No need to offer condolences, she died a year and a half ago. There was no funeral, although there should be, at least for Golden Retrievers.
Maggie tried to be a good dog, she really did, but her tail got the best of her. A red-gold blur whipping back and forth, she'd bring me a present, her heaviest toy, a plastic-composite bone dense as stone. She'd drop it right on my bare foot. In her world, weight meant value, as with gold, no matter a broken toe.
Over my mother's protests, she'd wipe her nose on the carpet until it made her sneeze, and then she'd have to wipe it again to rid it of dog-snot. Then again a sneeze, and again a "Stop it," and again a wipe, and again a sneeze. Dogs are the best. She taught me how to defy my parents and that there's a sustainable alternative to facial tissue.
When in need of anything, she'd nudge my elbow with her snout.
"Hey, hey, hey," she said. If not acknowledged, the nudges became blows.
She was an inside dog, but she'd always try to run out the door, intoxicated by the smells of the world -- grass and shit and deer. Oh, how she hated deer. They offended her. How dare these short-tailed herbivores infringe on her turf. I will bite them, she thought, I will bite them good. I will bite them on their nose, I will bite them on their hooves. They'll taste so much better than Iams. They'll have a better chew.
She loved me unconditionally. I miss her tail, the belly rubs, her joy, our joy. I miss the gross licking and having to wash my hands and my face. I miss the fights, when she wouldn't go to her room after shredding a toilet paper roll. She would growl and snap and I would tackle her and bite her on the scruff of the neck. That was news, I suppose.
I miss the mornings. She'd leap into my bed at seven and I'd say, "Get the fuck out of here," and shove her the fuck off the bed. Fucking dog. Then we'd share a banana for breakfast, and she would catch her half unless I threw it really high.
I taught her to sit. She taught me more.