It has been 5 months since I lost my little buddy, Maggie. Last night I realized that I had not done a proper tribute to her, so here it goes. I think enough time has passed that I can do this without crying. Pet grief is so strange. On the one hand you realize that they are animals and it's not like losing a human, yet at the same time they are members of the family, and you grieve the hole they leave in your heart.
I went back to the first pictures I could find of her and this is Christmas 2005 (we had just gotten a digital camera!). Look how small those kidlets were!
Maggie was a rescue, literally. Relatives of one of my co-workers at the time found her wandering the streets and they took her in. Unable to find the owners (the info on her microchip was outdated), we ended up giving her a permanent home.
To be honest, it took a while for us to get used to each other. Many rescue dogs have quirks and insecurities, and Maggie was no different. She did not like to be picked up or hugged, and loved to wander away if we ever accidentally left the gate open (perhaps the reason she was a stray in the first place). She liked her space, and Dave often remarked that she was more like a cat.
Life went on and we all changed, especially the kids. As I got more and more into photography, Maggie became my #1 model. No complaining from her, as long as I had treats nearby. She was usually happy to do it:
But sometimes she got tired:
In her later years, Maggie warmed up to us more and more. Although she wasn't allowed on the furniture (except "her" chair), I would often pick her up onto my lap for a little cuddle. And, like most dogs, she loved to go for walks in the woods.
And the beach
A week before Thanksgiving 2017, Maggie started refusing her food, so we knew something had to be wrong. We took her to the vet and after the blood tests it was revealed that she had pancreatitis ("treatable, but no guarantees", said the vet). Seeing as she was 15 we prepared ourselves for the worst.
A pet's death is hard enough, but having to make the decision about euthanasia was excruciating. At a certain point, though, it was pretty clear that Maggie was not going to get better and it was time to end her suffering. It was a pretty quiet Thanksgiving around our house. This is one of my favourite "later years" shots of her, taken a few months before she died.
As spring approaches, I am starting to think about getting another dog, although I'm not rushing it. It's a little lonely walking by myself out at Kye Bay or Seal Bay Park, and I could use another model! :)
Whatever we decide as a family, I will still have the memories of Maggie and the good times we shared. And, of course, the photographs. Always the photographs.