March 24, 2010

All dogs go to heaven - especially THIS one.

Death is a complicated thing to handle for those who are left behind. No doubt about it. I don't know anyone that hasn't had to deal with it in one way or another. For animal lovers, losing a pet can be, and usually is, like losing a child. That is what we are going through right now...

Dude lost his precious Maddy last week, and it has been absolutely devastating. Maddy was almost 16, and she and Dude have been together since she was only a few weeks old. He adopted her in the nick of time from an animal shelter in 1994, and, since then, they have been virtually inseparable. Man's best friend, indeed. Maddy has been by Dude's side through all of the peaks and valleys along his path, and was loved, I'm convinced, more than any dog in the history of the world.

Though I didn't quite spend a whole year with Maddy, she quickly secured a place in my heart forever. She accepted Beasley and me into her family with Dude and Foster without hesitation, and was always so sweet and loving to us. As the only two girls in the pack, we bonded right away. I took her for manicures and to get her hair did (grammatical error INTENDED), and we shared a lot of girl talk. She was always an independent woman and wanted to do things for herself even when her aging body started to fail her. She was particular too. This gal knew what she liked. She's been known to jam to Smashing Pumpkins on more than one occassion, and she considered her favorite "chefs" - Miss Wendy, Miss Krystal, Kenny (Rogers), and Ronald (you know the one) - to be among her close personal friends. In fact, I think she had at least one friend in every species walking the earth, and I'm sure she is missed by each and every one of them.

If you have room in your life for a pet, particularly a dog, they teach you so much about yourself and bless your life in ways beyond what seems possible. Certainly, it's not always sunshine and roses. In fact, sometimes it's CRAP! LITERALLY. But even in those more trying moments, they are teaching us patience, tolerance, restraint, and showing us just how much we can really handle. All they want is to be loved. That's it. It's that simple. If you can give them your love, they will give you a friendship so loyal and true and will work everyday to show how much they love you in return. As heartbroken as we are when they leave us, we were even more blessed just to have had them in the first place.

Yes, death is a complicated thing...and so is love. Dude loved Maddy so incredibly much and did everything he possibly could to keep her with us as long as possible. He gave her a happy, healthy, safe, and long life that was full of love and the kind of companionship that is rare even in human relationships. Maddy had the heart of a lion and was one of the sweetest, sassiest, toughest, and bravest souls I've ever encountered. I am so thankful that Dude brought her into my life. I consider myself lucky to have known her even if for a short time and even luckier knowing I have a person in my life who is capable of loving her as much as he did and always will.

Maddy, we miss you so much every single day. I will keep the promises I made to you...the ones I whispered in your ear. Thank you for everything you taught us and for your loyalty, your friendship, and most of all your love. You will always be a part of what made us who we are together and as individuals.

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