We knew nothing about dogs, on the long ride home, Kim was worried you were having seizures, but you were just having hiccups, common for a puppy. We also did not know that puppies like to nip, and you were a little biter! In the first week at home, I went out to a concert, and came home to Kim standing on the couch crying, with tiny "Cujo" on the floor barking at her! How ridiculous she feels about that now, being scared of this sweet little 15lb panda cub! But after the first week new-puppy-parent-panic, you became the easiest dog ever for first timers! I would always say to people, "yes sheepdogs are a super easy dog to get" and a few other sheepdog owners would look at me like I was crazy. You loved everything and everyone, you were so smart and so easy to train. Though sometimes this was unintentional, on the long drive to St. Louis for our first Sheepiepalooza with you in the backseat, mommy had treats in her purse, she unzipped it to give you a treat. After that first one, everytime she unzipped her purse with our maps and passports and everything, your head would pop up from the back seat.
You were so full of funny idiosyncracies, you would always need a place to hide, first under the couch until you got too big, and even then, sometimes we'd find you got yourself stuck and I would have to lift it up so you could get out, then it became under the coffee table which became your permanent hidey-hole. It would also be where you waited while we ate our dinners, raking our feet and shins to let us know you wanted a bite. On a stop during that first drive home with you, I have a picture with you standing between my legs. Little did I know that this became your thing, when you were happy you would go through our legs, you often made it so hard to set up the agility course as you would run in circles through my legs. You would also greet people you loved (almost everyone!) by going through their legs, often standing halfway through and wiggling your bum. And I can't forget to mention your bum! The most majestic bum I have ever seen! With which you would shake so much you'd think the Earth would move! Our basement was unfinished and too dirty and messy for a sheepdog, so we never let you into it, this became so deeply ingrained, you would watch intently as mommy or daddy sometimes dissappeared down this mysterious black hole, but you would not go near it. I know I would have to physically pick you up and carry you down, but I never would, that would just upset you! Whenever we went to other people's hosues, even if they have fully finished basements, you would not dare go down them. And this you taught to your mama and little sister Gracie, I never had to teach them, they just learned from you that the basement is completely forbidden. Sometime as a puppy, I don't remember exactly when, you decided to go to the back patio door and wrap the curtain around your head like a shroud, and then you would stare at us. There was no resisting that face, everytime I would jump up and take you out in the yard and play. Your love and your kisses were impossible to say no to. Often when a favourite person was visiting like your cousin Anna, you would pin her down on the couch and go gonzo with the kisses. How many times did you hop into bed in the middle of the night and smother daddy with kisses?
Everything was for you. Our home always got very hot in the summers, but no we never got get air conditioning, until our first summer with you when we got air conditioning. 37 years old and I had never owned a car, within 4 months we were getting our first car, because we needed one to drive out to sheep herding. Yes, sheep herding. Never in my life did I entertain the idea of standing out in a field of sheep waving a stick in my hand trying to direct a dog to gather up the sheep. But my Mady was a sheepdog, and she would herd sheep. The first time was one of the best moments in my life, we were at the sheep farm waiting for your turn with the instinct test, my little 6 month old Mady. You didn't seem to be interested in the sheep or the surroundings as we waited and watched the other dogs. Then it was your turn, you walked into the pen, and it was like all the lights just lit up! You realizing that "Hey! These are sheep, and I am a sheepdog!", centuries of breed instinct just turned on and you were gathering the sheep and weaving back and forth like you were an old hand! I don't know how it was possible but my heart just grew even bigger, and all I wanted to do was be a sheep herder. Herding sheep remained your absolute favourite thing in your whole life! Whenever we were within 10min of the sheep farm, you started whining and crying, we could never get there fast enough! Oh my baby girl I love you!
Your second favourite thing in the whole wide world was agility. Which is funny because when we first tried it with you, you hated it! I remember trying to cajole you through a very, very short tunnel with treats, and there was just no way you were going through, but in the next few years you became an amazing agility dog. Drive, drive, drive! Nothing ever distracted you from doing agility, not other people, other dogs, food, no matter how noisy or busy it was, you were always so incredibly focused on doing your run. And you were always so fast! Which always surprised everyone. When you just walked around, I am sorry to say this my baby girl, you sort of lumbered along. But then you would be sitting at the start line, one front paw raised in the air quivering with anticipation, and then you were off like a bullet! No one expected this big galumphing bear to be so fast. And you were so good, more of the best moments in my life came with going to provincial Regionals and qualifying for the Nationals, you were the only Old English at the 2016 Nationals in Montreal, and your best was a 5th place in a standard run! I was so proud. Again I had never imagined I would be standing in a national competition holding your big 5th place ribbon!
