MayMay’s Last Lesson

Our dear MayMay died this Monday.

On the weekend before she died, she threw an impromptu party, and many old friends and neighbors came to bid her goodbye and have a last nuzzle. She received emails from those friends who could not say goodbye in person, and each email hug was given her by proxy with a whisper in her ear of who it was from.

MayMay was a very social dog with a vast group of friends, and she became close to everyone connected with the daily life of the farm. Even the UPS guys knew her well, and many of them would look for her when they came in the door if she was not already at their feet awaiting their greetings.

She loved coming to work each day and waited at the door to greet everyone arriving each morning. If someone in the office had been on vacation or away for any length of time MayMay would wiggle and moan with complete joy at their return. Just a few weeks ago, she went into complete ecstasy when Alli returned to us after a winter working with sled dogs out in Colorado. MayMay never left you in doubt about how much she loved you.

During the many years when Lynn wrote labels each Tuesday, MayMay would lie on Lynn’s feet the entire day, and when it wasn’t a Lynn day, she would lie in the middle of the floor by the door expecting a cuddle from everyone who passed as well as prompt service at the door when she needed to go out to smell the breeze, observe the goldfish or go roll in the grass.

If things got dull for her during a work day, she would come up to the folks on the computer and knock their elbows until she got some love. There was no avoiding a relationship with MayMay for those more reticent about dogs. She was in the face of any newcomer with complete confidence that here was a new friend. And soon friendship would prevail.

When she wasn’t in the office, she was supervising all the gardening, taking long walks with various Sheehans or chasing objects. We used to say that MayMay’s brother Riley was all golden and she was all retriever because he had no interest in running after anything whereas MayMay would retrieve from dawn ’til dusk and still be ready for more. If no ratty old tennis ball was handy she would try and get someone to throw rocks for her.

MayMay had a thing about rocks. She couldn’t get enough of them. At some point during every walk she would pick up a rock- often a surprisingly big rock- and carry it about in her mouth only to drop it back at the farm in one of her rock piles. There was no stopping her in this rock collecting which is why we have already started taking her various stashes of rocks to place on her grave. A rock cairn seems the perfect way to celebrate her, and she has already done all the hauling for us!

MayMay didn’t have a mean bone in her body. The cats loved her and she loved them. She never had a squabble with her brother Riley and welcomed Reina into the pack with complete abandon. When baby Grace arrived, she let baby Grace pat and prod her and in recent weeks she let her crawl all over her as well. She just loved contact.

In her last week, she gave me an enormous reminder of what matters and what doesn’t. As you can imagine, any dog here has to learn garden manners. From puppyhood, MayMay was flawless in her garden manners, and I never had to worry about her hurting any plants. However the last week of her life she spent a good deal of her time completely ripping up the garden outside the front door. At the beginning of the destruction, I tried once to move her out of the garden onto the lawn, but she returned at once to the garden with an unexpected determination and continued her crushing, trampling, digging, rolling and general flattening.

This final project was so many jokes and comments all rolled into one. MayMay was demonstrating to me what an effort she had made her whole life to be good in the gardens. I got to see exactly what she could have done everywhere if she hadn’t been so deeply respectful of the place. More importantly, she was reminding me that dogs and love are so much more important than gardens. She was giving me a big ONLY LOVE MATTERS inservice. In this destruction she gave me a surprise gift to remember her by- a big crushed plant area that I now pass by with a smile on my face- a big smushed area of plants that makes my heart fill with love and not horror. Oh MayMay! Gone but never forgotten!

Waiting by the office door for folks to arrive for work. She could look quite pensive before her people showed up on time for her loving greeting.
Sharing her post with Reina.
Reina, Riley and MayMay receiving a treat from Emily.
Visiting with Lizzy during the work day.

Always sure that she was meant to be in the center of everything, here she is at Lizzy and Miguel’s wedding rehearsal, demonstrating how she is part of the service.

Last summer she would spend the day with the men down clearing the hedgerow. Here Ben pauses to try (unsuccessfully of course) to get her to give him the rock she has in her mouth.

She begins, “THE FLATTENING”