Maybe it was the very long ride to NJ that had Maggie out of sorts. After all, she was stuffed in a crate that was stacked in a van with 32 other frightened and stinky shelter dogs. I heard they barked the whole way. Another possibility: her former life was so unpleasant that she needed the bath Mom gave her to shed the smell of it.
Or, Maybe God heard my prayer.
Whatever the reason, Maggie woke up a different dog. With her tail wagging she greeted us with a smile that next morning. Here is a picture of Maggie when she first arrived:
And here is a picture of her on the second day:
By the end of the first week she looked like this:
She is not like any other foster we’ve had. She never jumps up; instead she politely sits on the floor staring up at Mom or Tommy until they notice her. When they do notice, she twitches all over in anticipation of a little dab of attention. A mere pat on the head and that little tail wags a mile a minute. A scratch behind the ears sends her into total ecstasy. After which, she makes a dainty retreat all the while mumbling to herself, “oh boy oh boy .so lucky. so lucky. so lucky.” She rolls round on her big fluffy bed tossing toys into the air and snorts like a piglet. It’s quite cute, if you go for that kind of thing.
But let Tommy make a sudden move and her little body slams to the floor, ears pinned back, begging for her life. It’s uncomfortable to watch. The sound of the vacuum sends her running from the room and we find her later, shaking in a corner. Lucky for Maggie, she won’t hear that sound very often around here.
One night Mom and Tommy out to dinner. Since we are all alone, I decide to confront her. Gently,of course, so she doesn’t get startled.
“Maggie what happened to you? Why are you so afraid if everything? I’m a real good listener. You can tell me.”
I really think she needs to get this stuff off her chest. You know, have a good cry and get on with her life
But she doesn’t want to talk about it.
My lame attempt at playing therapist sends her into a state of melancholy. She shuffles over to her bed and plops down with a sigh. If I concentrate, I can hear her thinking about her past and worrying what the future holds.
If you think dogs can’t remember their past- you’d be dead wrong.
For example, we have not lived in a house with a working doorbell for 4 years. Yet, to this day when I hear a doorbell ring, like on a TV show, I run to the front door and bark my fool head off. You might argue that I should realize after all this time that no one is ever at the door on these occasions, but that would be nit picking. The point is: I remember!
As a matter of fact, humans are forever discounting a dog’s intellectual capacity and give little credence to what we are thinking.
“OMG- he is just a dog” they smirk when Mom suggests I might be jealous, or sad, or missing her. All of which had been completely true at the time she said it.
Or take the complicated emotion of gratitude, I’m sure Mom’s know-it-all friends would claim it is a strictly human trait- not the case. Our little miss Maggie is dripping with gratitude. The tiny kisses she bestows on us are accompanied with a quiet stream of breathless “thank yous”
“Thank you for getting me out of the pound.”
“Thank you all this food.”
“Thank you for touching me so softly.”
That last one is huge.
The soft touch of a human hand is like mothers milk to our fragile Maggie. She drinks it in heartily but without greed. Oh Boy-is she ever grateful.
Maggie emerges from her shell a little more every day. And just when we were all getting settled into a cozy 2 dog family routine. Mom makes Maggie available for adoption. It all seems so sudden and I’m not sure if I like it.
She gets a number of serious requests and Mom makes an appointment to take Maggie to meet her first potential forever family. They live in a house that Mom said was so clean you could eat off the floor. Which gets me thinking about our floor and if it isn’t clean enough to eat off of: why do I ??
When they get there, the little people (sometimes referred to as children) were nice enough, but don’t respond to Mom’s polite request to give Maggie a little space while she adjusted. A skittish Maggie let out a low “grrrrrrr.” She didn’t mean anything by it, I’m sure. The literal translation is something like this: “I’m a little nervous and unsure and I’d like some time to think about things.” But it came off to them as: “back off or I’m going for junior’s jugular.” Maggie, upset by the misunderstanding, expresses her displeasure by crapping on that super clean floor (which I’m guessing- no one will be eating off of any time soon). The potential adopter was less than thrilled. Mom, takes it as a sign from God.
I have serious doubts about that, but if it’s true- He certainly does work in mysterious ways.