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Final Ride for a Princess


Last night when I got the phone call that we were going to have to say goodbye forever to Maddie I cried. Twelve years ago we saved her just moments before she was going to be put down. Her shelter name was Sally. I remember how incredibly happy we were. We had gone to go look at another dog and it just didn’t work out when we were told about this sweet girl that was in the very last kennel in the back. I remember how scared she was then. Her tail was tucked between her legs and she was anxious. She got a long with Max so we began our adventure together. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

Since then Maddie has been an integral part of our life. Anyone that owns dogs knows they are family. The funny part was I was the one that really wanted a second dog as a companion to Max but when we brought Maddie home she instantly formed and unbreakable bond with her human mom. They have been inseparable ever since.

Before getting old she loved play fighting with Max and swimming in the pond in Iowa (A Dog Disney Land for her). She loved playing in the snow and taking long walks. She also loved car rides. For many years we would have to spell out the word R-I-D-E around her because she knew what it meant and would get so excited---her tail wagging vigorously in euphoria. She loved getting ice cream on her birthday and was a world class cuddle companion. She was such a good dog Charlie would even let her on the couch and bed when her and Max visited Macomb.

Like all dogs time was her ultimate enemy. In the last couple of years her ailments have added up. She has also always been tortured by anxiety. Her fear of fireworks and thunderstorms was all too real and she was not a fan of being alone. As she was getting tested for something else yesterday we discovered she had a spleen that had doubled in size in just two weeks that could explode at any moment as well as cancer that had spread, including a sizable tumor pushing on her heart. Cancer is cruel thing---in humans and dogs.

So this morning Dana made her scrambled eggs and she got all kinds of hugs and kisses while being soaked in tears. Then one final ride with the window down. Her last moments were peaceful, beautiful, loving, dignified, and heart wrenching. In a world full of meanness and nastiness Maddie was one the sweetest creatures on earth. It is unbelievable painful to let something so precious go even when you know it is the right thing to do. Her band aide this morning was purple with a heart on it. Fitting since that is the color of Western Illinois University and royalty. Make no mistake that she was both a Leatherneck and a Princess with a huge heart.

Twelve years flashed by in moments. We will always have the memories and the pictures and she will always live in our heart.  I take solace in the fact that she is going to have pain free sleep and is finally at peace. Her addled body restored to new while playing in Heavens Dog Park waiting for Max to join her someday. She has a piece of our heart that will never be replaced. That is what happens when you fall in love with a beautiful princess.

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then I want to go where they went---Will Rodgers




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