Thursday, July 22, 2010

Maggie's Gone

Well, Maggie’s gone. She was eighteen years old and a fine, fine dog. If ever a dog deserved rest it was Maggie. But humans are a complex sort and being no exception I find myself angered by her leaving. Not at her..just mad in general. Eighteen years is a long time to have someone sitting by your porch door or under your bedroom window. Maggie always had my back.

Last Wednesday at the morning feeding time she was very bad, wobbly and wouldn’t leave her spot beneath the shade of the elm tree ten feet from the back door. I spoke to her and took her water and a handful of food which she ignored. She was impatient with my hand upon her head and rose stiffly to turn her back to me. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that her mind was now on other things.

Sometime during the day she left the elm tree and I thought she probably went to the cellar, which is left open for her and Pansy the Pyr in this heat but when she was not at the back door Thursday morning of course I knew why. I checked the cellar, both sheds and the barn without finding her. I checked the edge of the pasture for any sign of a fresh dog path in the tall grass. I found it but did not follow. I couldn’t believe she chose to do this thing alone.

In my humanness I wanted it different for her. I wanted to do better by her. But she wanted the privacy of the tall grass whispering and the cool brown earth and sky to look at and I didn’t follow.

To me dogs are of two kinds. There are the face watchers and the hand watchers. Hand watchers are the terriers and hunters motivated by games, food and directions for the hunt. Face watchers are the herders, the nurturers, the lovers of humans in all their folly.

Hand watchers are tons of fun and full of energy and are often extremely loyal and protective.

But I believe it’s the face watchers that can see into the human heart….every brave or cowardly smile, every tear that never falls… is reflected in the eyes of a face watcher.

Maggie was a face watcher.

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