It is with a sad heart that I write this post today. Yesterday, I held my 11 year old Labrador Retriever, Maggie as she drifted off to sleep for the last time. After suffering a brief illness that was going to get progressively worse, I could not watch her suffer any longer. It was a difficult decision to make, but I put her welfare ahead my own desire to keep her a little longer. She was my good friend and the loving mother to Kohl, my 8 year old black lab.
Born on July 23, 1998 Maggie arrived at my home about 8 weeks later, as a gift from my brother-in-law. She was a beautiful puppy, happy and playful.
I already had a Golden Retriever, named Duchess who was eight at the time, and they soon became good friends. Maggie was the smartest dog I’ve ever had. Ask her for something one time, and she’d go and find it. When she was 3 years old, I breed her with a Chocolate Lab from Brookshire, TX. As the weeks passed, Maggie gained weight and the vet confirmed she was expecting. I was so excited and my nieces were too. They would be there to witness the birth of her litter.
I put a baby pool in the kitchen and filled it soft sheets and blankets in hopes Maggie would use it to have the puppies in. Duchess even chimed in on the activites and wanted to be right with Maggie as the time drew close.
On June 15, 2001 Maggie went into labor in the early evening. I called my nieces and they hurried over to spend the night. Maggie gave birth to the first puppy at 8:39pm. Little did I know this process would last through the next morning and she would go on to have 12 puppies. She had 5 boys and 7 girls, all of them black labs (even though she was yellow and the father was a chocolate – as surprise to me at the time.) One little girl did not start breathing like the others did, and we thought we had lost her. I continued to massage her, cleaned her mouth out again, and she finally took her first breath. All twelve puppies survived. Now the challenge was going to be feeding them. I rotated the puppies over the next few weeks 8 times a day to make sure everyone nursed. Maggie only had ten working nipples, and I did not want to see the smaller and weaker ones pushed aside.
As the weeks went by the puppies grew, played and grew some more.
They frequently called out to their Mom to return whenever they were hunger. As they got older, Maggie visited less often as a good Mom should, so they starting eating the trays of food I put down.
Soon they were on solid food and Maggie breathed a sigh of relief. It was sad to see them go, one by one to loving homes, but as fate would have one male was left behind.
After several failed attempts to find him the right home, Kohl, became part of our family.
He has never known a day without his Mom. Today was the first day for him on his own. I’ve walked him twice and find myself petting him more frequently to comfort him. We are going to spend the day together missing her and remembering all of the good times we’ve had together.
I love you too Kohl.
I love you Maggie. I will never forget you. I will be spreading your ashes in the garden where you grew up so that you’ll always be with us in spirit. You were my trusted companion and my friend. I will miss you deeply.