maggie & nelli

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kathy and a dog named maggie

From a young age, I always had a love for animals – dogs in particular wagged their way into my heart at an early age. I grew up with our family dog, Wendy, from the time I was eight to age 20, so I knew I would always have a canine companion in my life.

So soon after Tom and I married, we adopted Maggie; a cross breed of dalmation/golden retriever. And she was the light of our lives, with boundless energy that seemed to be bigger than life itself.  As she sprinted through our lives — uprooting every houseplant, eating our couch, flying high for Frisbees, swimming for hours whenever she could, and slithering into our bed sneaking those sloppy, wet dog kisses — we knew we had the greatest dog ever.

 But after 14 years of pure canine love, we had to come to terms with Maggie’s failing health due to arthritis.  As much as we didn’t want to hear it, Maggie was telling us it was time for us to let her go; to be brave and make the ultimate decision for her.  She had lived a full and happy life with us, but it was time for her to move on with the grace and dignity we were to give her as one last gift.   It was in her eyes – she was ready.

 

kuhlstudios-42-300remembering maggie

 

Most of us don’t have funerals for dogs. So, when Maggie passed away, we realized there were so few accepted ways to express our grief. And after receiving her ashes back, I still needed something of comfort. So, I started lighting a candle next to her photo and ashes every night.

 And it seems to soothe something inside.

 

 

 

along came nelli

nelli_squareAs the months passed, we sat in our “empty” house wondering if we could ever love another dog. But time passed, and while we knew we would always miss Maggie, our hearts began to feel ready for another canine adventure.  And we knew Maggie would want us to pass along our love to another deserving dog.

So along came Nelli, a 2-year old lab from Homeward Bound Rescue Organization of Minnesota.

It has been through Nelli that we realized Maggie gave us many gifts —teaching us the true meaning of unconditional love and the importance of giving it, not just once, but throughout your life.

So Maggie’s Light candles are Nelli’s way of honoring Maggie – the dog who taught Tom and I how to love beyond ourselves, understand what is really important, and how to enjoy the simple pleasures of rolling in the grass and taking long walks through the woods. 

Maggie’s Light candles were created to honor the dog that taught us how to love.

And, more importantly, how to love again.