Last Monday I received a phone call at work
“If you want to say goodbye to Maggie, you’d better come home now”
Maggie, our little Dandie Dinmont, had only been with us for three short years. We were introduced to her as a frightened, cautious, introverted little dog at a rescue centre close to our hotel where we were spending a week’s holiday. Once seen we knew we could not leave her and decided to welcome her into our family. She shared our ups and downs as we relocated 5 times in and out of hotels, holiday lets and rental accommodation before finally coming to Scotland. As we settled she quickly became acquainted with local forests, parks, beaches alongside her trusty little companion Millie who, like us, is bereft now that Maggie has gone.
Travelling home as fast as I dared, I arrived to find my little Dandie standing to greet me with her great big welcoming eyes and I knew she was very poorly. Carrying her carefully up the steps to the garden, she slowly, painfully tottered around the conifers, snout down, sniffing for a scent of her enemy – Big Whitey – the Cat Next Door. Before coming into the house, bending down to her level, I saw that this was her last time there.
Once inside the house, wrapped in her blanket, cuddled on my lap, vet phoned and appointment made for 2 hours time, we sat together, silently savouring this precious time. If I could have shared my fears this would have been what Maggie would have heard.
Is it time for you to leave us, my beautiful little Dandie? Your skin is warm; your once muscled little legs are weak – your body ravaged so quickly by the dreadful disease of cancer. You try to lift your head but bow-like, your little body is bent: too weak to raise it high. And so, stooped, your once bright huge brown nocturnal eyes can only look back, pain riddled. Your legs tremble, your breath flutters and I know it is time to say goodbye.
And so with breaking hearts, we prepare to take you on your final journey with us to the veterinary surgery. Late at night, full moon lighting country roads we drive a dreadful journey, carrying our precious little dog, longing for more time with you. For the past week we have tried to make you well again – please eat a little my darling little dog – please drink – just a few drops? Sustenance. To keep you with us for a while longer. Selfish really.
We really don’t want you to leave us, our little companion of just three short years. Stay a while: let us cuddle you as always – let us see you run around, ears up, little tail straight and tall as you dash about with Millie. Let us love you a little bit more. We haven’t had you long enough – just another while will do. We love you little Meg.
So we travelled, weary, teary, heavy heartedly. You lay in my arms quiet, still breathing softly. When we arrived at the vets there was a queue – even at this late hour. Good! We stayed there in the back seat you and I, snuggling and cuddling quietly. A little moonlit walk across the grass for ablutions. Too soon you tired and made your way slowly stumbling back to the car as we looked on in sorrow. I think you had had enough. The dear vet, kindly, caringly compassionately knew we wanted a magical fixing and found himself being prescriptive and firm with us, patiently explaining that Maggie was very poorly and needed to leave us to rest. No we could not take her home. That was not an option. So we smiled at our little dog and held her as she passed away before leaving to return, depleted, worn and sorrowful beyond words. Millie her puppy companion moaned and cried wet tears as we travelled back without Maggie. She was only a dog – yes. And dog’s don’t live too long but dogs are our faithful loving trusting companions who ask only for walks, play times and company and they give so much to us.
Goodbye little Maggie. You touched our lives and we loved you very much.