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Maggie

"You can't hold a dog like that and then not keep her," said Trevett, my oldest brother. It was early November of 2011, and I was intimately but not inappropriately spooning Maggie May on the floor of my apartment in Miracle Mile. Trevett was out from New York to visit me, and having raised pit bulls and mastiffs throughout his life could spot a dog and her human from a mile away.

I had been fostering Maggie since mid-October of 2011, and I'm going to put this as honestly as I can: there may be no story in nature more beautiful, iconic and special to me than that of a boy and his dog. It has been retold countless times in popular culture (watch "Terminator 2" again - that's a story about a boy and his "dog"), and growing up on a twenty-five acre farm in upstate New York it's one I've lived and experienced many times.

When I relocated to Los Angeles to pursue acting, I left behind Foxy - a one hundred ten pound half mastiff/half pit bull brindle beauty queen, whom I loved and bonded with deeply. I have missed that dog almost as much as I have missed my family - and let's be honest, often times more than I have missed my family. And indeed, as I lay on the floor with my body against Maggie's, I said to Trevett, "but I have a dog - I have Foxy. I can't adopt another dog while she's still alive, it wouldn't be right."

Trevett looked at me with an expression of classic big brother to little brother nuance and said, "but Foxy is taken care of. She's been sleeping with Mom for five years, she's nine years old, and she's happy."

He pointed to Maggie. "This dog needs you." And he was right - and I understood that then, but I didn't know it yet.

Three weeks later, still fostering Maggie, I left her with free reign of the apartment one night when I went out late to meet some friends for pre-Thanksgiving drinks. Being up in the hills, I had no cell phone service and was alarmed to discover a voicemail from Katie (CEO and Founder) of Angel City Pit Bulls at around 2am.

Maggie had escaped my apartment. She was okay, neighbors had discovered her on the street where I live, called the number for Angel City Pit Bulls on her tags, and Katie had her safely in her own home. After I spoke to Katie in a fit of not so subtle guilt, I went home, sat down on my couch and called a friend and cried.

Like a little boy who almost lost his best friend in the world, I cried imagining how close my Maggie had come to being lost forever - either to me or to the world. And how she must have been wondering where I was and if I was okay, as in that moment I wondered if she was okay. Of course, I knew she was more than okay - Maggie loves Katie, as do all the puppies - but that wasn't the point. The point was that she wasn't with me and I wasn't with her. And finally I knew what Trevett had really meant when he said, "this dog needs you."

I needed this dog.

It was mid-December when I officially adopted Maggie. I cooked her a steak that night. I don't mind sharing with anyone who reads this that I have had personal struggles with anxiety and depression throughout my life. Anyone who knows her will tell you, "so has Maggie." Her wide-eyed "worried face," as a loving friend compassionately referred to it, is maybe something I saw myself in. I learned a lot about myself in watching Maggie - she taught me - because the qualities in her personality that I adore I also began to notice in myself.

She is sometimes afraid but full of life and love. She loves people, particularly ladies. She likes to play, and likes to eat and exercise. And so, if a dog can teach me about the best in myself, that I am capable of more depth of compassion than I previously knew, and all I have to do in return is give her my love and some food… I'm the lucky one.

I don't know that I could put it any better than I did one day when on the phone with my mother discussing Foxy - whom, of course, I still love so much - and my recent adoption of Maggie.

"Maggie has just made my life… warmer."

Do yourself a favor. Warm your life up. Adopt a pit bull, adopt any dog - and he or she will love you forever.


Hartley

Comments

What a beautiful tale of a "boy and his dog"!

I met Maggie and you are one lucky man!

Sometimes we don't realize that an animal has been sent by a miraclous way into our lives until we actually need them for some purpose. Happy that you both found each other!!

That was a beautiful story and I thank you for sharing it! You are a great ambassador for this wonderful breed. I wish you both a long and very happy life together...she sounds awesome!

Can't tell you how happy I am for you and for Mags!

I'm ecstatic for ya'll! My fiance and I were at the dog park last September and we had a black lab/german shepherd mix collapse in my lap. After 3 days in the Doggie E.R. we learned that Jax, what we named him, had cancer, osteoarthritis in his hind quarters and back and suffered from 2 torn ACL's, and a broken tale! We already had two "fur kids," a beagle/golden retriever mix and a chocolate lab. We thought that we couldn't possibly have another dog, however we received a call after 4 days from the owners! The owners actually had the nerve to inquire after him and claim he was only "missing" for about 15 minutes! Well let me tell ya, I became protective momma bear and REFUSED to give that dog back and let him suffer out the rest of his days! They couldn't tell me what medications he was on or what Vet he regularly saw. When it was clear they were not taking this dog back, the son made a comment that Jax got out b/c he put him in the backyard b/c he was whining too loud! I'd whine too if I had cancer and no medical attention! Some people are deplorable wastes of space! Jax, who is 14 and was given only one month to live is now happily spending his days 6 months later at the dog park and relaxing comfortably high on his pain medication! We love him so very much and he has touched our lives in the most incredible way! WE could never repay HIM for what he has done for our family! I firmly believe that animals, dogs in particular, are God's greatest gifts to us! God Bless you and Maggie!

I'm glad you've made such a wonderful home for both you and Maggie.

love the post ya big softy...

What a beatiful tale of a tail -- Maggie's, that is. No question about what a loving animal can offer us humans. They're magnificent creatures and here for a purpose. I'm so happy for both you and Maggie May. I'm sure she'd have many wonderful things to say about you and her new life if only she could use the computer. Enjoy her, as if I have to tell you that!

This remains (to this day) one of my favorite ACPB blogs. Love you, love Maggie, love your story. xo xo xo

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