November 27, 2011

Their story...

Right around five or six years ago our neighbors at the end of the road foreclosed on their home.

From the outside they appeared to have everything.

A custom built, half million dollar house complete with a black Humvee in the driveway with a black Mercedes Sedan to match.  For appearance's sake, it screamed, "success".  

They were people of money.  Yet, it couldn't buy them common sense.

They left behind everything.  Including, two sweet and loving Labrador Retrievers.  

The first one, a Yellow Lab' named, "Sunny".  Sunny is the alpha.  She dominates.  In her world, she is first.  She's happy-go-lucky yet always on guard.  You will find her laying in our yard, wagging her tail for no apparent reason.  She dances and spins when it's time to eat.  She barks at strangers.  She seemingly chooses men over women but doesn't play favorites.  Sunny is just happy to "be".  She will come up and stick her head between your legs and simply stand there until you stop laughing and pet her.  

The second, a Chocolate Lab' named, "Maggy".  Maggy is the omega.  She is the absolute lover.  Submissive.  Passive.  Playful.  Quiet.  Demure and sweet.  You are everything in her world.  If you raised your arm to quickly she would cower to the ground.  If you're standing she would quietly come up from behind and place the round of her head under your hand.  Of if you are sitting, your lap was her pillow.  Maggy and I took to each other like peanut butter on bread.  


They were left outside in their large dog pen which leaned on a hillside in the woods.

We didn't know of the impending foreclosure so we weren't really aware that the neighbors had vacated.  It wasn't until much later that we heard the dogs incessant barking.

We realized then that we hadn't seen the neighbors drive by in while.

We put two and two together and walked down there one night to check on the dogs.  We could see their water bucket overturned and empty food bowls.  We quickly replenished their water and gave them food.

We could see via flashlight that packages had been left stacked on the home's front porch by mail delivery.

Days later, the Police came.  They were searching for the man of the house for tax fraud.  The Police asked if we wanted to take the two dogs and their outdoor pen or otherwise they would have to take them to the local Animal Shelter.

We said, "yes, we will take them".

It wasn't until we went to bring them to their new home that we realized the extent of the deplorable conditions in which they were living.

We know they were let out of their pen every so often because we would see the dogs running thru our yard late at night.  A few times we seen each dog pregnant and even once saw a litter of puppies at the end of the neighbors driveway.  The puppies quickly disappeared.  Other than that, both dogs were rarely ever let out of their pen.

As mentioned before their pen was tucked onto a wooded hillside to which their two rotting wooden dog houses sat facing upward on the hillside.  As you can imagine whenever it rained the muck, mud, feces ran downhill directly into their dog houses.

We brought Sunny and Maggy to our home and immediately placed their large pen on a concrete foundation and purchased a dog pen shade cover.  

We brought 'em home a fully insulated dog house fit for two so these, what I referred to as, "soul sisters", could sleep side by side.

They had their first ever veterinarian appointments where they confirmed that they were somewhere around five years old.  Both dogs were then spayed and treated for heart worms.

We fitted them both with wireless fence dog collars so they could come and go from their pen as they wished but still be confined to the safety of their yard.

They became a part of our home, lives and family like they were here from the beginning.  The transition was astounding.

Never once.  Never.  Did a day go by that they didn't show their undying love and gratitude towards us.

For just the simple things such as feeding time.  Fresh water.  Play time in the pond.  Pats on the head.  Daily dog cookies.  Their daily affirmations of, "you both are such good girls!" and "we love you!".


Well, last week my husband had to be admitted into the hospital and during this time I had to take our Chocolate Lab', Maggy, to the Vet.  She hadn't been well as of late, she has been having a hard time eating.  The Vet scheduled her for a x-ray.

The Vet and myself both thought is was most likely something as simple as an abscessed tooth.  It wasn't.

The Vet even commended Maggy on the wagging of her tail because from the size and type of the tumor and where it was located between her jaw and left eye that she was in immense pain.

The Vet gave me several options but given Maggy's age, the best for her was the worst for me.

