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 for an animal shelter. The shelter only had big dogs, big strong dogs, that had been turned in largely because they were untrained and hence difficult to manage. One morning when I arrived, I noticed a pretty, black and tan girl, bouncing against her cage, when anyone came near. She looked perfect, 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 seventy pounds. Seventy pounds of love, energy, and an enthusiasm for life, such as I have never seen.
Oh my Maggie. Those in the know, told me she was a cross between a Briard, and a Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier. She got her size, her gait, and her general demeanor from the Briard, and from the Wheaten, she got her ever-growing soft beautiful coat, and the coal black borders around her dark eyes.
Maggie was through and through a terrier, a breed that I love, and a breed that can be so wild and exasperating they make me laugh. They love everybody and everything. They have boundless energy, and curiosity, and they seem born to make trouble.
Maggie was a food pig. She would eat anything and everything. Her first conquest was to pull the resting Thanksgiving turkey from the counter, and tuck in for a feast. She ate nine out of a batch of twelve muffins, cooling on the counter. The ate twenty-three of the 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 dog food container, and after gorging herself, lay on the floor with a very round belly, groaning throughout the night. It was soon evident that no food could ever be left anywhere unsupervised, and that included garbage, especially garbage. Our kitchen refuse was in a hanging bag, well out of reach of those bounding back legs.
Maggie was the happiest of dogs. Throughout her life, she would chase anything that moved. Her favorite targets were cats, 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.
I said Maggie was my protector and so she was. She had a wonderful loud, deep bark, that made anyone who did not know her, pull back.
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 a lifetime of unconditional love, loyalty and undying devotion.