Memorial To Maggie


Friends, family and blog readers will know that for the past ten years, my home and life have been graced by the presence of a sweet and beautiful Samoyed named Maggie.

Now Maggie is gone.

It all happened so fast. Less than two weeks ago, we went to our Monday agility class. She ran and climbed and jumped and was bouncy and excited – she loved agility class. Three days later, I took her to the vet to try to find out why Maggie wasn’t eating. There followed a lot of tests and various treatments, but nothing brought her appetite back. Blood work was fine. The vet did xrays, and thought he might be seeing something. By now she hadn’t voluntarily eaten anything in a few days and was on an IV.

This Friday, eight days after her first trip to the vet, we went to a specialist for an ultrasound of that thing the vet thought he saw. The ultrasound also showed something, but it would take exploratory surgery to find out what it was. I left her there and came home. A few hours later, I got a call. The surgery found cancer, which had spread to the point where the condition was inoperable.

The surgeon closed her up with no further treatment, and I had the option of bringing her home or authorizing The Shot. At first I thought about bringing her home, letting her be in familiar surroundings for a few days before the end. But then I realized how selfish that would be. Not eating, she wouldn’t live long enough to recuperate from the surgery and have some good days before the end, but would have spent the rest of her life in pain. So I went back in to see her.

She was awake from the surgery but still on pain meds. They brought her into a room with me, and placed her on blankets on the floor. She got up and walked around a little, and then settled down beside me. I sat with her for an hour, petting her and telling her what a good dog she was and how proud of her I was. I managed not to cry until after the shot, so I hope I didn’t transfer my upset to her – she had a nice peaceful hour with Mommy before she went to sleep.

Then the vet came in and gave her the shot and she was gone.

I’m devastated. I’m a wreck. I miss her SO much!

But sad as I am that she’s gone, I’m more glad that she was here in the first place, so right now I want to talk about that.

This was the first time I saw Maggie:


The breeder e-mailed me pictures of puppies from the litter, marked with colored ribbon to tell them apart. From the bunch, I chose ‘Yellow Girl’. I liked that ‘Mona Lisa smile’, which she kept all her life. Later, we met at a dog show, where I met the puppies and verified that Yellow Girl was the one for me. So she became Maggie.

I picked her up at ten weeks, and took her home in a cat carrier.


She was the sweetest little thing!


She had a squeaky toy shaped like a Samoyed:


And she grew up. She liked to get under the table in the library.


But soon that became impossible.


She always enjoyed the view from the living room window.


And some days, you just need to shred something.


She was always an only dog, lived with cats her whole life. And that was fine with her. She loved her little buddy Sam.


And her other little buddy Liam.


Sometimes she wondered if maybe she was a cat. She liked to pretend that this was so.


We went to obedience class. Over and over again. Maggie was a smart girl, but being there with all those wonderful other dogs and people, she found it difficult to concentrate. She wanted to visit.

Then we discovered agility.


She loved that! It was so active! Running and jumping and weaving and dashing through tunnels. We went to agility classes for years, just for fun, and I got her some jumps and weave poles for the yard. We never showed in agility – she was certainly good enough, but I wasn’t. But it was an exciting activity that she loved to do, and she did it and enjoyed it for the rest of her life.

Maggie loved the snow.


Even when it got really deep.


Maggie loved everyone in the world. Her motto was “A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet.” (I borrowed that motto for a fictional dog in my last book, but I said it about Maggie for years.)

But most of all, she loved me.



And I loved her back, more than words can say. Her ‘official’ AKC name was Winterfrost Magic Spirit, and the name described her perfectly. She was a Magic Spirit. She was pure love. I will miss her forever.



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32 responses to “Memorial To Maggie

  1. Toni Brownlee

    What a beautiful memorial to your beautiful Maggie. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  2. Deb

    I’m sitting here crying my eyes out…and trying to explain. I loved Maggie stories… So very sorry for your loss.

  3. Jana

    Beautiful tribute and lovingly written.

  4. sweetest dog ever. my cats will miss her too.

  5. twirly


    just beautiful….

