As I reflect, nothing could have prepared me for the intensity of grief I feel after losing my sweet Maggie a few weeks ago. I got Maggie as a kitten, just over 16 years ago, and never did I think that this shy little girl with a funny leg and beautiful green eyes would change my life in the way that she did, but over the years she became my best friend, my cheerleader, my support system, my shoulder to cry on, my sleeping buddy, my welcome home greeter, my shadow, my family, my baby, and my soulmate. She was with me through all heartbreaks, career moves, relocations, deaths, losses, successes, mistakes, failures, and moments of joy. During the pandemic, Maggie was my only source of ‘in-person” contact for what felt like years but was really just a few months. Maggie was the constant presence in every moment of my adult life. She taught me how to love and be loved unconditionally and that regardless of what I do or don’t do, I am deserving of that love. During times of great despair, Maggie gave me purpose. No matter what, I was always more than enough for her, and no words will ever be able to convey the depth of gratitude I owe to her. I may have rescued her, but the truth is she saved me, many times.

Maggie was always a fighter. I got her at Mason County Animal Control in Ludington, MI. There were two kittens, one that was spunky and playful and another that was very shy and had an angular deformity in her front leg that caused her to walk on her entire bottom portion of her leg versus just her paw. I asked the worker if anyone had interest in them and they said that the “normal” one did have some potential adopters and they were not worried about her finding a home but they didn’t know about the one with the “funny leg”. Well, that “funny-legged” girl came home with me that day. Her shyness quickly melted away and she became my Maggie. She was extremely loving and cuddly with me, but that wasn’t always the case with everyone else. I think it was because she wanted to give me every ounce of love she had to give, She was a relatively healthy girl throughout her life, but in September 2021 she started getting sick and what started off as pancreatitis and suspected IBD, eventually progressed into cancer in January. She battled her disease bravely and with the help of Dr. Skope and the oncology team at VCA Alameda East, she defied logic and science and we were able to have four more happy months together. I would have done anything for her, but eventually the only thing I had left to do was allow her to pass without pain and with dignity. I am so grateful to the team and the Center for Animal Wellness, for providing her care for several years and providing guidance and support to me. Thank you to the oncology team at VCA Alameda East for giving us the gift of more time together and for the ER/front desk staff for helping me as well throughout her cancer battle. Additionally, although it was the hardest thing I have ever experienced, the end-of-life team at Caring Pathways allowed me to help Maggie transition peacefully and without pain in our backyard in the sun surrounded with her favorite toys and on my lap (her favorite place) all while I told her how much I love her. It was equally devastating and beautiful, but it was what Maggie deserved. Lastly, I am forever thankful that my boss allowed me to work from home full-time for so long so that I could be with Maggie until the end.

To some, animals are just pets that come in and out of our lives, but Maggie was never my pet, she was and is my family, my child, my soul and I mourn her death and honor her life as such. Rest peacefully Sweet Baby Mags, until we meet again. Momma loves you, always.