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A Tribute to Maggie

It is with a sad heart that I write this post today. Yesterday, I held my 11 year old Labrador Retriever, Maggie as she drifted off to sleep for the last time. After suffering a brief illness that was going to get progressively worse, I could not watch her suffer any longer. It was a difficult decision to make, but I put her welfare ahead my own desire to keep her a little longer. She was my good friend and the loving mother to Kohl, my 8 year old black lab.

Born on July 23, 1998 Maggie arrived at my home about 8 weeks later, as a gift from my brother-in-law. She was a beautiful puppy, happy and playful.


I already had a Golden Retriever, named Duchess who was eight at the time, and they soon became good friends. Maggie was the smartest dog I’ve ever had. Ask her for something one time, and she’d go and find it. When she was 3 years old, I breed her with a Chocolate Lab from Brookshire, TX. As the weeks passed, Maggie gained weight and the vet confirmed she was expecting. I was so excited and my nieces were too. They would be there to witness the birth of her litter.

I put a baby pool in the kitchen and filled it soft sheets and blankets in hopes Maggie would use it to have the puppies in. Duchess even chimed in on the activites and wanted to be right with Maggie as the time drew close.


On June 15, 2001 Maggie went into labor in the early evening. I called my nieces and they hurried over to spend the night. Maggie gave birth to the first puppy at 8:39pm. Little did I know this process would last through the next morning and she would go on to have 12 puppies. She had 5 boys and 7 girls, all of them black labs (even though she was yellow and the father was a chocolate – as surprise to me at the time.) One little girl did not start breathing like the others did, and we thought we had lost her. I continued to massage her, cleaned her mouth out again, and she finally took her first breath. All twelve puppies survived. Now the challenge was going to be feeding them. I rotated the puppies over the next few weeks 8 times a day to make sure everyone nursed. Maggie only had ten working nipples, and I did not want to see the smaller and weaker ones pushed aside.


As the weeks went by the puppies grew, played and grew some more.


They frequently called out to their Mom to return whenever they were hunger. As they got older, Maggie visited less often as a good Mom should, so they starting eating the trays of food I put down.


Soon they were on solid food and Maggie breathed a sigh of relief. It was sad to see them go, one by one to loving homes, but as fate would have one male was left behind.


After several failed attempts to find him the right home, Kohl, became part of our family.


He has never known a day without his Mom. Today was the first day for him on his own. I’ve walked him twice and find myself petting him more frequently to comfort him. We are going to spend the day together missing her and remembering all of the good times we’ve had together.



I love you too Kohl.


I love you Maggie. I will never forget you. I will be spreading your ashes in the garden where you grew up so that you’ll always be with us in spirit. You were my trusted companion and my friend. I will miss you deeply.




UPDATE: Kohl passed away on September 21, 2013.

39 thoughts on “A Tribute to Maggie”

  1. What a sad but beautiful story. Maggie sounds precious. I’m sorry for your loss. I know you’ll miss her terribly, but you have wonderful memories of her.

  2. My sincere condolences to you. I lost my buddy Bobby last year to a vehicular accident I buried him under his favorite tree. I only had him a short time but the lost was great for me. Give Kohl an extra hug for me.

  3. Hello Jackie,

    I am sorry for your loss. It is so hard to lose such a wonderful companion. You have been through so much together. I can honestly say that I know exactly how you feel.

    You gave her a wonderful life.

  4. Jackie, you have my heartfelt empathy and condolences on your loss. Our beloved Yorkie Nala was only 8-1/2 when we had to let her go after a brief illness. Our entire family was with her and as difficult as it was, I would make the same choice if faced with it again. I know Kohl will help you on your grief journey and I hope our words will also bring comfort and healing.

  5. What a great tribute to your best friends and babies and I must say I got very teary eyed. I was raised with a black lab that kept us supplied with babies growing up. We have pictures of when we’d dress her up and play with her. You couldn’t ask for a better tempered dog and pal! I love Labs. I also grew to love Dachshunds and we’ve had 2 – the last passed away last summer, old age and both are buried up on the to end of our property. We miss having a dog terribly but with all of the fleas, being surrounded by woods it just wasn’t fair to them and nothing would get rid of the pests.

  6. Hi Jackie,
    I am still teary, too. I want to express my sympathy, too. Our pets are part of our families, and when we lose them, we are losing a family member.

    We had a yellow lab, Katie, who died in October of 2002 when she was 14. In December, the people who we had gotten her from called to see if we’d take another lab, who was with a family and it wasn’t working out. I did not want another dog yet, but Larry convinced me to go meet her, and Heidi came home with us. She still has issues, but she wants to be with me when I go outside.

