Last night on Facebook I learned that our former neighbors and good friends Denise and Martin had to say farewell to their beloved Black Lab, Madi. It has been a very long time since we have seen them and much has changed in all our lives, but Denise, who was such a very good friend to me, especially during the early days of my anxiety, has always held a special place in my heart and is never far from my thoughts.
Madi was Duncan's first friend. I'd been terribly nervous about socializing him as a puppy and it wasn't until we built our house and moved to Stapleton, befriending Denise and Martin, that his socialization really began. I didn't have much say in it actually. Denise is one of those magnificent people with a vibrant, take-no-prisoners spirit, and it was her confidence and good nature that allowed me to relax and let Duncan do what he was so supposed to do, which, apparently, meant racing tight circles around Denise's small front yard, chasing after and wrestling with Madi, who was patient and kind to him. She taught him everything he needed to know, and even took him swimming for the first time, and even after we moved all I had to do was say her name to send him, tail wagging, to the front door where he waited to be taken for a visit.
When I learned of Madi's journey across the Rainbow Bridge last night I went to Dunc, who was laying on the edge of the couch. I leaned down and whispered softly in his ear, "Roo, I'm sorry, but Madi is gone. She's no longer with us but maybe tonight on our walk we can watch for the new star in the sky where she is shining down on us." He listened to me, dropped his chin down low between his paws and sighed heavily, which made me tear up. A few minutes later he climbed down off the couch and ambled to his toy box where he dug through the contents until he found the toy he and Madi played with on their last adventure together, jumping in and out of the pool while Denise and I laughed and encouraged him to chase after the geese. It has been a long time since they have played together but I know he understood what had happened and needed time to grieve her loss in whatever way dogs do. We cuddled a long time, touching noses and crying, his paw resting atop mine.
We miss you, Denise. We miss Martin and Avery, too. And we will miss Madi. I am sorry for your loss but so thankful for the hours she spent with Duncan and the way their friendship cultivated our own.