It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When we brought both of our girls with us to Panama, it was with high hopes that we would all grow old together, and that Maggie and Rosie would live to a healthy, happy old age.
Last night, we lost Maggie. It pains me even to type those words.
Apparently she got a lethal does of toxin from a cane toad. She died in my arms, in our car as we were frantically driving around trying to find an open vet office. This morning, we buried her in the back yard of our new home outside Boquete. She was only eight.
There are so many things I need to say about this experience. About how unprepared we were for a medical emergency with our dogs, and about the exquisite guilt that’s fueling our grief. But for now, I just want to reflect on the extraordinary dog Maggie was, and the joy she brought to our lives.
Maggie never met a stranger. Whenever she encountered a new person, she’d be so overwhelmed with joy that she would wag her whole body and she couldn’t even settle down enough to be petted. Our good friend Sandra, who loved Maggie dearly, called her “wiggle bum.”
Maggie was our protector. Every night before settling in, she’d “walk the perimeter” to make sure all was well. Sadly, that might have been what got her into trouble last night.
She was very intelligent and had a large vocabulary. Her favorite words were “dinner” and “cookie,” of course, but if we told her to find her toy, she’d go straight to the bright orange boomerang or the squeaky green ball. Then she’d wag her whole body, grunt-grunt-grunt, and dare us to take the toy. She’d always drop it, though, when we said “drop.”
Maggie loved to sit with her back legs splayed and belly flat on the floor. Before her, we’d never heard of a dog that was able to sit that way once the flexible puppy years had passed. Then she’d cross her front paws daintily in front of her and look up at us, as if to say, “How about that dinner, people?”
Maggie was sunshine, blue skies, and everything light, joyful, and pure. She was my lady bug and my honey bee. She loved me back, but she absolutely idolized John. When she was a tiny puppy, only a few days old, John held her in the palm of his hand. A new love affair was born.
Rest well, sweet Maggie. You enriched our lives more than we can ever say.