    I’m glad you have Kohl to grieve with.

    Hugs, Sue

  7. I’m sorry for your loss, Jackie. Maggie sounds like a sweet and loving companion for many years.

  8. What a wonderful tribute! Wishing you much comfort and peace in the loss of your special freind! What gorgeous array ofpictures of all the beautiful dogs..you captured a wonderful touching journey here on your post for all of us to see. May you be comforted by the powerful light of Maggie’s beautiflu spirit always!

  9. So sorry for you, Jackie, but it sounds like Maggie had a very happy and fulfilled life. Twelve puppies! Super Mum. Hugs to Kohl. Yan

  10. I’m sorry I missed this post. It is a beautiful tribute to your dear Maggie. I know you will miss her. But happy memories of her you have in abundance.

  11. I’m sorry to hear about your beautiful Maggie. Our pets become family to us and it’s so difficult to lose one.

  12. Oh my! What a very sad post and yet a beautiful tribute to Maggie! This reminded me so much of Marley and Me when he dies at the end who was a lab that color. We just watched it last night and we bawled our eyes out. I’m sure you are just heartbroken. They become a very close member of the family and are completely missed. Dogs know no bounds. They love you no matter what. Hugs to you during your loss.

  13. What a sweet story! I know you miss her. Our Curley had to leave us in 2008. We now have Buffy, whose mother was a black part-lab and Buffy is blonde, the opposite of Maggie’s experience. Kohl is a cutie, too, bless his heart.

  14. Jacqueline D'Elia

    Thank you everyone for your kind words and sympathy. Last night Kohl finally slept through the whole night without any whimpering. We’ve been walking twice a day, and he appears to be calming down now. He even took the lead last night while walking, which is something he never did with his Mom. Maggie always lead the way and Kohl followed. I guess now Kohl is ready to step out and explore the world on his own. The Circle of Life continues.

  15. With tearful eyes, I want to express my sorrow for your loss. Maggie was a beautiful mother and must have been the most wonderful companion to her human. You are lucky to have her living on in the lively Kohl. He has her eyes, you can see her looking out at you through them. Human children can be like that too. Beautifully and soulfully written, Jackie. A big hug and squeeze for you and a good ear scratch for Kohl.

  16. Awww, she seems like such a sweetie! Sorry for your loss, she looks like she is well-loved. I’m amazed that she had all black pups! I had a chocolate lab – my first dog. She had eleven puppies the one time we bred her and 3 were chocolate, 4 were yellow and 4 were black. I was away at college when we passed, but it was sad nonetheless. It’s true – our pets are our family members and it is always hard to lose a family member.

  17. My heartfelt condolence to you. Im sure Maggie had lived a wonderful beautiful life with you and she was a great mum of 12. Its truly a lovely tribute that warms the heart.

  18. Jackie – My heart aches for you. Maggie and all your dogs who have gone before will always be with you in spirit. Making the decision to let her go I know is one of the hardest things to do. I’m sure she is with Brandy and Dutchess right now in Heaven smiling, playing and enjoying a good rawhide.

  19. My Maggie is a black Lab and will be 12 next january.I bought her as a puppy right after I retired and shes been my constant companion since then.I picked her because of the small white streak on her chest,and because she was the queen of her litter,when she barked her 9 brothers and sisters ran.
    She is a lot like her mother,and the sweetest dog I have ever seen,and when the day comes I am going to miss her.
    Odd isnt it.As a human we think we are the center of the universe,but then we discover dogs.

  20. i typed in google. i miss my labrador, found this site. im from the uk and am in my first night without her, she died of a broken heart, her sole mate Ben died 4 weeks ago, he was no shock as his legs were bad,(I made the decision) but she was still like a pup, only 10 and very lively, for no reason she just give up on life, refused to walk or eat, i brought her last night to be looked at, and out of the blue i got the call, ….i miss her so much, am 32 and its the first time in 20 years i have been without a dog, what do i do tonight, walk alone?
    …………..thats what i done, am going to have to get a new lab, but i have had 2 heart aches, its a hard thing …wana talk? ….steve………[email protected]

  21. Hey I also just googled loosing a lab and came across your site. I just lost my yellow lab Starbuck. I got her in middle school, She died at the age of 12 and was doing very well up until a couple weeks ago. I had been planning on going home in two weeks as I’m in graduate school and it greatly saddens me that I didn’t get the chance to really say goodbye. She was my little buddy.

