Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)
Training: I haven't learned care / training techniques
Posted August 17, 2013
We found Maggie when she was still very young. They had said she was maybe 6 months old. She had a lot of illnesses because she had been a stray. My mother was told she'd only live a short while but with the love of every child in our house and my mother's care, Maggie ended up living for 15 years. She quickly became very important to my family. She was a great protector to my siblings and I. Our parents had divorced but we still had visitation with our father, who to keep it brief, was not the nicest man on earth. Despite the sadness and fear we always felt when having to visit him, Maggie always helped us to be brave when she would growl or bark at him and wouldn't let him near us. They often say dogs can sense when someone isn't a nice person and this was very true with Maggie. She looked after me and my siblings as if we were her pups despite the fact that we also looked after her like she was a pup. She was very patient with the youngest in our family. Let him crawl on her, lay on her, and love on her as much as he wanted. She did this well into old age when my aunt had two children of her own. She continued to be very patient and loving to any child in our home no matter the age.
She took some time to house train because she had been so malnourished when we got her. Once she was house trained though, life became much easier. We never did have a problem with her chewing shoes, but she did chew toys and at one point in her life, got a hold of a whole roll of paper towels and ate them. My mother often jokes that Maggie must have wanted to clean up her insides because she had to pull sheet after sheet from Maggie's rear. She was into chewing things but not people. Often times we wrestled toys from her and she would believe we were playing so we lost a toy or two. She didn't like yelling or fighting like my siblings and I did, but her way of dealing with it was to issue a warning bark and then nip our fingers to tell us to stop. Maggie never BIT any children. She'd play nip, love nip, but never did she ever draw blood. She was never fond of men with baseball hats or hats in general. When she got older she disliked Halloween make up on our faces and masks for our costumes. She'd growl and bark until we showed her who we were. Her health issues weren't really bad. When we got her they were. She had what every stray has. Fleas, ticks, heart worms, and other various parasites.
As she got older we rarely had to take her to the doctors. It wasn't until her later years that we learned about her stomach becoming very sensitive. She couldn't keep her normal dry dog food down, but she wouldn't eat wet canned food either. So we would take meat juices and gravies and mix a little with her dry dog food so she would eat and she would keep it down. Then one day Maggie couldn't get up. She'd been limping for a day or so and we thought she'd stepped on something but when we looked at her legs nothing was wrong. No spurs or anything. The day she couldn't get up we carried her into the doctors. They told us her hips had fallen out of place. Said it was very common for dogs her size and age. We were told that they would have to put her down as she lacked any desire to eat and showed signs of being "Too Old". That day was hard on us all. She'd been with us so long, become like a sister/mother/best friend to us and losing her hurt, but we rather her not suffer. In my opinion, her mixed breeding made her a perfect dog for my family. She was loyal to her last breath, licking tears from our faces and nuzzling us before she left.