Welcome to Maggie Lagana's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Maggie Lagana
I was volunteering at an animal shelter in Gloucester, Virginia when I came across a new puppy that had entered the shelter. She was so tiny, in this very large kennel, outside in the cold. Every time I walked by her with another dog, she whined and cried. I kept telling her that when I was done, she would be my top priority. Another lady came up Maggie too and wondered why a puppy was outside in the cold, which had already been bothering me. By the time my shift was done, Maggie had been taken indoors and put in a crate in the office. I went in and asked if I could hold her, and before I knew it, I had agreed to foster her. I named her Maggie while I was jogging up and down my street. It came to me because it was a combination of MAtthews-Gloucester Humane Society, and it fit her perfectly.
Maggie was pretty sick. She apparently had been tossed in the woods to fend for herself. She had two types of worms, very little hair due to a skin condition, and for the longest time what we thought was a broken front right leg by the way it bent when she stood. She had to remain separate from our other dog Dallas until she healed, so we put her in a back room of our house, with just a gate separating her and Dallas. There was a door leading to the backyard from her room, so it was easy to let her out. She loved playing in the leaves, and running around with her daddy's stolen house slipper. We couldn't keep her out of the flower bed surrounding the Koi pond.
The day we took Maggie in for her shots and nail trim, they took her in the back. We heard a sharp yelp from the front office, and my ex-husband and I looked at each other because we knew instantly it was Maggie. That day we made the decision to adopt her.
Maggie's first trip was to Las Vegas to see Grandma and Grandpa. My ex was going to Phoenix for work, and we were temporarily setting up camp with the grandparents in Vegas. On the way, Maggie was biting at her crate in the car and got her front teeth stuck. She wailed like a stuck pig. I was then forced to free her from the front seat while going 80 down the highway. Scared us both to death at the time, but funny now. I think that was the first time we knew Maggie was going to be Princess Maggie. One day we left Maggie and Dallas at G'Ma and G'Pa's while we went out to eat. When we came back, Maggie had shredded newspaper and pencils all over the family room, pooped in the hallway, and even chewed a piece out of the bottom of the dining table!
We agreed to adopt Maggie because we thought she would be a good "energy booster" for our older dog Dallas. Unfortunately, Dallas's health did not approve, and he passed about a year later. Maggie was so full of life. She desperately needed someone to play with, and would nip at your ankles as she ran by you. By the time Dallas passed, we were living in Niceville, Florida. We ended up adopting Haylee Sue so Maggie would have a friend. We didn't know that the adoption trend was going to continue, and ended up with Shelley, Tank, and Frances too (Frances until much later when we lived in Las Vegas).
Perhaps Maggie's favorite residence was the mountain home in Cedar City, Utah. She LOVED the snow, and I can still see her romping through several feet of snow while biting at it, having the time of her life. We would find trails in the hills and let her and her siblings off the leash so they could run around on their own. Often times we would drive to the dry side of Navajo Lake and open the back of the Jeep. All the dogs (except Frances; we didn't have her yet) would jump out and run free. Those are my best memories of Maggie. My mom and I were able to get Maggie back up to Cedar City in 2017 for a day trip. She wasn't feeling well at the time, but I think she enjoyed just being back in the woods.
We moved back to Las Vegas in April of 2014 following the divorce. Maggie loved living with G'ma and G'pa for a while. My mom would read her newspaper every morning, and Maggie would jump on the couch next to her, step over the paper, and plant herself on the arm of the couch like she owned the place. That's was her way of telling G'ma "good morning". And I can still see Maggie in the backyard, G'pa combing her hair, or her running figure eights around the yard like a banshee.
We finally got our own house in September of 2016. Maggie loved her yard. She especially liked laying in the flower bed in the dirt. Again, she would run her figure eights around the yard, stopping every so often to dig a hole in the flower bed dirt. She was always stealing my socks from my shoes, or from the hamper and running around the house or yard them, playing keep away from Mom. She had beautiful while paws that made her look like she was wearing socks, so I wondered if that's why she liked socks so much. She loved licking lotion off my legs as I was trying to apply it, and she always felt she had to accompany me to the bathroom! Maggie greeted everyone with her loud Beagle squeal of excitement, and she loved the attention from anyone who would give it. When she got really excited, she would wind up her tail wag similar to that of a plan propeller.
