This morning, Blaker woke me up early to tell me that our dog, Maddie May, was gone. She had recently had some health issues, but it was still very unexpected. She started acting unwell last night, and Blaker checked on her throughout the night, then was with her this morning when she passed, curled up on her bed that was next to our own.
I adopted Maddie from a shelter in Charleston, SC, in November of 2002. Maddie and her sister had been picked up as strays and taken to the animal shelter where her sister, whom the shelter called "Cathy," had quickly been adopted. Maddie, whom they called "Chatty" because she was such a vocal little pup, had spent a month at the first shelter, then was transferred to a second shelter where she was nearing a month as well. This is where I found her. I walked in, heard some crazy animal howling at the top of her lungs in the back, and went to her immediately. She was dirty, matted, scruffy, and the most spastic damn dog I had ever encountered. Of course, I immediately fell in love.
No shelter employee or veterinarian I ever found was able to tell me exactly what kind of mix of dogs my Maddie May likely was. Guesses included poodle, maltese, wheaton terrier......who the hell knows. Because of that and because she had been a stray, I started calling her Junkyard Maddie, or Junky. She had other nicknames-- Tracker Jacker, because she loved to patrol the backyard; The Wampa, once Sutt became a Star Wars fan and we realized she looked like a wampa; Chastity Maddie, because she always wanted to be between Blaker and I, touching us both, in bed--but Junky was the original.
Maddie spent every second of her life being happy. It didn't matter where she was or what we were doing, she was the happiest creature I have ever known. Walks and rides in the car thrilled her to no end, and no one has ever been so enthusiastic about their family as Junky. Sometimes when I was sad, I would step outside, then come right back in so that she would get excited and spin in circles and howl at me to welcome me back after my thirty-second absence. She was incredibly smart, and she LOVED HER PEOPLES. If one of us sat down, Maddie had to sit touching us. She would sit and paw at you wanting you to pet her, and when she figured out that the pawing annoyed me, she would lick me instead (I'm a sucker for dog licks).
Spending eleven years with this amazing little dog taught me a lot of things: sing loud, love your peoples, and just be happy and grateful to be alive, no matter what else is going on in your life.
I will always be grateful to have had the time with her that we did.
Good girl, Maddie May. Your mama loves you.