Those of you who know me, know that I am a dog and cat lover. I have a soft heart for strays, and I can’t stand to see an animal suffering. I am constantly trying to save all the stray little kittens born behind Multitudes, and each year we hold our annual Dog Days of Summer Sale and invite the SPCA to adopt out dogs during the event.

Lucky for me, my husband feels the same. The day I opened the store, he promptly marched in with the kids…and Gus, a rescue dog…shrugged and said, “you got a store, and we got a dog.” Our home often lives like a zoo. Kids are playing, dogs are running, cats are jumping…and on most days, it makes for a joyous house, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Today is not one of those days. Today we are sad. Today we had to put down our Golden Girl, Maddie. Maddie was one of those once in a lifetime dogs. The kind of dog that every owner hopes their puppy turns into. She never jumped on people, rarely barked, ate like a lady, and obeyed a quiet no. We have long said she is the best dog in the world, and she truly was!

She was also a true family dog. My brother had her first, and he got her from someone who was giving her away. She was about three, and she was beautiful and smart, but very shy. She acted like she almost didn’t deserve to do those things that dogs love to do. But, my brother has a very gentle way, and he and his girls coaxed her and loved on her, and in no time, she learned to trust people again.

She came to live in our home in 2009 when she was about six. My brother was going through a life change, and he didn’t have to twist our arms to take her. At the time, we lived on a lake, and Maddie LOVED it there. She spent her prime years chasing the boat, swimming, and hanging with all the other neighborhood dogs.

For all the joy our pets bring us, we are full aware we will outlive them. Someone told me today that the reason they don’t want to have pets is it’s just too hard to say goodbye. And, I get that, I do. It is hard…gut-wrenchingly hard. But the joy Maddie brought us will outshine and be remembered long after the pain of today subsides. So, for us, it’s about joy. Our pets bring us joy! And who couldn’t use a little more joy in their lives?

Thanks for the joy Maddie! We love you, and miss you so much already!