Ode to Madeline

I wrote this story before the passing of my second granddog. Though sad, I tried to encapsulate my thanks, memories and love for this special animal.

rainbow_bridgeTomorrow will be the last day of my grand-dog’s life.  Actually she, Madeline, was my second grand-dog.  Following after her brother, MacKenzie, she has lived an additional two years since his passing but still misses his presence.  The part that helps me accept this is that he will be at the Rainbow Bridge to meet her, wagging his tail.  United again in love!

When I think of her, I thank her for being a constant during these last two years.  She was present during and after my son’s divorce, endured the loss of her brother, put up with two more active puppies in the household and watched over my daughter-in-law’s new home.  Big responsibilities for Madeline… but that was who she was.

A poignant moment in the recent year was when we stopped by to drop off my granddaughter.  Madeline bounded out of the house only to look forlornly through the fence opening as my son and I pulled away from the curb.  I do believe that if she could have spoken, she would have said, ”Why can’t I go with you?”  But of course, that was just my fantasy.

MacKenzie and Madeline were the “family” shared by my son and his wife.  Then along came my granddaughter — always a huge adjustment for all family pets.  But the two of them included her in their lives like she had always been there.  Never knocked her over when she was learning to walk, never grabbed food out of her little hand and did not chew her many toys left on the floor.  They always reminded me that they were the surrogate parents making her their priority.

This year among my family and friends, ten dogs and cats have gone to the Rainbow Bridge.  I have written many sympathy cards, sent donations in their names and cherish memories of the hours we all played together.  Good thoughts but still sad.  I miss them all.

Someone said long ago, that a dog or cat lives a short time compared to humans because they come to earth perfect.  We people spend our lives living and trying to earn this perfection.  I guess that is a different way to approach our grief. It also gives meaning as to why one human year equates to seven animal years.

I have little else to say except THANK YOU, DEAR MADELINE.  You have been a love, a companion and a source of security in all of our lives.  God Bless You, Dearest One!

About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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