Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Maggie Left Us One Groundhog Day....

I tried to put it all behind me but the pain and emptiness seized up in me today.

I don't expect anyone will read this; so I'll just write down my personal recollection, and hope the act of writing it down helps me to let it go.

This morning, as Mark and I were starting what would become a 4-hour task, clearing off the 2- and 3-foot snowdrifts from our driveway and patio, I remembered the extra shoveling I did for  the sake of Maggie, our Basset Hound.  

I used to create a path and a clearing in the lawn, so she could "find her spot" without having to trudge through the heavy snow on her small bent forelegs.

I thought to myself this morning how glad I was that I didn't have to shovel the backyard today.

And then I became angry at myself for thinking this. I wished I had a reason to shovel that clearing again.  Right there in the bitter snowy wind, I felt like crying.

It was on Groundhog Day.  Three years ago, it fell on a Saturday.

Maggie was having terrible seizures, and had been to the vet, a terrific doctor who she loved as much as he loved Maggie.  There was little he could do.  Most likely it was an inoperable brain tumor.

I got the call from Mark that morning.  We were not yet living together.  Mark was exhausted, having stayed up all night witnessing an endless series of epileptic episodes.  I hurried to drive to the house.

Maggie for the first time did not come to the door to greet me.  I approached her where she was laying down and she absently wagged her tail.  She had not eaten, and had slightly wet herself.  Mark and I both knew what had to be done, and the look she gave me from the floor was like a plea for rest.

I got down on the floor next to her and held her.  Mark got a breakfast plate that still had traces of maple syrup.  She licked it slowly, then gave up.  We called the vet. They were busy and asked us to schedule an appointment on Sunday. My words of desperation moved them.  We could bring her right in.

It had snowed the night before. The roads were slippery.  When we arrived we were taken right away to the treatment room.  I leaned over an examination table and sobbed quietly.

We were treated with compassion, and had time alone with Maggie before the injection.  She fell asleep right away, and it was a few seconds before I realized that she would never wake up and that I lost my dog who I loved and who loved me innocently.  Mark and I held each other up. I reached in front of me, as though I had to grab something that would not be there. 

I felt cold.  It felt cold today, and I was grateful for Mark's quiet understanding, and the memories, and even for the storm that kept me home so I could allow myself to miss her...


  1. Very touching. Losing a dog, a friend, is an unbelievably painful experience. Thanks for sharing.

  2. How I remember that day ... and the sense of loss. We'll always share her memory. Keep on writing. You have the gift.

  3. Eric, thank you, as always, for lending your support.

    Mark..we will never forget....