In her younger years, Maia would wake me up before dawn with the clicking of her pacing wolf dog nails on the hardware floor and a cold nose poking my face repeatively until I arose. Then her and Stormy, my Aussie, would make play growling noises and run through the house wrestling with their toys until I took them on their two hour morning hike. To some extent this energetic display repeated itself at nightfall. For a wolf dog, sunrise and sunset are instinctually active. Maia could clear any stonewall or 5 foot barbed wired fence in single leap. She chased deer for miles and knew when any dog entered a four-block radius of our home. She has been my greatest teacher on remaining calm in chaos as well as learning about animal behavior. Over the years I watched her transform from an aggressive abused wolf dog to one of acute awareness and compassion for others. Training, helping, and leaning to live with Maia (more wolf than dog) have honestly been my greatest accomplishments. She is now 14 years old and a five-year cancer survivor. She sleeps until I am up and dressed. She can see only two feet in front her, hear only clapping, and walk very short distances before her hind legs get entwined and she collapses. I often find holding her self up with her front end while her hind end stretches out in front of her in yoga poses I could never find myself in. I tried to put her in a wagon to walk. She humored me and rode peacefully half way around the block then got too embarrassed and insisted she walk the rest of the way herself. She didn’t care that the top of her hind paws dragged upside down, bled the whole way. Stormy likes wagon rides and will jump in just for fun. Maia still wants to walk – 20min on grass is the best. She amazes me with her ability to pull herself around and jump and pivot off the bed with her front end. She’s lost over 25lbs of muscle but went up a harness size because her front shoulders are so bulky with strength. Though, they are slowly going too. She has a burning in her stomach when she eats and blisters on her mouth from gum disease. She poops when she walks, but she is still more beautiful and has more desire to live than anydog I have ever known. I ask her, “Maia, what is good about getting old?”
Maia says, “As the years go by and my senses go I realize what it is like to be a domesticated dog and I realize why I had so many problems before. There were to many stimuli for me to process. I realize that I have you to trust, to keep me safe, and to keep me alive. I have learned to sleep more peacefully and let people and animals walk by our territory. I have learned I have been hard to handle, but I am easier now. Getting old teaches me to let go of the things that worry me because it takes too much energy out of me. I have learned that there are many people that love me and fight for the welfare of animals. Mostly what I love about being old is that I get to be with you and our other animals for a longer time. I don’t want to die, because everyday I learn to love you all even more. When you help me up after I have fallen I realize that you have been doing that for me all my life. You have always been there for me when I needed your help. Having to walk slow with little mobility and sight as made me love the cats more because they are always there guiding my way. If I forget where I am, they will instantly rub up against me and tell me. I also realize how Stormy has been my protector. Getting old has taught me to appreciate our family more.”
7 thoughts on “My Sweet Maia”
Oh my Laura, through tears I’m again amazed at the spirit of animals. What a gift your Maia has been and what a blessing you and the pack has been/is to her. It is miraculous to share your life with such a being!
I have tears in my eyes!
Tell Maia I think she is wonderful and that I love to read everything she has to say!
This is a real tear jerker of astory. What a beautiful family you have. I cant
imagine how hard it must be for you to see the deterioration of this magnificent
animal. Makes me appreciate you even more. LaDelle
Dearest Maia, Laura, Stormy and Family
thank you for sharing your lives and love with all of us including the hard parts. Love is stronger than strength, more powerful than power, and sweeter than sunshine on flowers!
Thank you Maia for your loving thoughts you’ve shared with us I am so glad I have been lucky enough to meet you, you make me feel good. I love looking in your eyes and face and your fur is soo beautiful. Love you Maia, lots of hugs and smoochies.
Laura, you are such a good mom to Maia, hearing what is happening to her reminds me of Daisy. She sometimes buckles under in the hind end and is still working on her balance. She was very patient to walk with her new dog friend, a rambunctious 8 month old Pit Bull, Norton. Give my love to dear Maia.
Tear jerker!! Bless Maia and her strength and wisdom. I pray that her body allows her to continue the best quality of life that she can be comfortable with. I am so amazed each day with every animal that I encounter and they have so much to give us and teach us as they allow us to share in their journey and walk with us in ours. love you all!