I had to say farewell to our sweet Maggy that very same day.  

I struggled at first with the fact of not bringing her home to her final resting place.  I.  Struggled.  There was no grave ready.  My husband is sick and I've been spending my days at the hospital.  I told myself I'd have to walk away.

Only I couldn't.

I spoke with our Vet the next day and he said her body was still there and that they would hold her while I dug her grave.  I dug her grave like there was no tomorrow.  At one point I rested my chin on my hands over the end of the shovel's handle and I could see Maggy, plain as day, running towards me.

Back by our wood's edge she is in her final resting place.  A place she loved.

God I love her and miss her terribly so.


Sunny, the Yellow Lab', is doing better than expected.  Only time will tell how she will handle this loss of her best friend since they have known each other since they were puppies.  

Sadly, age has not been on Sunny's side lately.

We have tried over the years to introduce the both of them to being in our home but they wouldn't have it.  The didn't mind visiting inside but after a hour or so they were pining to be outside where they would "patrol" their humble lil' homestead.

We do know that we want both of them to be buried side by side.  So at the risk of sounding a bit odd, we are going to prepare her grave as well as soon as my husband is better.

We want to be prepared in the event the good Lord calls her Home in the midst of Winter.

She will have her final resting place next to her lifelong friend. 


Below, I am sharing with you my fav' photo of our sweet Maggy as I will always remember her.

Last Christmas Eve we had a most beautiful snowfall.  It was absolutely...magical.

My husband was on the tractor plowing the road and I was taking photos of this snowy, wondrous beauty that surrounded me.

Sweet Maggy was behind our smallest barn watching my husband on the tractor when suddenly she caught a glimpse of me in our driveway.

She looked at me.

Then looked again.  As if to say, "is that you Mom?"

I lifted the camera towards her and giggled.  And she knew.

She ran towards me like her pants were on fire and her behind was catching.

To see that much joy, and love, running towards you is, well...*speechless*.


"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.
 For me they are the role model for being alive."  
-Gilda Radner

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
-Roger Caras

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." 
-Will Rogers

I posted about our sweet Maggy the day of her death and a dear friend left a most poignant and sweet comment, thank you Ron. *smile*  
The next morning I deleted that particular post feeling that grief and sadness is not what I wanted my blog to represent.

But then I thought, isn't time of grief and sadness the very reason we are grateful for the joy and happiness?  

If not for the dark would we not know light?


Thank you for being here.


It means more than you'll ever know.

Love, tj


  1. Good morning TJ~

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this beautiful story, dear lady - it brought tears to my eyes - good tears, though.

    And I'm so glad you reconsidered your other post, because I have to be honest and say, it was beautiful as well.

    "But then I thought, isn't time of grief and sadness the very reason we are grateful for the joy and happiness?

    If not for the dark would we not know light?"

    You said it! If not for the dark, we would not know the light.

    Over the past 4 1/2 years, I've shared not only humor (light) on my blog, but also pain, grief and sadness (dark). And all of which has transformed me into the person I am. Both light and dark.

    Sharing a BIG hug and LOTS of love with you, dearest TJ...

    (((((( TJ )))))))

    Again, thank you for sharing the totality of YOU!


    P.S. that final photo is STUNNING!

  2. TJ,
    Your story made me cry. I have to agree that in life we must cherish the dark as we do the light...for how else would we know how precious the light is?
    I pray that soon your hubby will recover his health and that you will enjoy a good winter and spring with your beloved Sunny.
    Blessings for a very warm and restful Sunday,

  3. A lovely, touching post. A tribute to a wonderful rescued soul. All your tears paid tribute to her. Maggy was so blessed! Thank you for sharing her story.
    I hope your husband comes home soon.
    I'm going to go hug my dogs now.
    Extra hugs for you!

  4. Hi TJ,

    I'm stopping by from Annesta's. This post made me reach for the tissues. We too have lost a lab at the age of eleven to tumors. We still talk about him affectionately. Happily, Maverick is keeping us happy and loving with his crazy lab antics. Your post is a beautiful tribute to your Maggie!



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