Moog. It’s the origin of her nickname, Maggie Moo Moo, which was inevitably shortened to Moo or MooMoos.
Thank you, Maggie, for giving us a much better routine. We were both prone to working 16+ hours a day in the office / at school; once you were part of our family, one of us would be sure to get back early to be with you. I mean, the work continued but at least we were doing it at home.
Thank you not only for the interesting walks but also for the holidays. I know Helen likes to travel abroad but I’m happiest when you’re with us on a holiday… and that means exploring the UK. We’ve stayed in some lovely spots and visited loads of beaches. You haven’t once caught a bird but that hasn’t stopped you trying.
Thank you for being my insomnia buddy. I think my night time shenanigans are probably why you’re so good at your daytime naps. It doesn’t matter whether I’m powering through the night for a deadline, up as a slave to my bladder or just having an existential crisis… you’re there with a tail wag and a snuggle.
Thank you for being such an empathetic soul. You can’t bear it if we’re ill, if we’re sad, if we’re bickering or even if we’re just retelling tales from work with Oscar-worthy performances. You’re straight in there with a nose boop and a cuddle to make it all better. For five years, we tried to have a family. You saw us through all of those painful, failed attempts, the constant stress and the miscarriage that took me years to get over. I’m no good at speaking about how I feel but it has always been easy to speak to you. You’re the best listener, even though you always express your opinion very clearly with a trademark snort.
Thank you for being an absolute trooper. I’ve lost count of the surgeries you’ve had: neutered, cut paw (not your fault), knee reconstruction (not your fault), bladder operation (not your fault) and stitches for a barbed wire incident (that one was probably your fault). You’ve been the goodest doggo with all of those recoveries, even though you’ve wanted to spring and bounce because it’s in your nature. I’m pretty sure our insurance company isn’t your biggest fan. The bladder operation was scary: we were told it was cancer and you might not make it through the operation if the vet decided it was too much to cut away. It had all happened so fast and I was away for work. I insisted that Helen brought you home – the surgery was due to be the next day – so I could drive back from Sheffield (250 miles ish) to spend that night with you in case it was our last. Not a chance that I would miss a snuggle and a goodbye. Turned out not to be cancer and we’ve had many more years with you since.
Thank you for the many, many, many wonderful memories. Your willingness to dress in clothes and pose for a photograph. Your love of our (now diminished) cat clan. Your apathy towards poor Edith who we thought would be good company for you in your elder years (hahahahaha). Your sweet tooth*, which we discovered after you stole a dozen donuts when we were asleep and had to deal with a hyper-sugar-rush version of an already springy Springer for 48 hours.
Thank you for being the absolute best girl. You’ve done so much for us.
* we do not enable her sweet tooth but it doesn’t stop her hopelessly begging if we have cake.