Yesterday I whispered my last farewell to Magic, a boxer/Boston terrier/pit mix who shared my life for nearly nine years. He actually belonged to my grandson Justin, but due to space issues, he and his best friend Mama Dog have lived with me for nearly eight years. I first met Magic when my next door neighbors brought him home eleven years ago at six weeks old. As he grew, he was left out year-round on a chain attached to a big tree in their backyard. Storms terrified him. I became his guardian of sorts in that I took him food every day and made sure he had access to fresh water, and took him a dog house I filled with pine straw. He loved toys, and he loved it best when I squirted him with water from the hose in the hot summer months. Every chance he got, he got free from the chain and came straight to my house. I had to take him home, of course, but always with treats. Over the two years he lived there, I asked several times if I could buy him but the youngest boy who loved him didn’t want to part with Magic. When they moved to another small town just down the road, I worried about what would happen to Magic. Then a few months later, the boy’s mother asked if I still wanted Magic. I said Yes! with no hesitation. My grandson had always loved him, too, and so we went to the animal shelter where Magic had been taken by Animal Control, and bailed him out. He’d been running away a lot. I don’t know what all happened to him while he was gone, but the sweet, friendly dog I’d always known had changed a great deal. He was nervous, shy of people,. and had become a biter. His best friend was Mama Dog, a pit rescued from a dog fighter. She didn’t tolerate his mood swings, and they lived peacefully most of the time. Magic still loved to leap up in the air to bite at the stream of water from the garden hose, and would do it for an hour before tiring. He loved tussling with Mama Dog, sleeping next to her, walks, and breakfast, dinner, and bedtime, when they all get a treat before I turn out the lights. He kept me on a strict schedule at times, barking if he considered me overdo with meals or bedtime treats.
Five weeks ago, Magic’s usual spring allergies I treated with Benadryl, grew worse. Then he became bloated. The vet diagnosed him with congestive heart failure and said he didn’t have much longer. Medicine and kefir gave him five extra weeks, but when breathing became a struggle and he couldn’t lie down because of the fluid around his heart and lungs, we made the decision to let him go. As he lay on a blanket at the vet’s I promised him no more pain, and no more storms. He was surrounded by love and tears as he slipped away in my arms.
When I came home, I sat in my living room looking out the window, and to my surprise a hummingbird appeared at the window and hovered for a moment. It was the first–and only–hummingbird I’ve seen this year. I’d like to think Magic sent it to let us know he’s made it to the other side where he’s happily running free at last. May there be lots of treats and garden hoses . . .