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Maggie the Moo, my beloved hairball
 Listening to NPR not too long ago made me think about my dear dog, Maggie Moo.
Some of you may recall a blog entry a while ago about my "empty nest syndrome therapy dog".

We don't know much about Maggie's early life because we got her at the pound when she was already an adult, about six or seven years old. The staff told us she'd been picked up after a tornado tore through West Tennessee. But it's clear that she had some Bad Times before she came to live with us.

The piece on NPR was a long interview with the authors of a new book about the rehabilitation of the Michael Vick dogs. They described some neurotic, sad behavior - the same behavior we have come to expect from Maggie. Fear of loud noises is one symptom. "Pancaking", or flattening herself to the floor when new people come in, is another. She's scared of men, in particular, and does not like it if my husband hugs me. Naturally he caters to her sensitive nature by pretending to bite me on the neck while growling.

We really think Maggie was a misguided attempt to raise a fighting dog. She's a beastly girl, part coon hound and part pit bull and part something with lots and lots of continually shedding dense fur. I think some dumb redneck saw her as a young dog, with her pit bull melon head and her bear claw feet, and thought, "Ima gonna make me some money with this here fightin' dog." She has utter terror of and antagonism toward other dogs, for one thing. Added to that is the vet's opinion that the broken tips of her teeth mean she was probably caged so long that she hurt herself trying to get free.

Even though she's improved a lot (she's no longer terrified when the garbage truck comes by, for example) she still has lots of fears and anxieties. I was reminded of how damaged poor Maggie still is just now when I tried to take her outside and brush the hair machine that is her coat. If I was a big scruffy dog I would love for my human to groom me, but poor Maggie is petrified by anyone holding a dog brush. Even after all this time she just can't tolerate me bringing a brush near her.  She either rolls onto her back in submission or runs away looking embarrassed and upset.

So I didn't brush the perpetual hair generator, instead I gave Herself a hug and a snuggle, followed by a treat. And now I must sweep. And sweep, and sweep, for there are drifts of Maggie fluff festooning the house.

And I confess that in my heart, I sort of hope that reincarnation is real and that Maggie's former owner comes back as a pit bull in the Tennessee back woods.

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I'm getting all teary-eyed reading your post. Maggie is lucky to have found her way to your home. Also makes me want to actually reconnect with you in person. Perhaps (shh, don't say it too loud), perhaps a con next year is in order. I'm too old to still be a con virgin.

She's a very good dog, although sometimes she takes your socks hostage if she feels she's not getting enough attention.

A con would be nice, I've been thinking about going to Boskone there in your neck o' the woods next February.

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