Maggie had stopped eating in April of 2017. After many tests, we found she had tumors in her kidney, bladder, urethra, and lungs. I opted for oral chemo pills because Maggie was never a fan of the vet, and used to work herself into a frenzy any time we had to go. I didn't want her to spend what little time she may have at the vets office hooked up to an IV. So we took on the fight together at home. I always told her that I would fight as long as she would. For the next several months, it was lots of pills and fluctuations with appetite. We could keep her on the chemo for 6 weeks at a time, but then she would stop eating altogether, so we had to give her breaks everyone once in a while. The chemo appeared to be doing the trick for a while. The tumors were shrinking and she was feeling good. But then on her last ultrasound, a new mass was found in her lungs (don't know if it was cancer because it looked different than the others), and one that was pushing on her spine. All of a sudden, Maggie showed signs she was having difficulty breathing. This went on for about 5 days, and we considered euthanasia, but miraculously she rebounded. She rebounded for about a week, but then it unexpectedly came back, and worse. She could not lay down for long, and when she stood, she stood motionless with her neck extended to help her take in more air. She would just stand around in the yard staring into space. Her appetite had been poor again, but this time, when I came toward her with her pills (in peanut butter), she would run away from me. That had never been a problem before. It got to the point where I felt I was just shoving pills down her throat all day, and presenting food to her a hundred times a day. So when this breathing episode appeared to get even worse, I knew I had to make a decision. She had even starting vomiting white foam, and drooling at the mouth. So my brother Phil came over and we took her in. It took me hours to actually get her in the car to make our trip. And even once we made it into the Jeep, we sat in the garage for 30 minutes, and then in the driveway for another 30 minutes, and the parking for yet another 30 minutes. Once inside, I asked to speak to the vet. She told me that Maggie was definitely in distress. She went on to say that most pet owners wait TOO long to make the decision. I asked if she could bring Maggie in so that I could see her one more time before I decided. Of course, Maggie came into the room and walked straight to me, with a little tail wag. But when I reached out to hold her and kiss her, she turned around and wouldn't face me. I moved around as well. Again, as I tried to love on her, she pulled away. She was exerting every ounce of energy she had toward trying to breath, that she didn't want me touching her. I'm not even sure if she could even see me at that point. That's when I gave the vet the nod, and we ended her misery. I was in front of her on the floor stroking her head and rubbing those beautiful velvety ears. She simply lowered her head, closed her eyes, and she was gone. Still looking as beautiful as ever.......
This one hurts. Dallas hurt like hell too, but after I had been through (the divorce, losing our mountain home, moving back to Vegas, losing my job, etc.....), Maggie was always my rock. She hated to hear/see me cry. Didn't matter where I was in the house, if she heard me crying, she would jump on the lap and vehemently lick my tears away. She always knew what I was thinking, as I did she. My brother says we were exactly alike. Maggie loved people, was so energetic and full of life. She wasn't a dog, she was a person. She was my best friend, and my rock. I do not know how I am supposed to go on without her. I'm not sure I can. I don't want to be here without her. She was my everything.
Maggie, you ARE so beautiful........ to me. I pray you are okay, and that you will drop by for a visit every so often. I pray that you and Dallas are reunited and having the time of your lives. Please know how much I love you, know and forever. I was so fortunate to be your mom. You were and are a true blessing, and I am grateful for every day we shared together. The doctors didn't think you'd live more than 3 months, and you made it almost ten. We showed them, didn't we?! We fought so hard, and you made me so proud. Now you don't have to fight anymore, sweetheart. I love you more than life itself, Maggie Loo "Moo Shoo" Pork, Lagana-Davis.
