Here are just a few highlights and pictures from her long and full life:
She rafted and swam the rapids on the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers and swam across Lake Parlin in Maine. She swam in most every pond, creek and beach in Connecticut. She swam in the Gulf of Mexico off Palm Island, Florida. She swam in the Atlantic Ocean off of eastern Long Island, New York. A few weeks ago, she swam for the last time in Wildhorse Creek in Missouri.
She had one great true love.
She never complained and rarely barked.
She loved romping through the woods. The ultimate retriever, you could show her a rock then cover her eyes and throw it as hard as you could out into the woods and she would come back with the same rock.
She was at our side when we got married. She was always right at our side. She’s been to bars, summer camp, church, classrooms, frozen lakes and sandy beaches. She was with me at the office on my last day of my first real job.
Maddie was the greatest dog.
Maddie was one of only two puppies born to Molly, a fine breed of Golden Retriever in a small town in the northeast kingdom of Vermont. I worked for a time for the owners on the farm where she was born and was graciously offered one of these dogs for free when they came of age. When 8 weeks came to pass I waited for them to release the pups to make my pick. When they let the pair out of the pen I was sitting off in the distance, and she came to me in a full sprint. Fell into my lap and never left my side. She had picked me. I was asked to consider the other pup as it was stouter and had the qualities of a superior Golden; I never gave it a second thought. I was right. She was the best dog I’ve ever known. She was a tough, hardy dog that never backed down when threatened by another dog, but never picked a fight. I never once worried about her with my kids. She would patiently endure their harassment and then follow them with concern when they would go outside. I was blessed to have her in my life for all these 15 years and I will never forget her. Rest in peace Maddie.