In light of Oprah coming to Toronto, I perused her life classes from the past.  Many of them I participated in whether is was only Today’s Question or a Life Class on Twitter on Sunday night.

As I went through the questions, most of my answers reflected the many things I talk about on my blog.  What is my gut telling me?  My gut is telling me that if I don’t have work for a week and then I’m expected to be at the beck and call another week, then that’s not a job.   It’s time I get out on my own.   Does my heart light up when I see my children?   Always… question.

However, there was one question that deserved an answer from me.  How has a particular animal changed your life?

My story is short and sweet.  For 35 years, I hated dogs, every animal to be exact.  We never had a family pet…wait we had a budgie bird named Mork (or did it have a name?) It died because of something my brother was smoking in the middle of the night.  (I swear I will never think anything different)

Well long story short, the kid’s returned from our hometown after spending a few weeks in the summer with family.  They asked for a dog and we promised to deliver.   We picked out a Cocker Spaniel named Maddie.  Suffice to say, I washed my hands clear of her immediately.  I didn’t want to pick up her poop, bath her, or deal with training.

The next few weeks, it was I who had to deal with all of the puppy madness.  We went camping and she got pathetically dirty.  I returned home to bathe her on Saturday afternoon.  We went back to the campground and she tried to ride on my lap, where I protested “Ew dog, get away from me.”   Upon our arrival at the campground, she threw up in the car and I had to clean it in utter disgust.

Over the years Maddie grew on me.  She followed me everywhere.  At night, she’d cozy beside me as I blogged, tweeted, and talked to friends on the computer.  When I said it was time for bed, she would quickly head for the bedroom where she would nestle at my feet at the end of the bed.  She would wake up every morning with me where I’d give her the crusts of my peanut butter and toast.  She would watch us leave through the frosted glass side panel when we left for the day.  We’d all giggle at her distorted face every morning.

Then last Summer, at four years old, Maddie got sick.  Initially they thought it was a bladder infection but it got progressively worse.  After much expense, we found out that it was an enlarged heart.  My heart sank as I returned home that day from the vet.  I had Maddie in my arms and I cried and cried.  Being a pretty tough Mama, my son came out to find out what was going on.   I look at him and said “I just know I have to put down my best friend ever and it’s killing me inside!”

Yes, it was one week of trying expensive drugs to see if she would live.  Maddie was staggering everywhere and trying to hide under the deck.  I phoned my husband and said “I think it’s time.  She can’t keep going like this.  We are torturing her.”

The vet advised us that we could put a pace maker in Maddie with no guarantees that it would work due to her young age.   The vet said if it was up to him he would put Maddie down.

We took Maddie to the vet, as a family, and made that horrible decision to put her down.  I left after they gave her some calming drugs.   As I stood outside with my daughter, I felt that my goodbye wasn’t honest enough.  I returned to her bedside, knelt and cried openly in front of my husband and son.  I proceeded to tell her how happy she made me and how she was the first animal to open my heart.  I gave her one last kiss on the head and said “You were the best first dog ever!”

After I said what I had to say, we left the vet’s office full of tears and remorse.  Everyone went to their separate corners after cleaning up Maddie’s mat, food dish and toys.  Absolutely spent, I laid in bed, cried my heart out, and created this video. It took me so long to find the perfect song that suited my relationship with Maddie.  After posting it to YouTube, I sent it to everyone in the house.  After they watched it, we came together and talked about all the great memories we had with Maddie and how she changed our family dynamic so much.

Chloe-The-ADHD-DogToday, we have Chloe, who is a mixed Cocker Spaniel and King Charles. We all love her even though we are certain that she has been touched with ADHD.   (Damn tail never stops wagging)

This is the way she is at least 16 hours a day!  Her spirit is amazing and she’s brought a different aura into the house.
If we don’t watch, she’ll take everything out of the house and store it in the backyard.

She will never replace my Maddie, but she sure as hell tries.

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