The care and feeding of The Madison …

This is the story of a boy and his dog.  And a young man and his dog.  And an old girl and “her” dog.  Turns out they’re all the same dog — a Maltese named Madison — and she’s led a fairly incredible life so far.  Her first story was happy … until it wasn’t.  The boy loved her, but his girlfriend didn’t, so while he was away working nobody took care of tiny Madison.  The young man took her in then and loved her and provided for her, and they were a good team.  But his life got really busy and Madison was spending a lot of hours alone.  SOOOO … the old girl talked him into letting the little peanut come stay at her house, at least for a while.  That’s love in its purest form, people, and Kim and I don’t take lightly the sacrifice he’s making for the sake of her health and well-being.

Miss Maddie will be ten years old in October, but she still looks like a puppy and remembers how to act like one.  She was coughing and gagging every day, and seemed listless, so on a hunch we changed her food and treats to brands that don’t contain wheat.  Thanks to a tip from a certified dog person, we also eliminated chicken.  The respiratory symptoms are going away, she’s sleeping fewer daytime hours, and she’s started initiating rambunctious play again and bringing us her dapper little green dinosaur so we can wrestle it away from her and throw it across the room.  She’s good as gold about potty habits, and she sleeps all night without disruption.  If left on her own she wakes up about 8am, just like I do.  Perfect!

Madison adores Kim, but she’s chosen me as her Person, which fills me with gratitude and gooey slurpy love.  Even when she has old-lady breath — which we’re also working on — I can’t get enough of her.  She goes with us on all the little errands that don’t require taking her into NO DOGS areas (the nerve!), and she’s a calm and entertaining passenger.  When we instead tell her “Maddie has to stay this time,” she looks at us with her big black eyes and takes it with good grace.  She doesn’t chew on things, or get up to shenanigans, and we never have a second thought about leaving her to roam the loft while we’re out.  She’s a little lady.  Her joy when we get home is something we didn’t know we were missing … and would have a hard time giving up now.

She’s an instant conversation-starter and makes friends all over town.  Jeez, to be so popular!  She still gets to go to The Farm to see her black Lab friend Mia and the three kittens, James, Red Molly, and Elsa … and her Big Guy when he’s there.  But it’s clear she isn’t really a farm girl, with her alabaster fur coat and frilly tail — she’s a princess and we’re happy to let her be exactly that, especially since she doesn’t have an attitude.  It’s a happy arrangement … except possibly for the Big Guy, who misses her when he’s home at night.

Maddie makes us laugh, and she brings out a tender grandparent-y thing in both of us that feels just right at this stage of our lives.  Thank you, Kevin, for having such a good heart — we love you.  And Madison will always belong to you, no matter where she might live out her days.

 

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Judy Smith
    Jul 12, 2014 @ 15:10:53

    Reply

  2. maureenjenner
    Jul 12, 2014 @ 12:58:46

    A heartwarming story that has a happy ending – so far. It always angers me when people treat animals as expendable belongings – I cannot understand why people have dogs and leave them at home all day alone. Perhaps the same should be done to the owners – a taste of their own medicine. Who was it who said, ‘The more I see of human nature, the more I love my dog.’

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    • Judy Smith
      Jul 12, 2014 @ 15:12:19

      I totally agree with the quote, Maureen. (It’s generally credited to Mark Twain, but apparently it preceded him by perhaps centuries.) In our friend’s case, his long absences were somewhat unforeseen — he definitely loves the little marshmallow. However, I do agree that a lot of people don’t seem to see dogs and other animals as sentient beings with feelings and psyches. They deserve much better.

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