Maddie has gone home to God – February 11, 2014

You let them into your heart knowing someday they are going to break it.  – Georgia Bowker

There’s more room in a broken heart.  – Carly Simon

It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them.  And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart.  If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.   – Unknown

Maddie – AKA Madelaine, Bug, Super Bug, Angel Dog – went to the Rainbow Bridge today.  That she was a part of our life at all was an amazing blessing.  We never went looking for another dog.  If we had been looking, we could never have imagined finding the best dog that ever lived.  Ever.  And we had almost twice as much time with her after her diagnosis than was predicted so… I am grateful.  I still intend to capture and tell stories of her life with us here – when I can.

With regard to her cancer, she had been doing this pattern whereby she declined, then rallied but not quite as high as before, then plateaued for awhile.  This past weekend she had a big decline but rallied a very little bit.  Finally, by Sunday, her breathing was becoming labored and we were not going to let her get to the point that she was in distress.  So we decided that if she seemed like she could make it, we would take her in today.  She did OK until today and she was really laboring to breathe today.  But she never lost her appetite; she was a chow hound up to the very end.  We took a little bowl of turkey gourmet dog food to the vet and as they were giving her her injection, she was having a little feast.  And then she was gone.  Our vets and their staff (Audubon Vet Clinic) are just the best.  Dr Moore has always been awesome with Maddie and us.  He was so comforting and gentle.  And I can’t single out any of the staff because for sure I will miss someone in my fog here – but EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM has helped us in this journey.

We brought her home for a bit so Mic and Moli could see her and that she was gone.  We all sat on the kitchen floor and cried.  Mic had actually said his good byes before we took her to the vet.  Before we took her in, he snuggled up to her and would not leave her.  Mike had to carry him downstairs – he would not go on his own, and he LOVES his bed and a cookie.  So when we brought her little body home, he sniffed and then lay down about 4 feet from her.  Moli lay down face to face with her and kept sniffing her face.  Moli is going to miss her a lot.  Which is funny because Moli was not enthusiastic about her when she first came to live with us!

We are going to have her cremated.  The current plan is to bury her ashes in the garden near St Francis and I have a special flower to plant over the top of her.  I took a little lock of each of our hair and wove it into her fur so a part of us will be cremated with her.  I can’t pick a “hardest part” about this whole experience.  It is still evolving.  It has been especially hard, though,  to see my husband unable to talk because he is sobbing.  I think I know a little of how helpless he has felt for the last 2 months while I periodically fell apart.

As I write, I keep looking down at my feet to see if Maddie needs to go out – but she is not there.  She is now free – running, barking, chasing bugs.  And I hope waiting for us.

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