Today is a sad day…after 12 years together, our family dog Maggie has reached a point where her body is just not able to sustain her anymore.  Over the last 9 months we have seen her deteriorate slowly.  Her Lab face always seems to defy the pain she is in as she perks up whenever we come in the room, take her on a walk, or give her some “floor time” to play.  Play times have gotten shorter, walks are probably more appropriately referred to as stumbles and flat out face plants, and her smiles when we enter the room have changed first to tail thumps, and more recently, just an ear perk.

I remember when I first got her – a dozen years ago.  I was a single guy in St. Louis, and many family and friends suggested I get a dog for companionship.  This bundle of energy snuggled into my arms from the litter almost immediately:


When I met Tracy, the two quickly connected – each becoming almost as attached as I am with our beloved dog now of a dozen years. It was Tracy that started affectionately referring to her as “Maggie-Moo”, or now the more common “Moo” which everyone seems to know her by…


Over the years, she grew, and enjoyed many many happy days.  Some of my favorite moments include particular events.  Here she is expressing her curiosity the year I got a 10-22mm lens, checking out the new gear in my bag:


Us humans can take a page from our dogs, because they always seem to be smiling, happy to just be there, and both giving and receiving companionship, even just enjoying something as simple as a warm sunny day:


Being the Lab that she is, Maggie also enjoyed every moment she could in water, swimming, chasing sticks, and of course, giving me a dousing whenever I needed one:



Maggie is such a good dog – and acutely aware of people and their emotions  This dog never left my side when I was bedridden with pneumonia.  When something is missing or unfamiliar, she is always on the alert, checking things out to make sure all is in order:


Not to say that she was always good – as sometimes Maggie would get into something either with our consent, or just from her own search and explore sessions:


Her signature mark is a “happy wiggle” where she would literally throw herself down on the floor, and wiggle around on her back.  This was always a sign that we knew she was in a happy place:


One of our favorite shots of her is one where she is obliging us with a pose over Haloween, so I feel compelled to share it here as well – so prim and proper…


So, we made the painful decision to let her go with some dignity.  It was SO HARD to make this decision.  We cried and reconsidered countless times whether we were doing the right thing or not.  With no human children, Maggie really is our only child, and letting her go even today is something we feel physically ill about.  She just can’t handle another move though – there are literally weeks, possibly only days left, so we opted to let her go gracefully.


It’s an inevitable part of the circle of life, and while the logical part of me knows and understands this, the emotional side of me will never be the same person again. It hurts so bad to let her go, even though I know she is going to a better place.  Thanks for the lifetime of memories “Moo”…we love you! You were larger than life itself!


23 thoughts on “In Loving Memory

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  2. Frank Sammut says:

    So sorry to hear Jason. Us pet & dog owners know exactly how you feel.
    Your Maggie could not have had a better life anywhere else. Try to focus on the quality of time, not so much the quantity of time.
    I’m sure you’ve taken many pictures of her to keep her memory alive.

  3. It’s the only thing they really do wrong, is not live longer. Sounds like she has had a happy life, and brought lots of happiness. You’ll be sad today, and tomorrow, but as time passes you’ll begin to enjoy the happy memories. You may have another four legged fruend in your life, but there will always be a special ‘moo’ shaped space in your heart.

  4. Becky Chandler says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. My dogs are part of my family too, and I have had to make those hard decisions. There is a poem called Rainbow Bridge that talks about our dogs waiting for us at the Rainbow Bridge after they are gone. It always brought me peace knowing that I will see them again and what a reunion it will be!

    1. Yeah, I know the poem…always choked me up before. Now I can’t even read it without losing my composure

  5. My sincere condolences. I really feel your pain. I still miss my Sam and Katie. I have other dogs but they are my favorite. The hardest thing I have ever done but it was necessary. I still think of them, look at pictures of them and get very misty eyed. I am better for having been around them.

  6. Its never easy to have to make this decision. Feel for you.
    Great that you have photos to look back on.

  7. So very sorry for your loss. Anyone who owns a dog knows how hard it is to lose one. We too have an almost 12 year old black lab who is like our only child since our grown children left the nest. I don’t even want to think about the day we have to make the same decision you had to make. It is also hard to see them suffer. Rest in peace dear Maggie-Moo!

  8. Jason, I am so sorry for your loss. You have so many precious memories and photos! Her eyes show she was a real sweetheart.

  9. A very moving tribute. I am so very sorry for your loss, it’s never easy losing a loved one.

  10. My baby just turned 12 and thank god she is still healthy, also a lab and cathououla mix. I am already freaking out about this she is with me constantly, in fact she has messed up so many bird pictures for me I finally gave up and told her to go get them and got great images of the flock in flight . Rice field images of blackbirds, spoonbills etc , of course she never hurt any.
    I am feeling your pain , and I can tell you it is like losing a family member ,but like you said the good times are forever.

  11. Jason, you have my deepest sympathy. I struggled all winter with the decision of whether it was time for that fateful decision with my dearest companion, my faithful 13 year old labrador Gus. I know how heavily that responsibility weighs and the empty space that is left in your life and heart. This is a wonderful tribute to your dear furry family member. Bless you for your strength in sparing Maggie further pain and indignity. May time and your warm memories work their healing magic.

  12. I’m so sorry. It is never an easy decision.

  13. My condolences on your loss, Jason. It’s never easy to lose a friend especially one as loving as your companion and dog.

    Godspeed Maggie…

  14. Dogs are Gods gift to us as the only demonstration of unconditional love. We will always underestimate the love and comfort that they give us….

  15. Phil Grant says:

    I feel your loss, I lost a 13 yr old Golden Retriever last year about this time. It was hard and from time to time it still does. It’s not hard to fall for a friend who loves you just because.

  16. Megan Culbertson says:

    Very eloquently said Jason. Thinking of you and Tracy during this painful time. Love you guys.

  17. such a sad day…such a big loss. You gave her a wonderful life
    Sue T

  18. So sorry for you loss! Nothing worse in the world than losing your best friend… I hope you always feel her by your side.

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