It just wouldn't be right if I were to make the effort to write down memories of Matt and I were to leave out his love of animals. I could go so many directions with this post, it is almost hard to know where to start. I think though, out of respect for his most recent pet, it is only right if I talk a little about our dog Maggie.
Technically speaking Maggie was a Valentine's Day present for me, or at least that is what Matt said. It was February 13, 2010 when Evelyn and I walked in the house after coming home for the day that we saw Matt sitting on the living room floor with the most adorable, little yellow lab. I immediately teared up, and it was not because Maggie was so cute. I teared up because I could not believe Matt had gotten us a dog. There I was stunned and standing in our entry way with Evelyn in my arms. She turns to me, slaps her hands on both sides of my cheeks and exclaims
Mommy, a puppy! It's a puppy Mommy!
Well, after that there was no arguing about whether or not the dog was staying. And although I was fearful about the responsibilities that came along with a dog, Matt was utterly faithful in taking care of everything to do with Maggie. Up until this point Matt and I always had cats. We had four to be exact; Yellow, Blue, Simon, and Blue Two. And Matt loved those cats with all his heart, but it wasn't until we had Maggie I knew just how good Matt was with animals. He had such a good way with her. He trained her, disciplined her, loved her, played with her, and cuddled her with amazing love. He had this way of calling her name, in his low and loud voice, "MAAA ... GGGGGGIIIIIEEEEE". I wish I had the ability to call her the way he did, maybe I would have better luck in getting her to listen to me now a days.
A memory that I always recall about Maggie is from a day Matt and I were both at home, taking a day off to rest together. For the most part I wasn't a fan of allowing Maggie into our bed. On this day Matt and I were spending the day in bed watching movies. Matt would get up to get to get some food or go to the bathroom, and I could sense something was going on, but I couldn't figure out what. He would crawl to the top of the covers, way up by the pillow, and then shuffle down off the end of our bed. It seemed strange, but Matt was a little strange, so I didn't think a lot of it. So after a movie or so, I hear him whisper, "Shhhh, stay down". I look over and for the first time that day realized that there next to Matt was a rather large lump under the covers. I remember laughing so hard, and then Matt laughing. He pulls back the covers, and there under the duvet was Maggie. She was curled down in a little ball completely covered trying to hide from Momma. I don't know how he got her to lay so still, for so long, but she seemed to always do exactly what he wanted her to. I ended up letting Maggie snuggle with us that day.
When Matt first died I struggled for months on what would be best for Maggie. We now lived in a town home, and there was far less places for Maggie to run. I had so much on my plate, and balancing caring for a dog seemed daunting at times. Not to mention the amount of time Matt would spend playing catch with her each day, and how it seemed unfair for her to have such a change in a workout routine. I struggled for months on whether or not a different home for Maggie would be best for all of us, but in the end I came to the conclusion that we needed her as much as she needed us. I know now I made the right decision.
Maggie still drives me nuts now and again. She always has. I'm not a huge dog lover, and Evelyn is much like her mom. We are fickle when it comes to how much we want to have her around. On the days when Evie and I were loving Maggie up Matt would be bustling around the house announcing to whoever wanted to listen, "Everybody loves the Maggie Mags. Oh the good ol' Maggie Mags. Who couldn't love the Maggie Mags." And on those days Evie and I felt we needed a little extra space you could hear Matt in the same melody declaring on Maggie's behalf, "Nobody loves the Maggie Mags. Poor ol' Maggie Mags. Why won't anybody love the Maggie Mags."
I think that Isaac may just fall in love with Maggie the way that Matt had. I'm teaching the two how to play catch. Right now it leaves a little to be desired ... Isaac will pick up the tennis ball and throw it down; the ball landing about 6 inches in front of him. Maggie will happily pick it up and drop it back down for him. He picks it back up, giggling the whole time, and throws it back down another 6 inches ahead. I see the love for animals Matt had in Isaac already, and I hope someday soon Maggie will have a playmate as good as she once did in Matt.