Sunbathing by InkSpot's Blot
Sunbathing, a photo by InkSpot’s Blot on Flickr.

Finding a spot of sunshine was part art and part science. The area had to smell right, feel right. Just as important was the angle of the light. Maddie knew a good pool of sunshine, and she appreciated it enough to never pass one up.

When she laid in it, the light seemed to radiate from her rather than from the sun. Refracting back in red and gold. Mighty and regal as a lioness.

There were other things she did that were just as full of intention. Presenting toy, for example. Note, I said “presenting” it. She didn’t just grab any old thing. There was always the right toy for the right moment.

In her later years, during our walks she’d sideswipe any rosemary bush we encountered. I thoroughly believe it was because she liked the smell, and wanted to carry the scent of it with her.

Food? Obvious science. The dilation of the pupils. The tilt of her head. The exact angle of her ears. The right expression contained a specific execution of these elements to exact “The Puppy Effect”. She used it ruthlessly with much success.

Aside from all her other greatnesses, was Maddie’s unrestrained capacity for love. She would sink into my hand, lean her whole body into it. Cuddling on the floor was a spoon affair. And the absolute best was the Maddie Mind Meld. We’d touch our foreheads together, nuzzle. Soul-binding and heart-soothing.

I’ve learned a lot from Madeline over the years. That life is better when you stop to enjoy it. That a walk is a simple act of pleasure. To have patience with her people, who sometimes don’t know any better. Attention and intention. Affection, faithfulness and love.

Madeline, my best friend and anchor for over 9 years, died on October 11, 2011 at 3:40am. Events from the last few weeks lead up to that moment, and that decision. It was quick, and as painless as it could have been. I know that after 15+ years of living, she had a full life. She traveled to two continents, three countries, and the hearts of many people. She had numerous exploits notched on her leash and left a devastating trail of cuteness (and sweetness) in her wake.

Madeline is survived by the people who love her. By happiness and magic, by life and beauty.


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