Saturday, August 16, 2008

RIP Madison

Madison was the first dog that I chose for myself and brought home. Sure, there'd been the little Fizzgig that my parents bought us when we were kids. But Madison was mine. She was a rescue. Tied up in a barn in Conrich, Alberta and awaiting a bullet because she couldn't work sheep. She was a border collie, though from the looks of her she might have something else mixed in there. She's not a typical "tri" coloured border collie.

But I hauled her home from that stall when I was 16 - and now I'm in my 30s. So we figure she was at least 16 or 17 years old. I named her Madison because that was the name I had in my head for my first daughter. I just couldn't wait long enough to save it for a girl. And once I did have Miss E, I couldn't name her Madison because we had Madison the Dog. Unlike my cousin, Jodie, who everyone knows was named after her father's horse, Jodie. :)

Lately all the parts weren't working any more. The front end was fine. The eyes were going, the hearing had long since departed. The back end couldn't support her to stand in one spot for more than a few seconds. It kind of moved sideways as she walked, her right leg seemed to lean into the left for support.

It took a long time to make the decision to put her down. She wasn't my dog any more, she'd been living with mom since 1996 when I moved to Europe. When I came home the next year I didn't bother to claim her back. So it wasn't my decision to put her down, but it was. I don't know if mom was waiting for my ok or not, but last week I said "Yeah mom, I think it's time" and this week they booked the appointment.

I wasn't there for it. I had to pick up my daughter. But these pictures were taken the same day. Mom commented that they made her look so healthy and happy. They do. But I've left out the pictures where she couldn't get up or she was splayed out trying to stand. Or where she sneezed as she walked and almost fell over.

It was hard to take these pictures, knowing they'd be the last I'd see of her. I would try to keep her in one spot, reaching out with my hand to steady her. But she couldn't see my hand until it was touching her nose, so it would often startle her.

M doesn't get it yet, why Madison isn't there any more. Well, that's not true. He understands that she's gone to heaven. But last night he stayed at Mom's and as he was going to bed he said, "First is a baby, then toddler, then kid, then teenager, and then adult. And after that is when you are put down?" So I see we have some more discussing to do.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

What a wonderful tribute to your faithful companion. I'm all choked up. We put down my 9-year-old standard poodle this past spring because she had bone cancer, and only last month we struggled with whether or not to put down our livestock guardian after he bit my oldest daughter. That whole story is on my blog,
People have a different set of standards for "working dogs" than pets, and I'm glad you were there for Madison. It sounds like her destiny in life was to be your baby. She's definitely got something in her besides border collie, which is probably why she wasn't a good herder.