On Monday at 1:00, our yellow Labrador Retriever Maddy will have an ultrasound. Yes, it’s serious, and yes, we’re anxious about what the test will show. After many previous tests, we learned that she has Cushings disease. I’ll let you google that to see what that means and the prognosis, but the reason for the ultrasound is to find out if she has the treatable kind….or the one that metastasizes, and is therefore not able to be treated.
Maddy has been—to put it mildly—a challenge from the first day we brought her home as an 8-week-old puppy. She was supposed to be calm and docile and easily trained. Yeah, right. After training 4 dogs and having little to no problems, I found her…impossible! So off to doggie boot camp she went for two weeks. The trainers told me that many dogs can leave early. But you guessed it already: Maddy stayed the entire two weeks. She’d learned, among other things, to “leave it” and lie down when we ate and to sit and wait while we went out of doorways first. It was a huge improvement, but she was still…Maddy. Exuberant and excitable and over-the-top everything.
So when we started noticing Maddy wasn’t quite her normal peppy self, and she even came to me to cuddle…well, clearly, something was wrong. She was eight years old March 1, and though we assumed she’d be with us for several more years—and she may indeed be—even if she hasn’t that long, Maddy has definitely lived life to the fullest. Because like Marley…Maddy has brought joy to Craig and me. And when she’s gone, we will so very dearly miss…
*the way she greets Craig whenever he comes home. She’s clearly a Daddy’s girl, always has been, and that is absolutely fine by me. She’s been Craig’s buddy and shadow for all these years, and he has loved that.
*Craig and Maddy’s morning routine of her “play growling” and nuzzling Craig, getting her neck rubbed in the process. She pretty much demands attention. And gets it.
*Maddy’s hiking skills. She has loved climbing the Rockies. And we’ve loved watching her.
*her athleticism – swimming, fetching, racing up our mountain here, Mt. Scott.
*how much Craig has loved this “love life to the fullest” dog. She’s the only dog he’s ever said “I’m crazy about her.”
Maddy hasn’t been sweet or cuddly or patient or great with other dogs or ever easy to manage on a leash, in the car, at motels, at the vet’s or the kennel. She’s been Maddy. So different from any other dog I’ve ever had or known.
After even considering returning Maddy to the kennel where we bought her, I’ve told people we eventually decided to love the puppy we got. Maybe with all our other sweet-spirited dogs, they were the ones who had to choose to “love the owners that they got”? And this is the first time it’s been the other way around? I think that could absolutely be true…
So Maddy….for all the times you made us laugh out loud, for all the times you challenged us to get out in the downpour and take you on a walk, for all the times you weren’t aware that your daddy’d had a horrible day, but you were there to greet him at the door like he walked on water….for all those times, I love you.
You haven’t been perfect, but God knows neither have we. And maybe that was your lesson for us to learn.
I love you, Mads. Always will. Thanks for loving us.