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“Maisie Day”

August 26, 2016

 

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Yesterday, we had to put Maisie, our 14-year-old dog, to sleep after she succumbed to advanced heart disease. Maisie was our first dog. (And the first and only dog I have ever owned in my life). We “rescued” her from an animal shelter as a several month old puppy. My daughters, particularly my youngest Maryanne, never forgot the promise that when we moved from McClean, Virginia to Columbus that we would get a dog. ( I blame that one on Anne!). The question “When our we going to get a dog?” was asked perpetually in our household for several years after we moved. Finally, in 2002, we adopted Maisie, a cute terrier, dachshund (and probably a lot of other dog types?)  mixed breed. In addition, to being very different looking , (some even called her “funny looking”), Maisie had a very unique personality. She was very shy and fearful of others (both dogs and humans) that she did not know. At her first and only puppy class that my wife took her too, she spent the bulk of it hiding in fear behind my wife’s legs while all the other dogs were playing in the room.

But she was quite different when her surroundings were familiar. She was very protective of us, ruling “her” house and yard with a loud, deep sounding bark when any intruders or friends or the mailman came near. She must have sounded like an 80 pound ferocious german shepherd until people saw this little 20 pound dog, barking and then retreating. And of course she never bit or attacked anyone. In fact, it only took a few sniffs of the person and then she was fine, the danger in her mind having passed.

She was a loyal and very loving dog with a gentle disposition. When I was alone in the house for a few days, I never felt alone because Maisie was always there. Of course, she could be a pain during the summer (and for that matter the Spring and Fall too). Bark at the front door – let me out, bark at the side door – let me in, bark at the back door – let me out, bark at the front door – let me in etc. While in our yard, she loved to chase squirrels (but never catch them) and her (and our) earlier years she would go on long walks and even runs with us. After the kids moved to college/jobs in New York, we became empty nesters about 6 years ago and I started to bond even more with Maisie. When up at our summer camp, she loved to jump up on our bed and be next to me so I could pet her while I was reading.

I will remember Maisie best for her joy of living and just being a dog, when we would walk along the country road near our camp and Maisie would catch the scent of a deer or another animal. She would bound along by the side of the road , leaping up above the tall grass so she could see where she was going. It was at these times that we would sing “Maisie Day” (To the tune of the Cowsills “Lazy Day”) and all was wonderful with the world.

Now she’s gone, and I miss her terribly. Thank you Maisie for being part of my life.

 

 

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5 Comments
  1. Jonathan Blitzer permalink

    Our Roxie was almost 15 when she left us. She too was a rescue dog, whom we adopted at about 8 months of age, when our kids were 9 and 7. Rachel had wanted a dog for years, and I wanted her to learn responsibility–I didn’t want a dog in the first place, and didn’t want to be left taking care of the animal once the kids’ interest in her faded. So we went to the Animal Shelter, and I said, “if you work here for a while, and learn to care for an animal, you can have a dog.” Well, the attendant there said “sorry, Mister, but we don’t let nine year old girls work here.” I could feel the man’s eyes drilling into the back of my head as we walked away.
    Fortunately there was a woman who did pet rescue who had a pickup full of animals, who spotted us and said “I have just the pet for you. Come back next week.” So one week later, the truck pulled up and a black and brown dog hopped out. I wanted to name her Pretzel, because of her colors, but the kids would have none of it (they later admitted it would have been a cool name). So “Breanna” was quickly renamed Roxie and within weeks of her arrival at home, had lost most of the good habits she had learned, and become unruly. She needed to be trained.
    So we hired Sean Crean, an Irishman who treated the dog most harshly, but the dog obeyed and although we cringed, we learned how to dominate, to be alpha, and some doggy psychology.
    We also learned some doggy spirituality. We learned about unconditional love, faithfulness, loyalty, wandering and finding one’s way home, care and feeding, cleaning up after messes, companionship and fellowship.
    Being a pet owner also introduced me to the camaraderie of neighborhood dog walkers, who would have remained complete strangers to me had I not had a pet.
    When the kids were off at college and my wife was off at work, Roxie and I shared the empty house. As she aged and couldn’t be left alone, it was my duty to take her to doggy day care before going off to work, and picking her up became as urgent as my other clinical duties.
    Finally she slowed to the point where something was obviously wrong, and the vet told us that the end had come. Roxie passed quickly in our arms, and left a hole in the family that is still there.
    They say that life begins when the kids move out and the dog dies, but a life of sorts ended when Roxie died; a chapter closed, but left all of us kinder, more understanding, more community-minded, and, I hope, better parents.

  2. Joyce permalink

    Beautiful eulogy for Miss Daisie Day! So sorry you lost this wonderful dog who gave so much love and was loved in return! They really do become part of our families and never easy to lose them!

  3. Boyd Vaughan permalink

    Hi Bruce,
    So sorry to hear about Maisie Day. She sounds like she was a wonderful companion. I’ve had dogs almost my whole life and it’s amazing how much a part of the family they become. We’ve got two shelter dogs now, Miss Sadie and Miss Lilly, and not a day goes by that they don’t at least make us smile, if not burst out laughing. There are the occasional frustrating moments, but those are minor compared to all the joy.
    Take Care,
    Boyd

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