Miss Maggie is Maggie Antoinette Suzanne Grau Medley (Gredley); our dog. Maggie is almost 14 now; a puppy disguised as an elderly dog. But nowadays she wears her disguise more and more. Right now she appears very elderly, very asleep, with her nose very inches from the rollers of my office chair. She loves to be close to the action.
We met Maggie in a manner most curious.
In August 1996 I had serious back pain and had surgery that required an overnight hospital stay. Oddly, that same day Julie had serious eye surgery that required her to stay overnight too. My surgery was early in the day and by the afternoon I was starting to feel friskier. But Julie’s surgery was delayed to late afternoon and she did not go to the Recovery room until late evening. I wanted to call her when she came to, which meant that I had to stay up beyond my normal bedtime. Except I was in bed, of course.
To stay awake I watched the late night news and it so happened that this was the evening that the Weatherman had a one-minute spot in which he plugged a hard-to-place dog for adoption. Lo! and behold! Up on the TV screen came “Antoinette” an “English Sheep Dog” available for adoption at a SPCA shelter north of San Francisco. I recognized her right away as a Bearded Collie.
The first words that Julie heard from me on the phone when she came to in Recovery was “I found our dog!” . You see: we had already decided that we wanted a female dog, she would be a Beardie and her name would be Maggie. We had fenced in a chunk of our property already for our yet-t0-be-discovered-dog.
I called the Humane Society every day to pester them with our interest in Antoinette. But we could not see her for a few days because we were recovering. But by the weekend we drove to Novato to see the dog, albeit with me uncomfortable in back swaddlings and Julie with a huge patch on her eye.
She was a very popular dog who normally lived in a childrens play pen in the Lobby: she was the offiical Greeter. She had had a newspaper article written about her – she was so friendly. But at 11 months old she was too enthusiatic for the young children in the two families that had taken her in. Oddly: we were introduced to her while she was in a cage and she seemed depressed and spiritless. But when we walked her outside she leaped and gamboled trying to play with her leash and my heart melted. I had never had a dog before, although once in my life I had been in love with the dog of a woman I had loved.
We took her- and were just signing the papers when a young couple came to see her as well. They were so disappointed – as we would have been.
“Maggie” she was instantly. She was not then, nor ever since, an “Antoinette” or “Suzanne”, her previous names. She is just not an elegant lady dog – she is more a tomboy. She lay on the back seat of the car and as ahs turned out to be her way forever more, showed her spirit by independently refusing to pee when we let her out at the Presidio Park.
We have never stopped loving her independece and her strangenesses; her brilliance; her unique way of mumbling and gossiping to herself; her broad full-toothed smile; and her boundeless energy.
Ever since we met Miss Maggie , we have felt lucky that I once had to stay awake and watch the Late Night Weather report….