I was 8 years old. Our family lived in a rented farm house on about 50 acres of land at the intersection of Donges Bay and River Road in rural Wisconsin.
At that time it was no longer an operating farm, but it held the lure of open spaces, a pristine river nearby, and countless daily adventures for a young boy. With my scarred face and little self confidence, I tended to shy away from people and more toward books, birds, and animals; specifically, our Springer Spaniel, Maggie.
The way I picture it now, Maggie was never in-doors, always outdoors. Her favorite pastime was rousting pheasants up from the cornstalks in the field adjacent to our house. My father would sit on the porch waiting with his .22 caliber rifle trying to bring down the evening meal.
I wish I could remember more of my actual experience with Maggie, but I have to be honest; one of the few experiences I do recallis watching her sprint from the yard to the road attempting to ambush a car.
I can’t recall much beyond that until the day we found her lying curled up in the window well in the front of the house with bloodied hindquarters. We will never know for sure, but we assumed she had been hit by a car. Naturally, we wanted to gather her up, rescue her, get her some medical attention, but, sadly, any attempt to move her triggered a fierce snarl. She was having none of it.
The memory remains vivid in my mind. The look in Maggie’s eyes immediately following that snarl. Her eyes were wide and a brilliant brown, almost pleading; telling us to leave her in peace.
In 2008, with the family business having been recently sold, and my wife and I mostly retired, I had the opportunity to do something special for my wife’s August Birthday. I found Maggie on the internet.
Yes, off course, she was every bit as much for me as for Joan. This nearly all black miniature Schnauzer puppy, about the size of a 12 oz. soft drink can, was irresistible.
And here again, were the brilliant brown, opaque eyes this time saying “looking for a good home”.
She found one.
I remember Maggie. I was 5 or 6yo. I have recently thought of her in the window well. Strange.