Author Topic: Maddie, Tom, and Pat  (Read 430 times)


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Maddie, Tom, and Pat
« on: April 17, 2013, 12:07:43 PM »
My dear friends,

My wife and I would like to thank you all for the kind words, the thoughts and the hugs and the prayers, and the fond memories that you have shared with us over the last several days, both here and on the other social media where we have been in contact. Our hearts are deeply broken, but slowly healing. I know that we are not the first people to have ever lost a beloved dog - or person! - nor will Maddie be our last, but the heart neither chooses what to love or how it must break when the beloved is gone, and so here were are. Thank you again for listening and responding, for within that lies much healing.

I have a few additional words to add to my earlier post. and fair warning: if you know me at all you know that "a few" means "many", so apologies now for the length.

For starters, this is an agility forum, and I thought it was time I finally mention some of Maddie's accomplishments. In the past I had made it a practice not to brag about Maddie's achievements, or sig block her titles, and not because I am humble but because I am not. Pride goeth before a fall, and I have the scars and bruises to prove it! But now, maybe, it is time to give Maddie her due.

As many of you know, Maddie was acknowledged in 2011 and 2012 for being the highest scoring dog of all time in NADAC, with 23,940 points by my reckoning, counting both qualifying points and bonus points. Among her many titles and awards are 23 NATCH's and 23 Versatility NATCH's. Her first title ever was in Jumpers, as was her last run (in January 2013), and over her career she accumulated enough Elite Jumpers points for thirty-seven (37!) NATCH awards. She was a natural born jumper, and fast, too - she earned numerous Speed Star and Versatility Speed Star awards, and still holds a place on the Top Ten Lifetime 100+ Run Index list. She attended NADAC Championships eleven times, and won her class five times, including Elite Grand Champion in 2001, 2002, and 2003, Small Dog Superstakes Champion in 2007, and Versatility Champion in 2009. And when she didn't win she usually placed, and we were always outpaced by competitors who I deeply admire and whose dogs I hold in high esteem.

NADAC was not her only venue: in USDAA, she earned the ADCH title and the Tournament Master Silver award, and was honored to compete in both the Grand Prix and Steeplechase Finals in 2004. To her competitors who gather there, and to her former relay and DAM teammates, I bid you her greetings and farewell. Maddie also earned the NAJ in AKC agility! Jumpers, naturally.but we weren't really a 3-venue team. More like a 2.1-venue team?? Not to venue-bash, but AKC then didn't offer enough runs a day to justify the expense of precious agility dollars and time. In the end I would come to understand just how precious that time was.
There is one other little known accomplishment. There was a patient named Laura in the pediatric intensive care unit at the hospital where my wife Pat works, and this patient was in the end stages of a very long bout with cancer. Laura loved dogs and Pat would talk to her about our Maddie, so one day Laura asked Pat if Maddie could come visit her. Pat brought Maddie in a few days later and placed her on Laura's bed. Laura was connected to all kind of machines and Maddie, who was afraid of so many things, crawled up on Laura and laid down on her. She laid there for a long time as Laura petted her and talked to her, while Laura's mom took a lot of pictures. Maddie remained completely unfazed by all of the hospital technology and focused on Laura. Laura died a few weeks later and her parents had the pictures at the funeral. They talked about the comfort that Maddie had provided to their daughter.


Some of you asked about the poem in my previous post. It was in fact a lyric borrowed from the song "Ghost Story" by Sting. My magpie brain picked that up several years ago, when the looming fact of Maddie's mortality began to come unbidden into my thoughts. The song and its lyrics express my mood these days quite well, or at least one of the moods I frequently swing through. Another song at the edge of my thoughts is "Sky Blue and Black" by Jackson Browne. The theme is more about love romantic than platonic, but the haunting wistfulness resonates with me, and the piano that the song begins and ends with is imho some of the most beautiful music he ever recorded. Fire up youTube or iTunes and give them a listen, if you are interested.

And oh yes, there is old Pete Townsend:

"There once was a note, pure and easy
Playing so free, like a breath rippling by"

I know that note! I played counterpoint to it for fifteen years.

Music informs me of much that perhaps I am failing to convey. But agility is dance, and dance is music, so make of that what you will.


Finally, since no man (nor woman!) nor dog is an island, I wish to offer thanks to those of you who have touched our lives over the years:

- Thank you, Carol Howell, of Jade Mist Shelties, for placing that shivering little bundle of fur into our safe-keeping that March afternoon fifteen years ago. Did we do the best we could to raise and protect and love her? If there are Gates of Heaven, that is probably the first question we will be asked. Rightly do we fear Judgment.

- Thank you, Debi Hutchinson, for talking us into taking your Intro Agility class back in late 1998. Instructor, teacher, coach, inspiration, and friend.

- Thank you Momma Terry ("Hey, Sis!"), Teacher Paula, and all our friends and companions, two-legged and four-, in Kinder-pup and Team PAWZAZZ! You have woven a basket of love in which our two broken hearts and bewildered souls can heal.

- Thank you, Sharon Nelson, for creating and running Maddie's favorite agility venue, NADAC. (Mine, too, and I will explain to perfect strangers exactly how and why I feel that way, at the drop of a hat, without reservation. So there.) And thank you, NADAC elves and NADAC judges, for your hard work, dedication, guidance, and friendship.

- Thank you to all of you in the wider world of agility who gave us encouragement and advice over the years, and made our hearts swell with pride with your expressions of admiration for the Mighty Maddie, and who now offer much-needed hugs and fond memories.

- Thank you to our family members and to all our non-agility friends, both here and abroad (Canada! Australia! Holland!) who knew Maddie as just the family dog. Or, er, one of the two family dogs. Three. Four. (Sorry about that, shelties are like potato chips I guess.) Anyway, we have felt your concerns and your expressions of condolence, and their strength is not lessened by the fact that you don't know (or care) what a two-on-two-off is.

- Thank you, Pat, for letting me flow from first person singular to first person plural and back, and for knowing which part is which.

- And finally, thank you, Maddie.

Tom & Pat
In fond memory of Maddie Moloney-Harmon, aka Jade Mist Madeline's Star
Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.