Maddie was born in Madison, Wisconsin, hence, the name. Daughter Diane, a student at UW at the time, fell in love with the tiny pointy Pomeranian face at a farmers’ market day , and pretty soon, the rest of us did, as well. That was 16 1/2 years ago and she’s still a little beauty with a somewhat regal air. I suspect she knows she’s a beauty. Whether walking beside her mama, or peeking out of the carrier in which she’s enjoyed many an art fair and hike, and garnered many compliments, or riding quietly in her little “house”, Maddie draws folks.
In her 161/2 years, Madison has been ‘in residence’ in her birthplace, in Chicago ( Evanston, Lake Forest), Cleveland, Hartford and periodically in various temporary locations in Kentucky. For a Midwestern/East coast dog, she still has the sense that Kentucky is ‘home’, enough so that she gets excited when her mama’s car turns onto my street. Lady Madison is “In Residence” in her Kentucky home because her family has relocated to HongKong for three years. Monday, as she saw the suitcases filling, Maddie jumped into her little black traveling ‘house ‘ and waited. She was pretty sure that wherever her peeps were going, she would be going, too.
The international carriers, however, aren’t really equipped for a lady of Madison’s stage in life. A trip to Hong Kong involves a crate in the belly of a big jet, not any way for royalty to travel.
So Maddie is “in residence” in Kentucky.
If I could be in her doggie brain and heart for just a minute, I’d know if my suppositions are correct. From my outside vantage point, here’s how it looks to me.
So we’re in Kentucky. That’s OK. This is a familiar house. My peeps call it ‘coming home.’ I like the tile floors. I have my favorite spots . I especially like to lie down in a small space between that white porcelain thing that’s called a ‘throne’ and the wall. It is cozy and safe. I know where my bowls are, and the door to go out. I like porch time with some peeps. It’s an ok place.
But some things seem a little different,
- My peeps packed their suitcases to go somewhere I got in my house all ready to go. But they went, and I’m still here.
- My peeps have been gone a long time, I think, although I’m not very good with the thing humans call time.
- I wonder if Gamma and PooPoo understand what I am saying to them. Sometimes I look at the door where my peep lives when we’re in this house and I bark and bark and bark. She doesn’t answer and they think I want to go outside.
- About going outside. We’re not doing so well, I think.
- Gamma Peep takes me on walks, and takes me with her when she goes to the porch or works in the basement. Sometimes she takes me in the car, too, and introduces me to some of her peeps. They must be good peeps; when they talk they sound nice, except they say that I am ‘cute.’ Excuse me. I am nearly 105 years old in people years. That is too old to be ‘cute.’
- We went to see Miss Pam. She is a really nice lady who gives me a bath, and cuts my hair and toenails. She also put a pretty orange flower on my collar. When Miss Pam is giving me a bath, it is so so so lovely I almost fall asleep!
- We also went to Dr. Molly. She is pretty and nice. But I would rather go to Miss Pam’s than Dr. Molly’s.
Perhaps it’s not what’s in her head and heart at all. I’m only a peep, and not her main peep. Just a grand-peep stand in.
Lady Madison , in the glory of her nearly 105 years does have her way of letting these grand peeps know that transitions are dog-gone hard. They take time. And letting go of the old is step one in that transition. Transitions can bring an out-of-control feeling, as if someone else is making decisions which impact my life. I’m projecting again- but when Maddie, who generally loves a walk, digs her heels in and refuses the walk to the mailbox, or stands outside the front door with a what-in-the-world-are-we-doing-out-here look and then makes a puddle inside, I’m thinking that it’s doggie lingo for I’ll show you there is something I can control!
Maybe because she’s small, regardless of her years, that sometimes it a bit like having a baby in the house. When she’s napping, I’m a little extra careful of noises ( though, in truth, the hearing is not so good these days, either,). And although her mom assures me she will always circle around to the back door, the day she ran off through the woods behind the house, I was more than a little anxious, and relieved when she was standing outside the kitchen door, waiting.
And, of course, the thing that reminds me the most of the days when my children were babies: the house is quiet. Too quiet. I go to her favorite napping spot, and see the red-gold fur peeping at me. I wait just a minute. And then, to be absolutely sure, I place my hand ever so gently on her chest. Just to be sure.