  6. I am so sorry Joyce. I remember Maggie as a little puppy, visiting the store in Leesburg – bouncing all OVER the place 😀 She was a great dog!

  7. Deb

    Wonderful tribute to a wonderful dog. Maggie will be sorely missed…but her magic spirit will live on 😉
    ~ Blessed be.

  8. What a wonderful story! You both were very lucky to have each other. When the time comes, another dog can join you–and the new dog will never take Maggie’s place in your heart, it’ll make its own new place.

  9. BarB

    I feel like I knew your Maggie from this beautiful pictorial and tribute. In the end, love is all that matters. Love is all that remains forever in our hearts.

    ~ Luv ~

  10. Dog's Eye View

    What a beautiful dog. She and you were lucky to find each other. Great tribute to her.

  11. Brighid

    I am so sorry for your loss. It’s heartbreaking to lose a dog. She was clearly loved. I lost a lab to cancer almost 5 years ago now and I still think about him every day. Grief is the price of love after all. Take care and be gentle with yourself.

  12. Maggie was beautiful, and so lucky to have you.

    And I have to stop. There’s… um… something in my eye.

  13. Hugs, Joyce. I’ve lived that scenario a couple of times now with my own beloved dogs, and I know how hard you’ll be grieving. But I love that you shared Maggie’s story with us. She was a very lucky dog!

  14. So very difficult to lose a member of the family–whether human or other. From the photos, looks like Maggie had a great life!

  15. You really need to make this post a ‘picture book’…I’ve seen several and your blog touched my heart and I know it would touch the hearts of others as well. I didn’t have a picture of my childhood dog until I cleaned out my mother’s pictures, and when I found a faded photo of Pete, it made my day.

  16. I’m so glad you shared Maggie’s story with us, what a lovely dog. I’m so glad she was part of your life for ten years (and you were part of hers.) I know you miss her terribly, but I hope the happy memories will comfort you. You gave her the best possible life any dog could have and she knew how much you loved her!

  17. This is a beautiful memorial. I’m so sorry for your lost. It’s good to focus on the good though. My childhood dog, Johnny, left my family suddenly as well. It’s always sad when you do all you can, take them to the vet, and yet it still isn’t enough.

    Maggie was a beautiful dog. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  18. Nancy Roessner

    Such a touching tribute this is, for a very special dog. Maggie was beautiful.

  19. Virginia

    I’m not a dog person, but I loved this tribute to such a beautiful girl! She looks like a real hoot! Loved all the pictures and I’m so sorry this happened. I know will spread that Maggie love wherever it’s needed. Thank you. (coming over from the self-pub link)

  20. So sorry for your loss! This is a beautiful way to remember her 🙂

  21. Amanda

    I’m sorry for your loss. But she certainly had a full life right up to the end! What a great dog parent you are. Agility fosters a special kind of bond, doesn’t it? Thank you for sharing Maggie with us–I didn’t know her, but I feel as if I did, just from this tribute.

  22. Denise Z.

    Thank you for sharing this grand story. And thank you for doing that last unselfish act. Dogs give so much and as for so little. You showed her out with dignity and she didn’t have to go alone. dz

  23. John Rudolph

    I see a book coming from this. Seriously. She must’ve been an awesome companion. I hate seeing our pets go like this. We had Sylvester, our black and white cat in Dahlgren with us and he lived for 17 years until the day came when I had to take him to the vet. Buried him with a heavy heart at my mother in law’s house where she has all of her other cats. Just last week I stood by his grave and thought of him again.

  24. bemused

    I followed your link from balloon-juice and was stunned and my heart ached to read about Maggie. Many, many hugs. The reason I’m stunned is that Maggie’s passing is almost exactly like the passing last July of our sweet girl Kisa, a 13 year old Sammy. It all happened so quickly. Kisa began retching in the middle of the night and throwing up grass she had been eating trying to soothe an upset stomach. I took her to our vet right away in the morning. An exam and an x-ray which showed a very irritated stomach but no obvious tumors or objects. Our vet did mention cancer as one of the possible causes of her problem even if the x-ray didn’t reveal that but first course of action to try was a stomach coating med and a pain reliever.

