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!