03/21/2018: Hi Beautiful Moo. I'm sorry I haven't written. My grief is even greater than I ever imagined it would be. I cry all the time, find it hard to breathe, and my heart hurts like crazy. You were always the affectionate, loving one who demanded the same in return. You knew me better than I even know myself. I love your brother and sisters, but they don't hold a candle to your affection or the bond that you and I shared. I struggle every day with whether or not I did the right thing by letting you go when I did. I keep wondering if you would have rebounded. I just couldn't handle seeing you struggle for breath. You looked so tired, so much so that you didn't even want me touching you. You NEVER have not wanted me to touch you. I pray I did the right thing by you, and that you believe that to be true as well. I hurt so bad the other night Moo, that I almost took the whole bottle of Lexapro. This world is such a cruel place these days; I just don't know how to go on without you. I've been reading books about pet afterlife, and I so want to believe that all the pennies and feathers I have found are from you and your brother Dallas. I swear I have felt you lick my heal after a shower, and your name keeps popping up in random places. However, the book I most recently read stated that the Bible does not support communication between the living and the dead; that God does not allow for it. This broke my heart to read. I want so desperately to hear from you and know that you are okay. Your remains are on the nightstand next to my pillow and your brother's remains. It is good to have them home, but they don't even come close to having you here. I see you everywhere Moo Shoo. Your siblings seem to understand what has happened and they are adapting. No one has taken over the alpha role yet, though. And Fran refuses to eat her meals in your old spot, which I think is very sweet. It's hard to find people to talk to about you. Everyone seems to think I should be further along in my grief than I am, so I just don't talk anymore to anyone. Please tell Dallas hello for me. I have visions of the two of you sitting on the Bridge waiting for me, and you both are such sights for sore eyes. I pray I get to see you both again soon. I love you more than life itself, Maggie. I wish I could have cured you, and I am sorry I couldn't. All my love, Moo. xoxo
Places you have lived: Gloucester, VA; Niceville, FL; Cedar City, UT; Las Vegas, NV
04/10/2018: Hi Moo. I can't stop thinking about you. I thought I would be further along in the grief process, but I'm not. I still cry all the time. I blame myself for not giving you the chance to recover from this last breathing episode. I don't know if you would have, but I am convinced that I should have waited to see what would happen. I don't know that I will ever forgive myself. Your life was cut too short. You truly loved me unconditionally, and your love for me was by far greater than anyone else. I am lost without your bubbly personality, your zest for life, your demand of attention, and your being there for me in my greatest times of need. I need YOU now more than ever. It is difficult to find joy without you. I really don't know what to do. I don't know that I want to be in a world without YOU. It was supposed to be me and you against the world. I begged you and God to take me with you. I AM CRUSHED, MOO. Please forgive me. I love you more than life itself. I pray that you are okay, and that you never forget about me. I was and still am your biggest fan. Being your mom was the greatest joy of my life.
11/28/2018: Hi Maggie. It's Mom. I know I haven't written in a while. No excuses really. It is still really difficult for me to think about you and not cry. I have such a hole in my heart and longing to see you. It hurts so bad at times that I don't know how I make it. I still wrestle with my decision to let you go. I just don't know if it was the right thing to do. You were always so strong and resilient, I just can't help but think you might have recovered. I keep asking God to let me see you. I had an experience last week where a guy I met on POF had a picture of his dogs on his profile page, and the one in the middle was the spitting image of YOU! I burst into tears when I saw it. Her name is Mia, and she is 14/15. She looks so much like you, it's mind boggling. You truly were my best friend, Maggie. You were so attached to me, and so affectionate. No one but Fran has been able to even come close to the hugs and kisses you used to give me. I think that's what I miss the most. For all the times you plopped on top of me and I fussed at you for it, I'm sorry. I would do anything to have you do that to me now. If only love could have saved you........... I cannot wait to see you again. Please, please, please keep sending me those beautiful feathers. And please give your brother a big wet kiss for me. I love you more than life itself, my beautiful Maggie Moo!
12/16/19: Moo Shoo... I miss you more than you could possibly comprehend. My heart will never be the same. Some days it's still so difficult to breathe at the loss of you. I pray you are with Dallas, Shelley and Tank having the time of your life. And if it's not too much to ask, please come see me. I would give anything for a lip nibble. That would be the best Christmas gift ever. I love you more today than yesterday. Merry Christmas Beautiful Maggie.
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