“Well behaved women seldom make history.”
Maddy wasn’t the most well read, but that quote really resonated with her. My family’s german wired-hair pointer was never described as subtle. She was never one of those dogs where guests exclaimed, “I didn’t even realize she was here!” No, you knew she was there because she gave you more kisses than you bargained for, or maybe she just stole your piece of birthday cake…on your birthday (sorry Grandpa Jack).
My family has enough stories for me to fill this entire blog. And everyone who has met her (or met anyone in our family) has gathered a few as well. They’re these sweet souvenirs that can make me laugh at any moment.
Long before I made it to a yoga mat, she taught us non-attachment. I couldn’t help but be impressed when she limped around the house, and then ate the pizza out of my hand when I bent down to see what was wrong. Another time, she ran down the halls of my middle school as my mom weaved through students to chase after her. As a sixth grader, this was mortifying. Instead of spending the day embarrassed, I responded to the telling of this story with, “I heard about that! I wonder whose dog that was…” Or more importantly, when we had a bad day, how quickly it could all melt away with a single Maddy story or a cuddle on the couch.
We said goodbye to Maddy today. And on the surface, this all seems silly. There should be no reason for so many emotions or feelings of loss. But anyone who has a pet, especially a dog, knows what’s on paper has nothing to do with the experience of losing a four-legged loved one.
They start to become part of our family, not just because we treat them like royalty, but because they choose to be an active family member. They choose to give love when it is needed most. They choose to be the constant in all situations. They choose us, just as much as we choose them. Maddy was always the one piece of our lives our family could relate on every single day. It’s not in the weakness of the family, but in the strength of the connection that our animals end up being our glue.
Now I can only speak for the last four hours, but I don’t think that glue is conditional. Though it’s physically gone, I don’t believe the it’s power is lost. For all the memories you shared are still there. All the stories that made you laugh, or cry, or both at the same time, will still be told. For all of you experienced giving and getting love in a completely new way. It doesn’t go away.
I think the only way we lose the power of that glue is by pretending it wasn’t as strong as it was. By only allowing ourselves to feel what makes sense on paper, we’re not giving credit where credit is due.
It’s only by recognizing this unique connection that we’re able to grow, and that we’re able to share that love in other ways.