Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Maggie Waggie: Whose idea was this?

Taken by my friend Jo, AKA Maggie's beloved second mother.

"Let's get a dog!" I said. "A dog will complete this stereotypical picture of American living!" I said, like it was a good thing.

I pledged to walk, feed, groom, and love our future furry beast.

Eventually, the powers that be agreed, and we drove out to Hillsboro (where Pride Rings True, apparently) one frigid Sunday in January a few years ago to retrieve our undoubtedly adorable Golden Retriever.

See? Undoubtedly adorable:

Maggie's first car ride.
I loved her immediately. We had a friendly family argument all the way home about what to call this adorable mass of reddish brown fur, and eventually agreed on Maggie, though Anderson insisted her full name would be Aggie Maggie. This was an omen, as it turns out, because soon this creature would devour every small child on the block.

OK, that's probably just a lie.

But it wasn't long before I was battling serious regret over this whole hair-brained (HA) idea of mine. I had read all the warnings. I had ignored all the advice from wise friends about puppy chewing, house training, the vet bills, and the massive amounts of hair that would clog every drain, vent, and slightly open bag of anything in my house. Surely, all that stuff was exaggeration. Surely nobody would have a dog if it was really that much work.

Oh, but no. It was not lies, lies, lies. Soon enough, I hated the entire puppy situation. I wondered why on Earth I had decided it would be a good idea to go straight back into the stuff we'd just moved past when our youngest left behind his early baby stage.

I was up at 3 a.m. coaxing a furry beast off my frozen porch out into the snow to please, for the love of god, just pee already. I was going through 10 jumbo rolls of paper towels a month and damaging hardwood floors with harsh cleaners when the coaxing didn't work. I was retrieving the eyeballs from beloved stuffed animals from organic matter that I won't mention in polite company. I was treating this horrible beast for worms. WORMS. Worms were in my house. Worms from inside my dog. When I wasn't doing these things, I was forcing Kurt to do these things. A fairly annoyed Kurt, who had required much convincing about this dog scenario.

On the other hand, the kids were in mad, undeniable love.

Exhibit A of the undeniable love.

Anderson dubbed her the best dog that had ever existed, and found her antics hilarious. He especially loved the trick where she peed everywhere when meeting new people, or people she'd met 10 times before, or when the mailman brought a box to the porch, or when someone talked to her with slight excitement.

He loved that she was still climbing into our laps when she had somehow grown from 15 to 45 pounds in the course of 3 months.

He loved her "funny doggie smell" when she'd apparently rolled in something dead in the brushy part of the backyard.

He loved her when she was bad, even when she chewed up his favorite books, because he could still read the best words.

But mostly, he loved how much she loved him and David. She was immediately their constant shepherd, their relentless companion. At night, she wouldn't lay down until she'd checked to make sure they were both asleep, and then she'd settle in right on top of Anderson, at first fitting on top of his chest, and later, stretching out longer than him.

Then one day, it happened. I heard it in my own voice first, which had evolved over time from borderline annoyance at her mere presence (especially after one of those long, cold nights of potty training), to the soft, babying tones I'd generally reserved for, you know, actual babies.

 "Oh, there's my Maggie Waggie. You are a sweet doggie woggie, aren't you?" Was this coming out of my mouth? I looked around to make sure no one had heard, lest I get pegged a "dog person," but yes, somewhere along the line, I had fallen for her smelly, furry charms.

It turns out it's hard not to love an animal who has nothing but unconditional love for you, and as a mother, for an animal who treats your children with such unbridled affection and care. Maggie + the boys = joy and love. These days, I understand why people take on this job.

These days, she is truly one of the kids, and I can't imagine a better companion in a four-legged family member.

These days, she is loyal, sweet, and not as likely to pee on the floor when the guy comes to read the electric meter.

These days, Maggie is ours, and we are hers. That's a good doggie woggie, indeed.


Joellen Whetstone said...

Maggie Waggie :D I'm still really sorry about that expensive remote - even though I wasn't the one who chewed it up. Was she trying to change the channel? Or mad/sad at me because in my week of dog sitting, I went to lunch with a friend? These things I'll never know. Just assume the worst because *I* was in charge and the responsible adult in the house. I love her and her weird smells. I find her hairs here sometimes.

Post a Comment