For the Maggies

Recently Ryan McCaffrey from IGN publicly shared a personal loss. His beloved Maggie the Boxer was at her end.  Even though it had been years since I was in a similar situation, this news struck a cord with me.

It was back in 2012 when my Maggie was laid to rest. Yes, her name was also Maggie, Maggie May to be exact. She became part of the family in 1995, which was a tumultuous year for many reasons. The name Maggie May was my suggestion based on  my mother’s liking of the Rod Stewart song. Mother agreed it was an appropriate name for the purebred cocker spaniel and that was that. Maggie May was with all of us through the good and the bad for just shy of 17 years and it was a heavy day at the end.

Maggie was “technically” my mother’s but we were always best buddies. Even after I moved out of my mother’s house, I made it a point to visit on a regular basis. I would show up and take her for walks or just play with her. In the later years it was less of those things and just the two of us sitting there while I petted her. Regardless, each time before I left I would get down on the floor, say goodbye, and she would kiss me.

At the end, the decision was not mine but I was supportive. My sister told me of the plan and when it all would happen.  The day before her last ride, I went to see her. It tore me apart in more ways than I can describe but it was important for me to see her one last time. I got to my mother’s house and Maggie was the only one there. How long I was there is unclear. When it was time to say goodbye, I got down on the floor with her, said my goodbyes but no kiss. Maggie seemed to have lost her spark and she knew the end was near. Her eyes turned towards me as she lifted her head, gave a sigh, and moaned as she laid her head down. My buddy just didn’t have it in her any more.

That moment essentially destroyed me and I’m not sure how I even made it home. Seeing McCaffrey’s post flooded me with those memories in an uncontrollable fashion. For days I could not rest my mind or focus on other things. Thinking about how I felt back then just made me feel terrible for what he was going through. There were few if any words I could offer him. I’ve never met the man but I hope he is doing as well as he can in these circumstances. Remember the good times.

What I would like to offer is a sense of hope. It was a year or so after Maggie’s passing that my sister took the lead and brought someone home. I won’t lie, my mother, brother and I were all mad when she did this. That feeling quickly went away. I happened to be at my mother’s the day my sister brought home our new family member. This time I didn’t get to pick the name, rather that duty fell to my niece. The choice was Phoebe. Why Phoebe? I don’t know. For reasons unknown, Phoebe took a liking to me and vice versa. We’ve been buddies ever since her arrival and I now make regular trips to see her.

It is not my suggestion that McCaffrey go out and try to replace Maggie. It is rather the idea that although Maggie will never be replaced, there will be a place for another. Please know that this is but the end of one journey and the start of a new one. All those memories will always be yours and new ones are yet to come. Mine and many other hearts are with McCaffrey, be strong and know that we are with you.

Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.


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