MAGGIE Excerpt

“What a wonderful tribute to a truly beautiful little being. I hope everyone who is a lover of animals gets a chance to read this book.” —Neena Swanson

Once in every dog lover’s life, if you’re lucky, that special once-in-a-lifetime-dog comes along. You know this relationship is golden, a gift from the spirit world. You have found a soul mate. Animal and human spirits are inextricably intertwined, and you know there will never be another dog that comes close to the presence of this one and the bond that you share. For me, Maggie is that dog.

You know it when it happens. You think a thought and your dog responds. She knows what you’re asking of her, even though you never trained her to do it. You recognize that your communication is beyond words, beyond training. How do you explain it? You peer into her eyes and know you are looking into the depths of a loving, advanced soul. You may wonder, as I did, who are you in there?

When Maggie and I are out hiking, running errands, or just hanging out being “girlfriends,” I meet several people who have loved and lost such powerful relationships with their canine companions. They recognize that magic between Maggie and me, for once you experience it with your dog, you can’t miss it when it appears before you. I see the longing in their eyes, the painful missing, and the ache of irreplaceable loss.

“You just made my day,” one man wistfully tells Maggie when she greets him at the coffee shop.

Sometimes I see this man keep his distance, and he just nods at me—as though it’s too unbearable for him to touch the pain of his loss at this moment. I imagine his own precious memories with his dog dancing before his eyes.

“Enjoy every moment you have with her,” the gentleman at the coffee shop tells me.

I do enjoy her every moment. I know the day will come when I will walk in his shoes with that mournful longing, when I’ll be forced to learn to live with her absence. But to know it intellectually and to live it, I would later find, have nothing in common. That day, as far as I am concerned, is so far in the distant future it doesn’t even exist in my awareness.

As a child, I was taught that animals were inferior to humans. We were superior to all life on Earth. This teaching was inherent in both culture and religion. Maggie helps me challenge that belief. She shows me over her lifetime that she is an intelligent, emotional being with a huge presence. I learn to respect her as a being who I share this planet with—a different being—not a lesser being.