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Maggie's Story

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All dogs are uniquely wonderful. Cared for by kind owners, they will strive to meet and surpass your expectations, and give you years of love and loyalty.


Maggie is gone now. For ten short years, she was my friend, my constant companion, and my protector.


I first met Maggie when I was a volunteer dog-walker at an animal shelter. I wanted a rescued dog of my own, but unfortunately the shelter only seemed to get big strong dogs, turned in or abandoned because they were so difficult to manage. I considered one of these, but, as my training skills were sadly lacking, I decided that idea was not a good one.

One morning when I arrived at the shelter, I noticed a pretty, little, black and tan girl, bouncing around as I approached her cage. She looked perfect for me, and, after having her pass muster with my son-in-law, who had some experience with dogs, I took her home.

Maggie had been found wandering the highway, and had been named by one of the shelter attendants. Try as I might I couldn't think of a better name so Maggie she was, and Maggie she would remain. Maggie weighed in at thirty pounds and was considered full-grown - an obvious error. Maggie soon topped out at over seventy pounds. Seventy pounds of love, boundless energy, and an enthusiasm for life, such as I had never seen.


I found out later that Maggie was a pure bred Briard. These dogs are herders and guard dogs, hard-wired with an instinct to protect. Maggie, living with me, would not be molded into show dog appearance. She would instead have her lovely long fur clipped short in summer, and her lovely floppy ears left unglued and uncropped.

There is no doubt that Maggie was a beautiful dog, with thick wavy fur, and coal black borders around her dark eyes, and trimming her ears and tail.


It soon became apparent that Maggie had an insatiable appetite, with her personal radar trained on any edible items in her path.

Her first successful conquest involved pulling the resting Thanksgiving turkey from the counter and tucking in for a feast. She once ate nine out of a batch of twelve muffins, cooling on the counter. She ate twenty-three of two dozen cookies, meant for an ailing neighbor. She ate a stick of butter, and most of the wrapper. Twice she got into the cupboard and into her food container, and, after gorging herself, lay on the floor with a very round belly, groaning softly. This is just a sample of Maggie's 'adventures with food'.

It became clear that all kitchen counters had to be kept clear of food items, and nothing edible could ever be left unguarded, including garbage, one of her favorites. Kitchen refuse was kept in a hanging bag, well out of reach of those bounding back legs.


When I first brought young Maggie home, I decided to keep her confined to the kitchen, with a barrier of cardboard book boxes. "I think not", said Maggie, and proceeded to eat her way to freedom through the bottom of the boxes.

I immediately purchased a baby gate, just the right idea ."I think not", said Maggie, who quickly scrambled over the top.

I purchased another baby gate and installed it tightly against the top of the first, then went out shopping "I think not", said Maggie. When I returned home, she greeted me at the door.

I needed to find the ideal place for Maggie to remain whenever I had to leave her alone. Fortunately I had a large laundry room with ample space for Maggie's bed, water dish, and a variety of toys. I could now leave Maggie alone, confident that she, and all else in the home, was safe. "I think not", said Maggie. Returning home I found her happily exploring the house. The bottom of the laundry room door was missing - a few chips was all that remained.

From then on Maggie was free to roam the house at will. She never abused the privilege.

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Throughout her life, Maggie would excitedly chase anything that moved. Her favorite targets were squirrels, and birds. She would jump at birds that flew by, and the poor Hummingbirds, coming for a feed, had to be always watchful for the leaping presence below. Something up there smelled like a sweet treat. Squirrels never lingered long with Maggie in residence.

Back then, I walked Maggie on an extendable leash. She would run circles around me - fortunately we lived in an isolated area - and in and out of any ditch, the wetter and muddier the better. She would then bound back to me, a smile of pure joy on her face.


When Maggie was young I lived on an island webbed with countless walking paths and acres of untamed brush to explore. With Maggie I would go anywhere. She could unfailingly find home - probably a food related skill.

A man approached me once and said that Maggie was a true guard dog, pointing out that no matter who approached, Maggie would place herself in their path.`And so it was, something I had never noticed. Her size and wonderful deep booming bark was also warning enough to approaching strangers, who failed to please her.


When Junebug came into our lives, the wildness simply doubled. Fortunately I had a large half-acre for their pleasure. They played non-stop and when I ordered them in, they ran in opposite directions and tried to hide.

When a fresh blanket of snow covered the ground, they had work to do. Out they ran and didn't stop until every inch of fresh snow was trampled under their flying feet.

Both dogs slept on my bed and at six a.m. they would spring to life. Don't even think about sleeping in. That pleasure was simply not allowed. The two dogs ran back and forth over my poor pummeled body, until I would rise - purely out of self-defense - let them out, and then fed them.


In the evening the two dogs lounged on the couch, sometimes one at each end and sometimes in a pile. At around eight o'clock Junebug would slowly rise, give a long stretch and head down the hall, big Maggie following close on her heals. Nothing could persuade them to return. Their day was over, and they were going to bed. That was that. The room seemed empty without them.


I think about Maggie often. Though her life was cruelly shortened by disease, I believe she enjoyed every minute she had, and gave a special something to all who knew her.


Many people do not understand the bond that can exist between a dog and a human. Suffice to say that if you treat a dog with kindness, no matter what worldly possessions you have or lack, no matter how lovely or unlovely your are, no matter whether the world considers you a success, or a failure, that dog will never judge you lacking, but will instead repay your kindness with their lifetime of unconditional love, loyalty and undying devotion.

Such was my Maggie.


billips (author) from Central Texas on January 13, 2016:

I understand your feelings Peachpurple. Pets fill our lives as nothing else can, because they are always loyal, never judgmental, and their love is undying. I'm sure your feel it still.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on January 13, 2016:

I'm so sorry. Maggie sounds amazing. How lovely that the two of you found each other.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 11, 2016:

i feel sad, because i missed by kitty too, she was gone for 30 years. Feeling sad for you

billips (author) from Central Texas on January 11, 2016:

I must apologize to you. I was not ready to publish this Hub, so it came to you complete with errors. They have now been corrected and I have decided to leave it as is. Maggie died over two years ago, and yes, she was a wonderful dog. Thank you for your kind comments.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 11, 2016:

I'm very sorry for your loss.

Chantelle Porter from Ann Arbor on January 11, 2016:

That was a lovely tribute. She sounds like she was a wonderful dog.

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