  22. Dear Jackie:

    God decided he was bored and decided he wanted to play with my Palas on January 2, 2009. Not one single day passes without me thinking of her. Today I felt like I needed to pet her andy maybe cry a little on her thought . For what is worth, all of my sympath are with you and being Palas now an experienced guest upstairs, I shall ask her to keep an eye on Maggie until the two of you meet again. I know she will, and I know you will.

  23. Thank you for sharing your story and the beautiful pics of Maggie. I too have a lab named Maggie. She is the best friend/companion I could have asked for. If anything were to happen to her, my whole family would grieve for several days…miss school the whole nine yards. It would be a very quiet day for all. I’m glad to hear you kept one of “her” pups..in a sense she is not gone. 🙂

  24. Condolences. Thank you for sharing your Labrador pics. I, too, have a Labrador named Maggie. She is due Dec. 24th. Your blog reminded me how much I miss and loved my previous labs – they are truly great friends and God’s creatures. I put Laben down, my lovely black lab, after her battle with cancer – she was 13 years old. I thought I could never find a dog good enough to replace her until I found Maggie. If you take your time, you will find one to warm your heart.

  25. Condolences. even my room mate and I are getting our black lab tomo and we have also decided to keep his name KOHL. we promise you that we will take extra good care of him 🙂

  26. I lost my Black Labrador on November 1,2009. My dog was 11 years of age when cancer took him from me. His name was Thurman, and he was a beautiful, extra smart, and loving friend to me, and my family. Now, I do not cry very often, but the loss of Thurman hit me in my soul. The pain of the loss has subsided, but I will never forget him, and how much he loved me, and how truly I loved him. Thurman was Labrador in every sense of the word. He loved to hunt, play, and entertain us….a true clown….but he knew it. Anyhow, I can admit that I shed a few tears when I think of him, but I will eventually get another dog, and Yesssssssssssss……it will be another Labrador Retriever. The best dog God ever made……Period.

  27. Is there anything better than the total love of a trusted companion? I still grieve for my two labs that i had before and during raising my family. I planted a fruit tree where I buried lioness my female lab, I remodeled my backyard and did all kinds of extra work to keep the tree right where it is . My two oldest boys are in college and i still think about the dogs often. I was with lioness as she took her last breath. I got another lab, a chocolate last year….well my son talked me into letting him get a lab. after he got jilted from a year long romance. He spent a lot of time with montey as a pup and it shows, he is a great choclate. My son had to go off to college. Guess who has montey now? Well im addicted again….i love this breed and im again running, going to the beach and doing all the things I did in my early 20’s with my new companion. You just cant help but love these dogs…they are all unique in their own special way. Be happy you gave your dog the best life she could have possibly had.

  28. It has been almost a year since I posted my note on this site. I had lost my Black Labrador to cancer, and was still grief stricken at that time. I wanted to apologize for not recognizing that this site was for your dog Maggie and not my Thurman. I was then, and am now, sorry for your loss, but I was too busy thinking of my own loss at that time. I want to take this time now to tell you that your dog story was wonderful, and I am sure you will always miss her terribly. I want to end this story on an upbeat note, and tell you that I am the proud owner of a new dog, and Yes, he is another Labrador Retriever…….The best dog God ever created!

    1. Jacqueline D'Elia

      Thank you for the kind words and follow up. I wish you and your New Lab a long and happy future together. 🙂

      1. What can i say ? all the words for your lab are echoed by all the responses from anyone that comes in contact with the most beautiful , gracious , naughty, fun loving , loyal , loving , soulful , cheeky creature that in my humble view ,ever graced this planet ! i lost a lab called honey at 15 months in tragic circumstances (avoidable) and that was 2 and a half years ago . it was when i typed in : how do i get over the loss of her that this site came up ( im glad to say ) . i have since had two more : Maisy and Baily , they are bot almost 3 and from different litters , they are of the same mold as honey and are just everything to me . even though theyre very young , i have dreadful worries of when they go ! i hope we go at the same time ( wishful thinking as i dont trust anyone with them , theyre the same as my children , thats how strong the feelings they evoke in you . my thread isnt just to jacqueline but to all of you who have had the most sad loss of a lab or any dog for that matter as theyre all loyal friends . xxx to all . pip

  29. Maggie was so beautiful. So is Kohl. I hope you were able to help Kohl with the loss of his mother as well as faithful pack member. It must have been a comfort having him all those years, to be there for you, during the loss of Maggie. Maybe in some quiet way, that was God’s way of taking care of your heart, to not be able to find kohl a home. He knew you would need him.

