Maggie is gone, but the memories remain

Maggie is gone, but the memories remain by Bob Karolevitz Maggie, our golden retriever, has gone to that Great Dog Kennel in the Sky.

Not yet four years old, she suffered seizures which rendered her helpless and almost blind. The Primadone pills Phyllis gave her did the job for awhile, but even they couldn�t conquer the malady.

I watched my wife � the animal-lover � administer the dosage each evening, and sometimes Maggie fooled her by spiting out the pill when she wasn�t looking.

Then the dog, with tail wagging, waited patiently for her treat � a dog-bone-shaped cookie � and Phyllis popped in the pill a second time. In the end, however, the medicine didn�t work, and Maggie had to be put down.

Our friendly veterinarian called it �heavenizing� and gave Phyllis a sympathetic hug. Maggie was cremated, and we�ll get the ashes to scatter around the farm where she once romped.

There�ll probably be more tears then, too!

No longer will we be able to ask for a doggy bag when we go to the restaurant � unless, of course, my wife really wants the left-overs for us. Maggie is gone, and so are the chickens, so the compost pile gets what they used to clean up.

Being the frugal sort, I don�t want to throw anything away without some use. Composting, to me, is the answer, but Phyllis doesn�t favor it.

She thinks it�s too messy and will attract flies in the summertime and draw other varmints year around.

�Yes, but good compost would be beneficial for our garden,� I argued. �It�ll make the peas, beans and tomatoes grow ever so bountiful, and it�ll be all because of Maggie.�

Getting back to our departed pet, I�m sorry now that I called her a wimp. Instead she was a happy-go-lucky animal who never barked at the UPS man, the deer hunters or the rural mail carrier when they drove into the yard. She loved everybody, that�s why.

Oh, she chased squirrels, rabbits and even birds, but I don�t think she ever caught any. She probably wouldn�t know what to do with them if she did.

When she treed a squirrel, she�d leap into the air like a jumping jack, over and over again. She�d jump so high that she�d fall over backwards. Her prey, meanwhile, would sit up in the branches, scolding her while she leaped futilely way down below.

She shared her bed in the garage with the outside cat, then chased after it with seeming malice aforethought when it left the cozy nest. We also couldn�t break her of running after Phyllis�s miniature horses who would tear around the yard like it was Pimlico or the Kentucky Derby.

Then, too, we had to keep our chickens locked up because we were afraid she�d have a mouthful of feathers if we didn�t. Now both of them are gone, and darned if I don�t miss them.

Phyllis doesn�t talk about Maggie much. Her passing is too painful, I guess.

As she often does, she read this column before it was submitted, looking for inaccuracies and my flub-ups.

This time, though, I think I detected a sniffle or two.

� 2003 Robert F. Karolevitz

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