Maggie came into our lives from AB&TC Rescue in the fall of 1999. She had been found with one pup, tied to the door knob of a Florida shelter. She was featured in Happy Endings on the site sometime after that.

Maggie joined Odin, our beagle/shepard pound puppy, and quickly made her presence (authority) known. Initially, the dogs were kept in their crates, from which Maggie easily escaped - a feat which was completely perplexing. After going through repairs to her crate several times, we finally gave up and put them in the kitchen when we weren't home, secured with a baby gate. Once we were gone, Maggie would jump the gate like a deer, and leave Odin wondering, "Wow, how'd she do that?" We'd come home to find Maggie anywhere in the house, and Odin chomping at the bit to get out of the kitchen - as though Maggie had been wagging her tongue at him - "Nah, nah, nah, nah naaaah!!"

We moved to a larger house, and so Odin and Maggie had free reign in the basement family room, which they made their home. This also would require their getting used to the electric fence that was installed in the yard. Odin took to it easily, but Maggie tested the boundaries over the next year. She shimmied out a corner & ran through the neighborhood, shouting for all to hear. She was such a free spirit, and enjoyed running, playing, and talking with any one who would listen.

Sadly, Odin developed a lesion on his spine in October 2005. Within a week, she saw him collapse in our hallway, and me carry him and his bed to the van to take him to the vet. The next day, we took Maggie in to say Goodbye, and did so ourselves. Maggie was so heartbroken that one of our neighbors, not knowing what had happened, phoned us at work to let us know they heard howling/crying in the house, and they thought one of the dogs was hurt. Little did they know, it was her heart that hurt so terribly.

After that, Maggie was never far from my side. From the time I got home from work in the evening, she followed me from room to room, right at my hip. Once I sat down, her head would be on my lap, then one front paw, then both front paws, and she would curl into me, putting her head on my chest, and just taking in the love & warmth. The hind legs never made it off the floor, but she was content to be "half" a lap dog!

In 2008, Maggie's dad and I separated, and again, she was my constant companion. I found a great place to live, with woods for walking, and Maggie & I had a new home, along with her human brother and sister. She "held" me through hard times, and was there to keep my smile going with her puppy-like antics. Her age was showing, but that was only the grey in her Black & Tan. She ran, she played, and was just as mischievous as ever. Once someone, on a walk through the woods, asked me how old my puppy was. My answer, "Oh, she's only 11!" My boyfriend developed a great relationship with her, and egged her on, pounding on the floor until she howled in return. He also has a great field in which she would run after us with a playful grin. We knew she was thinking, "Ya know, I could catch you - if I really wanted to!" We also took her camping, and she was the perfect camp dog, enjoying the sun during the day, and curling up with us at night by the fire.

In December 2008, I took her to the vet for her annual physical. Jeanne found two rather large mast cell tumors. Maggie underwent surgery for removal of those, and had one 8-10 inch incision near her ribs, and one 5-6 inch incision lower, near her mammary glands. She didn't start talking to me for 3 days, and it was frightening to see her so down. Once she turned around, she was more cautious with her steps, and really seemed she'd lost her puppy playfulness. Still, as faithful and mischievous as ever, she still laid half her body on my lap in the evenings, crawled onto my bed when I wasn't home, and crawled around my head during thunderstorms in the middle of the night. (One 10-minute storm kept us up for hours, just trying to settle down.)

Sadly, the tumors were not the end of her illness. In March we took her back to see Jeanne because we'd spotted what looked like ring worm on her right hip. She said it wasn't ring worm, but wasn't sure what it was; some sort of scabeous infection. In June, after undergoing a lengthy trial of high range antibiotics, and seeing other "spots" show on her body, we were told Maggie had lymphoma. We started steroids to help her keep comfortable, but the pads of her feet were already becoming raw. We'd stopped walking in late May because the pavement hurt too much, and by August, she was having trouble getting up to go outside. I'd started carrying her out, and had to be careful, for fear of touching or hurting one of the sores that had developed all over her body from the cancer.

Finally, on August 25th, 2009, I said Goodbye to my Girl for the last time as she fell asleep in my arms, with my son beside me. She was my mainstay, my friend, a part of our family, and a hole in my heart will always remain - right where she laid her head on my chest.

Thank you so much for letting this Angel come into our lives. We are all truly better off for having known her!

Betsy Johnson

24 March 2010