    I too have a “Maggie”. Because I love her so much, I too would like to share about her. I had a friend who lost her husband. At the time, she had 2 dogs, 1 cat and 2 ferrots. One morning, I went to pick my friend up. You see, we had to carpool because it was the only way I could get my friend to go to work. I had to show up every morning, get her up and we’d drive together. This particular morning, I walked into her home as usual and I was stopped by this cute little golden ball of fur. I quickly walked past her, in the darkness of the house (my friend rarely came out of her room after her husband died), and into her bedroom. I mentioned, “you know you have another animal?” She said that her son had brought her home from Dairy Queen because one of the girls told him if he took her home, he’d get free ice cream for a year. So, now she had another animal. Hmm, she’s cute was my comment. That afternoon, when I brought my friend home, I walked in for a moment. Looked down at the new pup and gently picked her up. She’s so cute and so soft I said. I should take her home and babysit her for you. As soon as I brought the pup to my face, I saw she was riddled with fleas and said, “well, maybe not”. My friend pushed her back toward me and said, no, it’s ok, I have shampoo. Reluctant to take her I said, well I don’t have food. Again, my friend remarked, that’s ok, I have that too. She put some in a baggy and off I went with a flea riddled pup, bottle of shampoo and baggy of food.

    As soon as I got home, we washed her. The kids were in love! I just thought she was cute and soft. My 8 yr old called my friend and asked if we could keep her and now, almost 7 years later, she has never gone back. My youngest dd said her name was “Maddie” all the while we kept calling her “Maggie”.

    Maggie has been with me through such depths of sadness that I can’t even describe. She loved me when I hated the world and could barely look at her, or touch her, let alone had the energy to feed her. She has always been by my side. I love her dearly. It’s amazing how Maggie can be the best and most loyal friend, yet not say a word. She’s had no training by a professional and knows how to come, stay, sit, down, snack and all her pack members names. She hates the pool but loves the river and loses her mind when her pack is swimming at the river that she runs into the water to be with us. She talks in a weird way when we drive up and get out of our car to welcome us, she barks at strangers but makes friends very quickly. She has no enemies. She always comes back when she goes packing with the neighborhood dogs, she hates firecrackers and thunder/lightening and will find room on my bed even though she has no room when she’s scared. She cries with excitement when the kids now 15, 14 and 11 go to the bus stop and she can’t go with them.

    I can only imagine the pain you felt when you lost YOUR Maggie. I cry at the thought of MY Maggie leaving me. She is the one member aside from my children and husband that I can not bear to lose, but I know the day will come, and even that will make me sob on any given day, just thinking about it. I was never an animal lover. I’m 38. She’s my first real pet. I proudly call her “Maggie”, not dog. She’s part of our family and without her, my family would stand still. ((hug))

    1. Jacqueline D'Elia

      What a lovely story and thank you for taking the time to share it. Kohl is doing well after four months of grieving. He howled outside during the day, for months on end. A neighbor who came over to complain, left in tears when she heard why he was howling. Since then, he has recovered and is happy again. He even made friends with the Harley the cat… something I never thought would happen.

  30. Glad to hear he recovered. Sounds like you have done some healing yourself. It’s amazing how animals sometimes bond in the strangest of ways. Since we’ve had Maggie, we have had a baby mockingbird and baby quail in home during rehabilitation. When we let the quail out, not once did she appear to want to eat it. She sniffed it out and just followed it. We have at “least” 20 dogs in our neighborhood in the country. Maggie gets along with them all. They just pack around the neighborhood, hanging out at one house one day and another’s house the next. The homeowners think nothing of it and we all have a respect for each others animals.

  31. I lost my beloved Lab on Monday to cancer. I am so sad. It helped to read your story. So quiet here.

  32. Hi Jackie,

    I loved your story. It made me cry!!!! I also had a beautiful yellow lab named Maggie. She would have been 11 on July 30th. It has been four months now since she has been gone. I am 49 years old and she was my first Pet as a married adult. I am struggling so much with so much sadness. I miss her so much. I have been in bad shape since that terrible day March 19th. It was sudden, she had a mass on her spleen that burst. Surgery was an option but it wasn’t guaranteed. We were told given her age most likely it was cancer. Seeing our names, dog type, and Birth month for our babies the same I had to contact you. I have no other pets. Maggie was everything to me and of course my husband and my two girls as well. I have been having a real difficult time. I feel my life will never be the same.
    Thank you for sharing your story,

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