    Kisa became ill on a Friday (why do pets so often become sick in the middle of the night and on weekends?) and our vet clinic has limited hours and staff on the weekend. There was no improvement in Kisa on Saturday and late in the day she vomited up a lot of rusty colored liquid, bloody water. My heart just sank. It was painfully obvious to us that this was extremely serious and we called a different vet clinic that did have a vet on call after hours. There we learned what we feared. There was no hope of recovery. Kisa’s kidneys had completely shut down. The vet gave her the initial sedation IV med and you could see her totally relax and “smiling” again. When she passed, the vet and his wife who had accompanied him were crying too.

    Kisa was a sweetheart. She loved our cat too and adored “grooming” the cat’s head. The 19 year old arthritic cat would deliberately walk up to Kisa, bow her head to get slurped. The cat looked so silly walking away with dog saliva coated hair sticking up all over head, very punk but they both were very pleased with that activity. Our Kisa had arthritis too but she never complained and tried to do as much as she could with those limitations. Her favorite thing was walks with us and our other Sammy. Just before we took her on her last car ride, my husband asked her if she wanted to go for a walk and she got right up, ready to go. She got to have that walk even if it was a very short walk.

    We miss her so much and so does our other 5 year old Sammy. We are in the process of getting another Samoyed puppy which will be our fourth Samoyed. Samoyeds are the best. Loving, sweet, extremely smart and they make us laugh so much. We are so grateful to have had Kisa for 13 years with all the memories and know that she was always a happy dog and had a wonderful life.

    • Sams are great with cats, aren’t they? I am going to get another one in a few months. Sometimes I sigh when I think of puppy issues – the house training, the chewing, but can’t be without one for long. Maggie’s breeder has another litter due any day now, and I’ve put my name in. My doggy friends tell me that by the time a pup is available, I’ll be ready.

  25. Sue

    Joyce, there is no easy way to say good-bye, and sometimes we don’t even get the chance. You and Maggie were fortunate to be able to share that hour together. Bless her heart, and yours too, for offering her such a fun- and thrill-filled chance at life. Love the photos, which are making me smile despite brimming eyes. She was a treasure. (And I still find it remarkable that you bucked family tradition and got a dog in the first place!)

    • Oh, I’m not the only dog person in the family. Carol is the doggy sister, Jane is the catty sister, and I’m the doggy and catty sister. Would you call that ecumenical? Or versatile?

  26. A beautiful and amazing walk through her life with you that brought me to tears. I’m glad she had such a wonderful friend to spend her life with.

  27. bemused

    You will be ready. I know some people feel too heartbroken and don’t want to go through the pain of losing a furry companion again but I think our hearts have infinite rooms available to fill if we are willing to open the doors.
    We have so many wonderful memories of our previous dogs and cats that we want to keep experiencing the fun. Three years after our 19 year old cat passed, we couldn’t stand being a catless home anymore and adopted two female littermate kittens now almost two years old.

    We are doing some groaning thinking of the puppy issues too! When we brought home a puppy 5 years ago, we discovered that our Kisa helped the puppy learn the routines around our home and provided extra playing time for all that puppy energy. An added bonus was that Kisa who gained weight too easily with her arthritis limiting activity finally got down to her ideal weight about 5 months of being with a puppy who insisted on lots and lots of playtime.

    We will know in another week or so when we will be taking a puppy home, sometime in June. We went to the breeders’ “puppy party” recently to see two litters (two different breeders) born two weeks apart. What a hoot. 10 puppies plus both mothers and one of the sires. It was Sammy heaven.

    Samoyeds seem to love everybody and why wouldn’t they? Everyone oohs and aahs over them when they meet them so Sams think every human loves them. They really do have sweet temperaments.

  28. Hi Joyce. You created a heart-felt post on your wondeful dog. I know the grief you feel, having put down two dogs. My condolences.

  29. This was a beautiful post Joyce thank you for sharing yours and Maggie’s journey. She was clearly a much loved dog with her grace and character and equanimity. Inam sorry for your loss Joyce.

  30. It’s always sad when our furry friends leave us…hang in there!

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