After a series of seriously unfortunate events, Maggie died Friday, January 11.
This is Maggie’s story.
*UPDATE: This post was written two days after her death. I still couldn’t wrap my head around what happened. However, in the last few days I have had the chance to meet with The Humane Society of Charlotte and CMPD Animal Care and Control. There will be an update to this post because I learned things I didn’t know…I have met with those involved. I don’t think Maggie’s death will be in vain. This post however, shows the hurt, the pain, the confusion over losing a young dog so suddenly…and it might help someone else. Please be on the lookout for a follow up post. When it is written, I will link it here.
A story I wish with every ounce of my body that I didn’t have to tell. A story that is full of wrong decisions, unfair practices, and a complete loss of faith in animal organizations.
Maggie showed up in our lives unexpectedly during a trip to Maggie Valley. On our last day there we were making bacon and eggs and looked up and sitting outside the front door was this little doggie. We took our food outside to eat and she looked so dirty and hungry we offered her some bacon that she greedily devoured. As we were sitting on the porch with the pup soon to become “Maggie,” the owner of the cabin came to talk to us. She told us this dog was a stray who had been running the hills for a few months by herself. She could not take her in as she already had too many dogs. Full of fleas, ticks, and mats, it was decided we would bring her home with us and give her the best life she ever had.
We gave her a bath, wrapped her in a towel and she sat on Betsy’s lap the entire way home without so much as a whimper. We stopped at a pet store, got her a leash, collar, and flea bath and decided we would name her “Maggie”. She fit in perfectly with our family. We already had two dogs, Rosie, an Australian Shepherd 7, and Chloe, a Golden Retriever, 9. All three dogs immediately got along well. Maggie brought out the puppy side in both Rosie and Chloe. Rosie and Chloe are my dogs….they follow me every where, they sit by me, they lie next to my bed to sleep. But not Maggie. No! Maggie wanted to be with Reece and Betsy all the time. She would take turns sleeping in their rooms, sometimes finding the funniest holes to sleep in. She would whine when they left for school and jump for joy when they came home.
There was not a person on this earth Maggie didn’t like. She was the most social, happy dog I have ever met. While only weighing a third of what Chloe and Rosie weighed, Maggie ruled the roost. She was the top dog in this house. The only negative about Maggie was she was very protective over food when it came to Chloe and Rosie. She wouldn’t care if any human touched her food, went near her food, but if either of the other dogs did, she would guard her food and sometimes snarl. I thought she was just protecting her territory.
On December 30, 2012 we had just finished eating pizza and there was an empty box left next to the couch. Maggie kept running up to it and sitting by it. Rosie happened to walk by the couch, Maggie jumped off the couch and bit Rosie, Rosie bit back. And a fight ensued. I tried to pull Rosie away, but Maggie was relentless. At this point, I think she was just scared. I put my hand in the middle of them and tried to push Maggie out of the way. I was bit. Maggie finally ran outside. As I looked at my hand, you could not only clearly see the puncture wounds, my hand was swelling and gushing blood and pounding in pain. My dad took me to the hospital. You have no idea how much I regret this now. Had I known what was going to happen after visiting the hospital I never, ever would have gone. I would have just dealt with it and hoped it didn’t really hurt my hand.
At the hospital they told me dog bite wounds get infected easily and they put me on an antibiotic. The also asked if my dogs were up to date on rabies and I said yes (thinking they were) and then they said they had to report it to Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Control – Its the law. At that point I was scared. My dogs didn’t bite me on purpose. It was my fault I put my hand in there, my fault the pizza box was there…And all I could think was I did not want my dogs punished. I talked to my husband and he told me not to worry. I wish I had lied…some random dog on the street bit me…I would suffer the rabies shots….I would….
At 8 a.m. December 31st, Animal Control was at my house. They informed me Maggie was past due on her rabies shot by a couple of months and they were going to have to take her and quarantine her for 10 days. They also told me they were going to have to take Rosie because hers was expired too. How did that happen? I didn’t get a reminder…I didn’t know….Oh God. We begged him to just let us home quarantine…begged, cried, pleaded. But he had to take both of them because I didn’t know which bit me. They would be safer with us….we would do everything to protect them…o keep them away from other people and dogs. We would put them in home jail. Oh God. God I wish I had lied…I wish I had lied. The kids were still sleeping so they didn’t have to witness this, thank God. But Maggie was their dog. She loved them and they loved her.
The man wrote on the paper the quarantine ended on 1/10/13. Because Rosie had already been spayed, she was going to be very expensive to get out of doggie jail 202.00. They told us the best option for Maggie was to do the spay option where she would be spayed by the Humane Society, Microchipped and rabies shot. My kids did not want her to get spayed, but as responsible pet owners, we gave in to that idea. Although both my husband were a little uncomfortable with that. But we knew not to plan on anything on the 10th because we would be there when they first opened to get them. We started counting down the days….9, 8, 7, 6….
On December 9th at 5:15 pm, an animal control guy came to my door with a written statement that I was in violation of abandoning my pets. WHAT???!!! My paper says the 10th!!! I showed him! I told him I called to verify the date!!! He told me if you don’t get them in 72 hours they will be ours and we have the option to euthanize them or adopt them. And by the way, Maggie will be adopted quickly. Oh. My. God. What???
