Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Maddie Baby Girl

A few years ago I was going through a rough time.
Over the course of just a little over a year, my mother had a heart attack, my grandfather had a stroke then passed away 6 months later, my dog Trucker (who had really become more of my grandfathers dog, to be honest) had to be put down due to brain tumors, I became an overnight mother of 3 when I got custody of my cousins while my aunt got clean and sober, and I found out that my grandmother had inoperable lung cancer.
I was feeling depressed, overwhelmed, and as though I had completely lost touch with myself. I needed something of my own, to be able to hold on to and bring me back to my center.
I decided that I needed a dog. It had been over a year since I'd had to have Trucker put to sleep and that was the longest I'd ever been without a dog in my life.

I made numerous trips to the pound out on Bradshaw, but every dog that I connected with, and who got along with my youngest cousin who was 4 at the time, was either deemed "unadoptable" or was adopted by another family before I was able to get to the shelter.

I was feeling heavily discouraged that I would never find a puppy and did something that I customarily do not condone - I started looking in the newspaper and on Craigslist.
One of the first listings I found on Craigslist was for a woman out in Marysville (now known to my cousin Erin and I as Scarysville after our trip out there to this womans house). The woman had long haired chihuahuas that she was trying to rehome.
My theory is that she had SO many dogs that the county was making her find homes for them before they were seized and taken to the shelter.
Erin and I pulled up to this womans double wide and were immediately apprehensive - there were numerous skulls, I think cow & goat... or maybe sheep, I'm not sure, fastened to the cyclone fencing around her property. Against our better judgement, we went inside.
The woman kept bringing dogs out of every room and structure on her property. There had to be somewhere around a dozen of them, if not more.
These dogs had obviously had no socialization at all because any time I went to put my hand towards one so that they could smell me, they would snarl and bite at me. There was one that would sit on my lap, but it was so incredibly frightened that it immediately peed a map of the Hawaiian islands on my leg.
Yes, I wanted to take home as many of these dogs as I could so that they could live in a better environment, but I had a 4 year old at home and there was no way I could risk having a dog that would bite at her.

A couple weeks later I found a listing on Craigslist for a woman in Fremont who had a litter of Pembroke Welsh Corgi/Miniature American Eskimo mix pups that were 4 weeks old and she was starting to line up homes for once they reached 8 weeks.
I truly do not support back yard breeders, but saw this photo and my heart went mushy.

I made the drive down to Fremont and sat with the woman for well over 3 hours, holding each puppy and talking about dogs. I feel she was as responsible as a backyard breeder could possibly be, wanting to know my pet ownership history, training and discipline methods, how often the dog would be left alone, etc.
As I held each of those puppies, my thoughts were "so adorable and sweet, I want this one. No, this one, no this one."
When I picked up the puppy on the far left, she snuggled up in my arms and fell asleep. After about 20 minutes or so she woke up, crawled up my chest, sniffed my mouth, gave me a little kiss, and then curled up on my chest and went back to sleep.
I knew that she was my baby.
I went home that night, with arrangements to come back 4 weeks later to pick up the puppy.
I spent the next 4 weeks deliberating over names. I considered celtic names since she's part Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I considered Inuit and Native American names since shes part American Eskimo. Absolutely nothing seemed to fit.
On the day that I was to pick the puppy up, my cousin Meghan and I were in San Francisco for the morning and walked into a Starbucks. I started considering coffee names since its one of my favorite beverages. None of those worked either.
As Meghan and I were placing our orders at the counter, she picked up a package of madeleine cookies and asked what they tasted like. Then she looked at me and said in an awed whisper, "Madeleine!" I looked at her and confirmed "Maddie!" I then new what my puppys name was.
We went to the womans house in Fremont and picked Maddie up - she remembered me from 4 weeks prior, and the whole car ride home to Sacramento Meghan held her as best as she could while Maddie tried to crawl over to me.
I've gone on many vacations the past couple of years, and whenever I've returned Maddie has greeted me with excitement - jumping up and down at my feet until I pick her up and give her love and kisses.
I went out of town this past weekend and got home incredibly late Sunday night, was exhausted from the long drive back from Redding and went straight to bed.
Monday morning I was running late for work, so I just peeked out the back window to make sure that Maddie had food and water, then I left for work.
A couple of hours later, my grandma called me to let me know that my mom and great-uncle had come over and found Maddie on the back porch and that she seemed to be sick. They also found 4 packages of d-con that Maddie had apparently eaten.
We haven't had d-con here at my house for a number of years. I suspect that someone threw it into my yard, and I have an idea of who may have done it, but unfortunately no proof at all.
My mom took Maddie to the vet for me on Monday where they treated her with a Vitamin K injection and gave us a prescription of Vitamin K pills to give her over the next month.
She came home, and I was taking care of her as best as I could, but late Tuesday night she took a turn for the worse.
Maddie went back to the vets yesterday and they told me that the damage was more extensive than was evident when they originally saw her on Monday. The Dr and his staff said they really couldn't give any prognosis other than to see what happens day by day. She was admitted so that they could keep her hydrated and use more aggressive medications than what I would be able to give her at home.
Last night I stopped at the vets to visit her after work before going to school.
I sat on the floor next to her kennel and leaned in and snuggled against her for a while.
She again sniffed my mouth and gave me a little kiss. Just like the first time I met her.

This morning I got the call from the vets office that Maddie had passed away during the night.
I love you my Maddie Baby Girl.


Shauna said...

Oh, Vanessa. I'm so sorry. That is just awful. Let me know if I can do anything (like maybe send someone to break the kneecaps of whoever was responsible?)

Love you. *hugs*

sheena said...

Oh my god! that is horrible. I can't even find the words to console you. I just don't understand people. I am so sorry and my heart goes to you and Meghan.

Anonymous said...


I'm so sorry for your loss. She sounds like she was a wonderful pet for you.

Someone shot our puppy 5 times with a BB gun when he was just a couple of months old. I'm sure that one day these cruel and horrible people will have to answer for what they've done.

Tanya Kristine said...