Sunday, July 27, 2008

A few nights ago, my wife and I had been watching TV in the living room for a couple of hours when I decided to walk outside during a commercial. Once outside, I saw a car parked at the entrance to my driveway, so I crept up my 300 feet long drive to see who it was. From time to time, local teenagers will drive down my road and vandalize the mailboxes, so I was thinking I had caught someone in the act.

As I got closer, I could see that it was a neighbor who lived a couple of houses down. He had been walking his dog and the dog had gotten too hot. So he left the dog in my yard, and ran home to get his car so he could take the dog home. The dog was already unconcious by the time I made it up the driveway, but breathing heavily.

The dog died as my neighbor and I tried to keep it alive. We did CPR on the Golden Retriever, and for a moment we made some progress. Despite our efforts, Maggie passed on and I tried to console my neighbor who was visibly hurting.

It was pitch black dark outside when we had tried to revive the dog, and I had missed the end of a movie that I watched for two hours, but this experience is one that I will remember the rest of my life and one that I am glad to have been a part. From time to time, we all need a reminder of how valuable and meaningful life is, no matter the creature or its purpose. We put the heavy dog in the back of my truck and took her home. At 10:30 pm, I walked in the door at my house after helping my neighbor dig the hole and trading a few dog stories. I did not sleep very much that night.

Watching Maggie fight for life only to lose while we tried to help her fight reminded me of the night my grandmother passed away. Like this night, I was there. I held my grandmother's hand and talked to her as she took her last breath, similar to how we held Maggie and encouraged her to keep fighting.

I often wondered if my grandmother knew I was there, and what she felt as she left us and joined my grandfather. I still wonder the same about Maggie. Did she know that we tried to help her? Was she hurting?

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