One year ago today, we lost our beloved yellow lab Maggie. It was Easter, and it was only a few short months after we lost our chocolate lab Rambler the previous Thanksgiving. Holidays are rough around here.
I adopted Maggie during my fifth and final year of college. I wanted a puppy; our friends’ farm had a steady supply of roly-poly yellow balls of energy. We picked her out of the litter using a very scientific method: we put all the puppies in the bed of the truck, and the first one that came to me also came home with me.
It was a few days before St. Patrick’s Day and the annual parade extravaganza. Like most new puppy parents, I hadn’t planned ahead and had no place to put a six week old puppy for eight hours. So, I loaded Maggie up in a portable puppy kennel and took her along. She cried in the kennel, so I finally took her out and let her run around the back of the truck. She promptly crawled into someone’s duffel bag and fell asleep.
Maggie was quirky. Whenever someone came to the door, she ran to find something- anything- to grab while she wiggled and whined for attention. When too many people were around, she hid upstairs. She loved to play fetch, like any good labrador retriever, and she loved the water. But not baths.
Maggie was perfectly healthy until one Saturday last year. Her behavior was just strange enough that I took her to the vet, fifteen minutes before their office closed. They kept her for observation that afternoon, and four hours and four hundred dollars later they couldn’t find anything wrong. They sent her home with pain medication and the phone number for an emergency vet in case she got worse.
She got worse. The next day, Easter Sunday, we drove her to the emergency animal hospital. Within five minutes the vet informed us she was bleeding internally from ruptured tumors that we never knew she had, and there was nothing they could do. We made the tough decision for the second time in six months and went home and cried. A lot.
It’s comforting to us that Maggie is buried on the same farm where she was born. I miss her every day.