But here I must take a moment, and apologize to you my beautiful, perfect girl. You were our first dog ever, and we were completely new to all this. I am so sorry that you ended up being our practice dog. I held you back, I was inconsistent in my training and I taught you bad habits. Not just in agility but in other things. Yes you earned agility titles and a herding title, but you were such a better dog than I ever deserved. I am so sorry sometimes I got frustrated and angry with you. It was never ever your fault, it was always daddy's fault.
I know that none of that matters, the only thing that matters was all the fun we had! We loved showing off. Doing agility demos at Polo-in-the-Park and your canine-horse agility/show jumping team at the Ottawa National where you came in 5th. You always stood out, with so many people wanting to meet and pet you, you were always so calm with swarms of people crowding in on you. You spread so much joy around in your brief life.
You changed our lives. Without you, we would never have gotten your mama Virginia, we would never have gotten your baby sister Gracie, we would never have met so many wonderful people and made so many friends. Most importantly, we would never have known how deeply, unconditionally, impossibly we could love another creature. It always felt like you knew us better than anyone ever could. We shared a soul.
It is tempting to think we had terrible luck. To have you, my precious heart, diagnosed with lymphoma not even a week after we said goodbye to your mama Virginia. To have horrible luck to have such a short remission from the chemo, when it started off so promising, to have such horrible luck in none of the other chemo treatments working. Yes it was terrible, horrible luck.
But in truth, we had tremendous luck--it was such an incredible blessing to have had you, our Mady, in our lives. We had our Mady-moo as our first dog! Who else can possibly say the same? We always knew that when this day came, it would be far too soon, but we are so, so thankful for you, for all the time we had with you. We will love you to the end of time.
My Beautiful girl
Amber scooped up lil' Mady from the floor and plopped her in my lap. And she shyly looked up at me...Those eyes...
On the drive home after picking up Mady, I did not realize this between the leg thing would become her signature move!
She always loved her hidey holes
Even when she got too big for it!
Kim Kardashian who???
She brought us to so many places...
Mady's best friend, Keeva. They were inseparable and with Keeva living facing the park, if she was not there when Mady got there, she would just stand and stare wistfully at Keeva's house.
Most beautiful, kissable nose in the world
Mady showed her exuberant love for people like nothing else, especially her favourite cousin Anna!
Mady and mama Virginia. I can't believe they are both gone...
|Oh David, Mady was so young, 8 years is way too short.|
I'm so sorry
|Sending hugs your way! Sorry for your loss!|
|What a lovely little story of her life- brought tears to my eyes. So sorry for your loss. xx|
|Thanks for sharing your pictures of Mady. They tell a wonderful sheepdog story.|
I well know how this feels for you— the deepest kind of emptiness. My heartfelt sympathy for the loss of your special girl.
|David & Kim,|
I'm so sorry for the loss of Mady.
She was such a special girl.
You guys, and her, fought so hard.
ALL of us will miss her.
Sleep tight, sweetie.
|David and Kim, I am so sorry to hear this news and very sorry for your loss. I often think of my visit to Ottawa specifically because I enjoyed meeting and spending a little time with the two of you and Mady and Gracie so much. |
|David and Kim, my heart breaks for you. I met Mady at your first SheepiePalooza and she won my heart. She will be missed by all.|
|My heart is breaking for you. I sat here at my desk sobbing. What a beautiful eulogy to a very beautiful Mady. David and Kim, you were all so lucky to have each other. I will miss reading the adventures you had with her and the pictures. And all the pics of Virginia and her pillows. Some losses are very difficult to move on from, if you ever really do. You have my sincere heartfelt condolences on your loss.|
|Loved hearing your stories about your special girl. She was the best for you and you were the best for her.|
So very sorry.
|Very sorry to hear about your beautiful, special girl. It hurts me to read this. I hope and pray that you can find peace at this time. You write very beautifully.|
| I'm so sorry for your loss of this wonderful Mady-girl. |
WOW.....what a lovely life she had; Beautyful pic. She was a special girl.
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