I recently photographed a dog (that would be Maggie) and her family. For many people, dogs are more than just a pet, and Maggie most certainly is. We took her to her favorite park, and just captured some precious moments of Maggie with her loving family. I honestly can't say anything better than the way Melissa, Maggie's mom, put it, so I'm turning over the reigns for her to share Maggie's story.
Seven years ago, as much as I'd like to say I had things together in my life, the reality was I didn't. I was longing to love something unconditionally and be loved the same way. All my life I grew up with dogs in the house. I always loved my dogs, but they always tended to be more my "mom or dad's dog". One day after I was married I was on the internet and an ad popped up for the local animal shelter. I usually don't click on those things, but something in my heart told me to do so. I did and they were advertising the dog of the week. It was a standard sized black schnauzer about the age of 5. However, there was no way, no how this dog looked anything like a schnauzer. Her hair was going in every which way possible and I guess putting it lightly she looked like a Neanderthal (the name my dad gave her the first time he met her before my husband and I got her her first haircut)! HOWEVER, her eyes spoke to me. I knew I had to get this dog! It was exactly 5:15, I called the rescue and they stated they closed at 6:00, however this was her last day there before she was going to be transported to a kill shelter. I told my husband to get in the car and we drove as quick as we could down to the shelter. I'm still not sure if I even showed him the picture of her or even told him where we were going. She wasn't in a pen. She was behind the secretary's desk because they had just gotten her "fixed". I went around and laid on the floor with her, head to head, eyes to eyes and talked with her. She began to warm up to me and gave me kisses. I immediately said "we're taking her home", while my husband told me that there was a cute beagle puppy in the back and pointed out that the dog I wanted was probably the ugliest one in the entire shelter. I didn't care, I made the purchase and told my husband to put her in the car (thank God he went along with my craziness!!!). As soon as he was loading her into the car she bit him under his chin, (granted he picked her up by the tummy where she just had surgery), but he had a look in his eyes of wanting to take her back, while I had the look in my eyes of "Hell No!".
Come to find out Maggie (the name we later picked out for her) had a very rough time warming up to and trusting men. We all began to believe that she was once abused by a man. She was also VERY sensitive when it came to anyone touching the bottom of her feet or toenails. Perhaps they burned the bottom of her paws. With it all, she quickly became MY dog. Attached to my hip, we went everywhere around the house, I even convinced my husband to let her sleep "at the bottom of the bed" (about six months later they ended up spooning together every night and he loved every minute of it!!).
When I was at my worst with my mental illness she knew it. When I cried she was there to console me, let me lay on her or cuddle with her. When I was manic she would follow me from room to room until I was able to calm down. When I was anxious she would lay right next to me. When I couldn't sleep she was the one that was up all night with me. She just knew me and my needs more than anyone else did. One particular instance that I remember the most was one of the worst days of my life. I'm not sure if my husband was home or at work, but I was having a horrible day mentally and contemplating a few things about my life. I was in our master bedroom closet or more like a holding cell for clothes and shoes galore. Nothing was organized and you needed to walk on top of shoes just to get to the clothes. I was in there (on top of everything) just bawling. I had kept the sliding door open about 3 inches. Maggie was looking for me, but at that time I was so oblivious to anything outside of myself that I wasn't even looking for her. All of a sudden the door began to open slowly. She opened it just wide enough to fit all 40lbs of herself inside. She climbed the never ending mountain of shoes and laid directly in front of me. She then put her head on my lap. I then put my head on her head and just sat there crying for another 20 minutes or so, neither one of us moving. It was then that I discovered that not only did I rescue her, but she had also rescued me. I needed to live for her.
We've been through many bad times together; mental illness, miscarriages, etc. and she has always been there by my side supporting me and loving me through and through. She's also been there for the greatest moment of my life which was having my son. She was my baby girl and we weren't too sure how she'd react to Brayden. Throughout my pregnancy (all 40 weeks!) she'd often times put her head on my tummy and lay with me. I called that their bonding time. When we brought him home she bonded with him right away. She'd often times lay her head on his boppy during feeding times and would follow me wherever he and I went. Needless to say Brayden loves her so much. Which, in a way, is bitter sweet. I know that when the day comes for her to crossover the rainbow bridge, I will just be beside myself, but I know that this little boy will be too. He knows that there are two kids in this family; him and Maggie. He will even state that, "Brayden is Mama's baby boy and Maggie is Mama's baby girl"! It will be twice as hard seeing him go through the loss of her as well. Just thinking of losing her makes me cry. I pray that she goes on her own. We've seen some deteriorating signs in her and I CAN NOT imagine making that life choice for her, BUT, there is one thing I know for sure, AND that is, she will ALWAYS be my forever HERO.