From One Birthday to the Next

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It’s hard to believe, but Maddie’s been with me nine years, almost to the day.

On a whim, nine years ago, near my birthday, I let another red dog into my life.  First Ruby.  Then Maddie.  Who knew?

For over four years, she watched a grim battle with cancer, but on those days that the sun would shine, she’d walk with us into the woods and listen as we talked, hoped, and loved.  She’d listen to silence if it involved us.

She’d ride in the car wherever we went, because that’s how we wanted it, and she even went with Genie as she got zapped with mega doses of radiation.  As time started to run so fast we couldn’t catch it, she’d ride in the car as we drove into the sun, trying to find its warmth.  Every day she’d reach through the seats to put her snout on Genie.

Then on the hottest day of July she stood strong when my world fell from orbit, and now, for nearly four years, she’s stayed strong as I’ve stumbled about as one person in a two-person’s world.

She’s stayed strong by my side and kept me from falling right on out of here.

Yesterday the sun was out in such force it made you forget any shadow you’d ever seen.

Maddie was napping in her spot where the sun streams through the living room window.

I was upstairs in Genie’s room.  Through the window, I saw the backyard . . . floating.  It was a sea of crows.  Several were in trees, and even more were on the ground.

I happened to say, in my normal voice, “Maddie, there sure are a lot of crows in the yard.”

I didn’t “tell” her to do something about it, I just, well, mentioned it.

Before I could blink, the doggie door banged open and the sky filled with crows making a mad dash for it.

When I opened the door that leads to a small deck, Maddie looked up.

“I wasn’t asking you to do anything, Knucklehead,” I said.

That’s when I snapped the top photo.  She looked as if she were laughing, as if she were saying, “It’s no big deal.”

Seeing that she was having a blast, seeing how quickly she reacted, seeing how much my words mean to her, it made me realize all over again: She’s stood strong.  And it’s been by my side.  For nine years.

The things she’s seen, and done.


Although, technically, this isn’t her birthday that’d be in December, very near Christmas – I celebrate it with mine.  It seems . . . right.

I wasn’t going to let another red dog into my life.

Who knew?

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