Goodbye, Sweet Friend

Our beloved bulldog, Madison, died tonight.

photo (20)

I took that picture on Christmas Day.
I knew then (in my heart-gut) that she was dying.
She’d been having some issues for a while, but our vet was confident that we could fix it.
I was hopeful, but still I knew.
A momma’s heart always knows.
But I hated that my last picture of her didn’t look like her.
She looked gaunt and sickly and sad.
I wanted my last picture of her to be one that would warm my heart and make me smile.
So when I asked Marshall to snap this shot, he didn’t even question me a bit.
And I’m glad he didn’t.
I’m glad this moment, full with hope and love and sadness and peace, is one I can see forever.

photo (13)

When I realized that tonight was going to be her last, I curled up on the sofa and had Marshall put her on my legs.
As a puppy (back when the dogs were still allowed on the sofa), she would crawl up into my ‘knee pit’ and nestle in.
She was also the first one I ever ‘back cuddled’ with.
I’d lie on the sofa and she’d squeeze down behind me with her back on mine.
I still sleep that way with my children sometimes.

Her breathing slowed. Her eyes glassed over.
And I could hear the children still chattering in their room.
I sent Marshall in to get them and bring them out so that they could say their goodbyes.
We all cried a little, but we also told stories about her and we laughed and smiled and loved on her.
Oh, she was such a good dog.
And y’all?  My heart is breaking right now.
As I type, the ache pops right up my chest and leaks out of my eyes.
But I am grateful that it could happen this way – at home, being loved.

I wanted to share some pictures with you but my leaky eyes didn’t allow me to search too far.
This is my favorite one of the two pups back before we had children.
Mad wasn’t thrilled about being a ladybug, but she tolerated it.
You’ll notice that Maggie was having none of this dress-up-the-dog business.

photo (14)

(Sorry for the poor quality.  iPhone picture of printed pictures never turn out well.)

I also found my scrapbook from the year we got her.
Look how leeeeeetle she was!

photo (19)

photo (15)

(And how young I was!)

photo (16)

She used to get up underneath Maggie and bite at her ankles.  Most adorable thing ever.

photo (17)

My buddies. My first babies.
Our first Christmas with them both.
Hard to believe that was 10 years ago.

photo (18)

We’ll all miss you, sweet girl.
You were indeed a damn good dawg.

12 Responses to Goodbye, Sweet Friend
  1. Laura
    December 29, 2012 | 1:21 am

    What a great tribute. May you always smile at the memories, even if they are clouded by tears right now.

  2. Momma Lioness Michele
    December 29, 2012 | 1:24 am

    I am so sorry for your family’s loss. It is obvious Madison was a member of your family, a loved friend to the whole Ivey League. Hoping my sweet doggie angel Kyle is there to greet your girl.
    Sending you hugs and sympathy from NY.

  3. Maura
    December 29, 2012 | 2:24 am

    My pet-momma’s heart aches along with yours tonight and I’m sorry you lost your pup. She was obviously greatly loved and loved you all and that’s a beautiful thing.

  4. Pops
    December 29, 2012 | 4:14 am

    I hated getting your text tonight. I know how you loved Madison and how you will miss her. I am also pleased that you want her buried at our place in Haddock. I had tears in my eyes as I read your tribute and I am sure I will have more tomorrow as I bury her for you. She was about the dumbest dog I ever saw but she was also one of the sweetest. I know Maggie will be lost without her around so make sure you spend a little extra time with her. I was also happy to see that the kids got to say goodbye to her. They will remember that for a long long time and it will be a special memory for all of you. I love you all and when you hurt so do I.

  5. Carla
    December 29, 2012 | 5:03 am

    Such a loving tribute to your sweet Madison. What a true and faithful doggie soul she must have been! Prayers for you and your family during this tremendous loss.

  6. Ginny
    December 29, 2012 | 8:59 am

    Tears for you my friend….

  7. CathyMartin
    December 29, 2012 | 9:35 am

    I will miss her so much. I loved watching her and Maggie play. They were so funny. My heart breaks for you because I know how a dog is definitely not just a dog. She was family and will be remembered as so. I am very thankful she was with you when she died. As difficult as that is, I certainly think it helps when you can say your goodbyes and she could leave this world being held by the one who loved her the most. It doesn’t get better than that. She had a wonderful life, full of joy and love! I love you and pray you have peace knowing you did all you could and loved her so much!

  8. Monica
    December 29, 2012 | 10:00 am

    Your parents’ comments…now I’m crying.

  9. Melissa
    December 29, 2012 | 10:01 am

    So sorry to hear she’s gone. They truly are valuable members of the family!

  10. Sherry Carr-Smith
    December 29, 2012 | 10:24 am

    I’m so sorry, but so very glad you got to say goodbye. Love to you guys.

  11. Just Shireen
    December 29, 2012 | 11:28 am

    Oh honey, I’m so sorry. Losing a pet is so so hard.

  12. Angela (Grandma)
    December 29, 2012 | 11:52 am

    Beautifully written. I sat here at the computer reading – and crying. I know Maggie is missing Madison, too, but I also know y’all will be there for her.