On a beautiful Spring day in April of 1998, down an old country road outside of Athens, GA, we began our lifelong love for our darling Madison. She was the smallest and cutest puppy in the litter, only 1.7 lbs. Immediately, we knew she was the one. Her calm disposition and little crooked tail won over our hearts at first sight. Our dreams came true that day, and for 16 and a half years, we were blessed to have an angel among us. She made two college kids into a family.
She was a spunky puppy. She had a knack for tearing through an old screen door and finding her way to the Waffle House in Athens. Her birthday parties at Sandy Creek dog park were over the top. She loved to walk the UGA campus. When she ran across the quad, her beagle ears flapped in the wind. It took everything we had to catch her when she was off the leash! Wow, was she fast!
The spunky puppy grew into a wise, kind soul. She loved to snuggle in the bed by our feet. She never met a cookie, or treat, or morsel of food that she didn’t love. She was a happy girl. She trusted everyone and won over the hearts of all she met. She was welcomed in all homes (and kitchens), and treated as an honored guest, favorite grandchild, and a true member of our family everywhere she went. Where we went, so did Madison. She loved car rides to visit family, and in recent years, became an avid camper. She was at one with nature, relaxing on her bed amidst the trees in the campgrounds.
Madison has always been our calming force. She naturally brought serenity to our home. Life brought her many health challenges, but she faced each one with calm, graceful dignity. Madison was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when she was 4 years old, requiring daily lifelong medicine. She had to have half of her bladder removed a year later. At the age of 6 she was diagnosed with cancer in her ear, requiring her entire left ear canal and inner ear to be removed. Two years later she had a malignant tumor on her leg, soon followed by another on her side. Each time the cancer was surgically removed and Madison pushed through like a trooper, as if never to miss a beat. She was then diagnosed with a melanoma in her mouth during a routine cleaning. Miraculously, Madison overcame this challenge as well.
In August of 2012, two more masses were identified on Madison’s liver and spleen with poor prospects for treatment or recovery. A tough decision was made to not intervene, but rather to provide her with the best love and care we could for the remainder of her time with us. We were prepared to only have her with us for a few months at best. Yet more than two years would pass and our sweet girl proved once again that she was a miracle on earth with an unsurpassed will to live. We never wanted her to go, and we felt like she never wanted to leave us. Perhaps she knew there was something special coming into our lives.
In September 2013 Madison became a big sister to our daughter, Emerson. Despite her age and health condition, Madison showed the utmost kindness, patience, and love to our daughter. They quickly became great companions. The most precious sight was to see Emerson welcomed by Madison to crawl in and join her in her great big dog bed. Madison endured tail pulls, ear grabs, and unpredictable baby roughness with grace. She was the best big sister a baby could ask for.
Our girls had one precious and blessed year together that we will always treasure. On September 23, 2014, we knew it was time to let our angel rest in Heaven. She was peaceful and embraced in our love as we returned her to the eternal care of God on that beautiful first day of Fall.
Madison was a true friend, forever patient, endlessly kind, and courageous. We will forever strive to live our lives as she did.
We will miss our precious baby girl all the days of our lives with faith that we will be reunited. She was truly one of a kind and has a piece of our hearts with her in heaven.
We miss you. We love you. We will always love you, Miss Maddy Bear.
A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam
And for a brief moment its glory
and beauty belong to our world
But then it flies again
And though we wish it could have stayed…
We feel lucky to have seen it.