The next say, we were at Animal Control at 11:00 am. We wanted to retrieve our dogs. We paid the full fee of 291.00 to get Rosie released immediately and allow them to perform a spay on Maggie on Friday and we could pick her up at 4:00. While signing the liability, my husband and I both were considering just not doing the spay…the kids didn’t want it….My husband had a bad feeling, but I thought we were doing the responsible thing. My husband also questioned the lady behind the desk. She said it was standard procedure and not to worry. Oh God. I wish I didn’t sign that paper. I wish…I wish she wouldn’t have made it sound so nonchalant. I wish I would have listened to my husbands inner voice…Oh God.
Then, we got to get Rosie. She was brought to us on one of those long stick things that has the noose around the end, like she was some vicious animal. She immediately jumped in the van and laid by me the entire drive home, whimpering. I even stopped at McDonalds to get her some fries, kind of like apologizing for what she had gone through. She didn’t eat. Rosie not eating was a bad sign. Once home, I noticed, and so did my kids and husband she had lost a ton of weight. In 11 days. How does that happen? Its called Animal Care and Control? She had a scrape on her snout with some of the hair missing. She would not leave my side except to search the house for Maggie…whining the whole time. Oh God. Oh God.
The next morning I told Betsy I would pick her up at the bus stop and we would go get Maggie! Yea!!!! In the morning, Betsy put a blanket and her favorite toy in the van…to make sure Maggie was nice and comfortable when we brought her home. I went through my day, counting the hours. I had a chance to go out to eat with my sister and we had a great time. During the lunch I received a phone call, but when I tried to listen to the message, I couldn’t hear the message. After lunch, I went to my car and listened again. It was the Humane Society telling me to call them immediately. She gave me two numbers. Oh God. Oh God.
I called…no answer. I called again…no answer….I called the other number no answer….On the 6th time…someone answered, “Hi this is Dr. Bailey and I have some terrible news….” It’s all I heard…I knew…Oh God.. I knew….I lost it. I told her she was lying…No No No…My kids…what did I do to this sweet dog..oh God this is my fault…every decision I made led to my dogs death…oh God..I killed her. Oh God I killed my kids dog…Oh God. Oh God. You are lying…what did you do to my dog…oh God…Oh God…They killed this sweet dog that was full of life…loved to play ball…loved to snuggle with my kids…loved everyone she met…oh God…oh God…Oh God…Oh God….Why? Oh God Why? No No No!!!! She said this never happens….ever….could they do an autopsy…I don’t know..oh God..what am I going to tell my kids…I couldn’t breath….this is my fault…this is there fault…They shouldn’t have taken my dogs, they shouldn’t have made the surgery sound so simple..oh God….I couldn’t talk….I couldn’t breath…how am I going to tell my kids…My husband will call you back..oh God.
Mel met me at home. He was a wreck…broken as much as me….when he could compose himself, he called them back. It took us over a half an hour to reach them…oh God. The doctor repeated this never happens….that she didn’t even make it to surgery…they put her under anesthesia and she stopped breathing and then her heart stopped. She said it never has happened while she was there…then why to us? Why to Maggie? After spending 12 days locked in jail away from those she loved and who loved her…oh God. Its my fault…its the Animal Cares fault, its the humane societies fault…Oh God….how am I going to tell my kids….
I was supposed to meet Betsy at the bus stop so we could go pick Maggie up….oh God….she walked in the door and said “What the heck?” I said, Betsy, I have to tell you something?” Betsy said, “Maggie isn’t coming home is she?” “No baby”. The shrew her stuff down and let out the most heart breaking scream I had ever heard…wailing she ran to the bathroom. I followed….She opened the door and we just hugged…She was sobbing so loudly I felt like I was gong to die from the pain she was feeling…Oh God…why? Why? Maggie wasn’t old..she was 2 years old…she loved us…we loved her…why put this pain on my child????
Betsy then ran upstairs crying…I followed…she laid her head on Maggies’ pillow and sobbed…in between the sobs she was asking me how and I told her.
“Is she in Heaven with Mimi?”
“Yes, and I am sure Mimi was the first one to greet her.”
“I don’t know. Maybe God needed her more than we did.”
“But I set up everything in the van for her…”
“I know…I am so sorry”
Really? This is what I had to do….decisions I made…stupid laws…stupid nonchalant surgeries….
Then…Reece came home….he sat down…we told him…he pulled he sweatshirt over his head and sobbed…he body was convulsing…Oh God…how do I get through my guilt…my pain…seeing the crushing, paralyzing pain this is causing on my kids…Oh God. Oh God.
Today has been two days since Maggie died…I am still full of pain, guilt, and anger. My kids are moving through it better than me. They decided to look for another doggie they could call their own…But I cannot escape this pain..it has engulfed me….the anger at the laws that were meant to protect people actually played a part in killing my dog….the nonchalantness of the Humane Society in spaying that they probably were not prepared for an emergency…they probably ran no blood tets or anything to see if she could have the surgery…the guilt of over every decision I made…not knowing their rabies shots had expired…going to the hospital…wishing I had lied about my dogs biting me….allowing the spay….
I will miss that dog….she was the happiness in our bad moods…she was the light of our days…and she was taken from us out of the blue, unexpectedly…and it all could have probably been avoided…all of it….Oh God. I read the other day that when something negative happens to you, you should always find the positive. What was positive about this situation? How can I find it? Unless the CMPD Animal Control changes their laws or the Humane Society changes their operations..this will happen again to another family….and I cannot bear to think of this happening to someone else….Oh God.
Rest in Peace Maggie….