“Get this silly collar and the paw nails off of me”
Our 13 year friend, Maddie Miller, left us a few weeks ago. And I miss her. She was the sweetest person I know. I know dogs are not people but I sure wish more people were as sweet as Maddie. Maddie inherited me since she was my wife’s companion for more years than we had together. Laura found her as a pup in front of Mattie T. Blount High School, an inner city school in Prichard where she taught. Laura’s animals are all “found.” So Maddie found herself going home to the wonderful suburb of Montrose. I think she knew her circumstances improved that day and she showed her gratitude every day thereafter. I have never seen anyone so happy to greet anyone. The exception is shown above when Laura decided to dress Maddie for our Christmas party.
No head pet was more gracious to the pets we added after her. When new kittens would jump on her, Maddie just shrugged and kept smiling. When new folks would come into our life, Maddie met them with a smile and only asked for a little rub. Of course like so many little things in life, her small affinity for a rub became an addiction in her later years. Her last years were filled with “Maddie, our guest (or me) are tired of rubbing you.” Gracious yet undeterred, odd furniture and rugs became her rubbing companion of choice. Funny, I can sometimes feel her next to this chair just waiting for another pat, always smiling.
Maddie was a people person. In Montrose, she had a fenced back yard. You could leave her outside all day and she was happy. But if you were in the house, forget it. The back door was wood puttied more than once due to her desire to be around anyone inside. Not that, once inside, she demanded all your attention. She just wanted to be able to lie next to you and be included in any action.
When we moved to our condo, Maddie became my walking buddy. Actually, I became hers. If I foolishly decided to sleep in an extra half hour, a lick or paw or gentle bark after 10 minutes would remind me that my presence was required right then. I have never seen a dog so excited to have leash put on her and head out. She was contagious. Our cat PurrC couldn’t help but follow along each morning to play with Maddie. Like a four legged Cato, PurrC would hide in bushes and trees and launch endless surprise attacks on Maddie. Maddie was the jazz cool. She kept her smile, never reacted, and kept on heading for her next sniffing post. The exception to this was of course lighting and thunder. You could forget getting her out anywhere if that happened. You would find her in the stairwell refusing to give you any kind of eye contact. Maddie believed that if she didn’t look at you, you didn’t exist. Ever the lady, that was her way of avoiding the argument. I tried it a few times with Laura and wouldn’t recommend it. But it worked for Maddie.
Contrary to popular opinion, Maddie was a pure bred. She was pure friendly with a little happy bred in somewhere. She lived her afternoons in the most strategic location in our condo, the stairwell. You had to pet that smiling face when you came in each day.
Toward the end, Maddie’s hips starting giving out so we kept her on the bottom floor. She knew it was best because, unlike the back door, she never clawed through our retaining gate. Still the same old smile and excitement greeted me and PurrC each morning.
And that’s what I miss. Mornings seem way too quiet. PurrC, now five, seems lost too. My neighbors tell me he now follows them when they walk their dogs. I think Maddie would be happy she trained him so well.
We have an urn and a little memorial for Maddie in the stairwell. We put a cross there to remind of us of our faith. It makes we wonder. Will I see Maddie when I get to heaven? Nothing in the Bible references pets yet I know God is love and I know Maddie was love. Maddie is gone. And I feel certain that Maddie is a dog gone to heaven. See ya girl.