I lost a true friend this weekend. She wasn’t human but she possessed the incredible attributes that make fine humans and fine dogs. Maggie was a Golden Retriever who had become blind in adulthood. In some ways it might have been easier for her as she had memorized so much of life by the time she lost her earthly eyes.
I pet sat her for a number of years and the very essence of that beloved pup seemed to remain with me even after I had driven away.
We had long conversations out at the common area where she particularly loved a variety of sniffs. It was miraculous with its soft grass, wildflowers and yes, sniffable spaces. I like to think she saw it all with her “other” eyes. When I walked her, there were the occasional bumps into objects that she quickly learned. Later she became frightened of the tile floors that made her slide a bit. Still, she carefully proceeded down the stairs to her pit which she had dug under a shade tree. A gentle command of “Down” was all she needed to start the descent, and oh how she loved to roll in the grass. Pure Joy!
I loved sitting in the chair in the lounge with her close at hand. We were buddies and I often read aloud to her. Most humans don’t reach that far into pet assignments, but Maggie was NEVER an assignment. I was honored to be with her whenever her owners called.
I like to think that since it is Chinese New Year, and the year of the Earth Dog, Maggie left at an auspicious time. I also know that she is somewhere above us watching with her new eyes. Her very gentleness fills the room as I write this last farewell.
The courage she taught me to go on in the face of all aridity will carry me through for many years to come. Blindness never stopped her one instant. It was, well, just something that happened along the way. Wouldn’t it be fine if we humans had that much detachment and yes, courage?
Paws up to you, Maggins. (This was my pet name for her). As I sit and watch the falling snow, tears fall for one of the finest dogs I’ve ever had the privilege of caring for.
Pet sitting has become a true journey of the heart, and this fair girl will be missed, incredibly missed by us all.