Family History · Labradors and Friends

Maggie’s Story

Maggie was an unusual variety of rescue dog–a puppy, only eight weeks old! Her mother was one of two black Labrador rescues, adopted by the same family, who had neglected to have both dogs spayed as required. There was a male black Lab in the neighborhood, who was presumed to have jumped the fence, but considering Maggie’s small adult weight of about 43 lbs., another dog must have visited. Christmas of ’03 was the birthdate of 16 black puppies, turned over to Atlanta Lab Rescue as soon as they could leave their mommies. Maggie was the smallest, so we called her our “mini-Lab” .

Within hours, we took Maggie to meet her new grandparents–Dana and Pa and MeMaw had called our previous dog, Sandy, their “grand-dog.” Maggie at 11 lbs. was much smaller than Dana and Pa’s elderly Boogaloo, a miniature poodle. Boogaloo took one look at our little puppy’s big feel, then yapped and snarled at her. San-Bon the cat hissed at Maggie too. Maggie whined all evening! After that, Dana and Pa petted their new grand-dog at our house, and because of grandparents, Maggie slowly learned not to jump up on people!

Maggie was the cutest puppy! Our daughters were 10 and 13 when we got her, and it was an excellent learning experience. They loved playing with her, giving her belly-rubs and they understood the discipline of getting her outside, because accidents were to be avoided! (Daddy and I were in charge of the late-night trip, of course.) Some days the girls had to take turns playing with Maggie, like many siblings were taking turns with Nintendo game sets! Maggie loved riding in the car to pick up the girls at activities, but as she grew larger, she was made to sit in the back, because she always wanted to drive!

Maggie loved to chase tennis balls. Maggie’s litmus test for new friends and later boyfriends was “Will you play ball with me?” Even when Maggie was 10 we had to convince “the children” to restrain themselves from tossing balls down stairs, as Maggie would fly down the stairs to catch the ball, and we always feared an accident.

True to her Labrador heritage, Maggie loved to chew! We were proactive, with stern “No!” and putting shoes and purses out of her way, but we quickly decided Maggie had “a wood deficiency,” any stick in the yard would become her chew toy. When she started on the kitchen cabinets, I turned to google, and quickly coated all the cabinet edges, plus our chair and table legs with hot sauce. Maggie never chewed furniture again, but anything she was allowed to chew didn’t last long.

Maggie also loved to run, so much that she broke a metal choke chain when she was a few months old–the squirrel was too tempting. We resorted to a greyhound collar which she could neither break or slip off and escape. Running was such fun!

Maggie enjoyed being with her doggie friends, Sydney down the street, and Maya the mini dachshund, they ran like two black streaks. As my regular readers know, Maggie wasn’t a fan of Dale at first, he kept bumping into her, and his visit in her house was rather long. You can’t explain to a dog that another dog is blind, but by the time Maggie realized Dale wasn’t just visiting, she also became protective of him, barking furiously at anyone she didn’t know.

Maggie had been slowing down over the past year–15 1/2 is old for any dog, certainly for a dog who is at least half Labrador. She rallied during Christmas, happy to play with our daughters and the Christmas International House students. She wore an elizabethan collar with style and turned it into a nocturnal percussion instrument (see previous post, “Elizabethan Maggie”). Wednesday, a week ago, Maggie crossed the Rainbow Bridge into doggie heaven, having lived a good life. Rest in Peace, Maggie darling. We miss you.

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