Last Edited: Oct 14, 2008 8:41 AM
Mistress Madeline Thunderkapp
December 1993 - March 2008
Kirsten and I were lucky to have lived with the finest Labrador Retriever to
ever swim in a lake, sniff out a treat or lick a face for more than 14
years. Maddie had a way of getting into people's hearts and even converted a
few "non-dog people" to lab owners in her time with us on earth.
I picked her out of her litter when she was 6 weeks old and she and I were
on our own for a while before we conned our way into Kirsten's life. Later
when I was travelling weekly, she and Kirsten were on their own most weeks
forming just as deep of a bond. She was not a backyard dog, but one who was
hard-wired in to our lives. Born in Texas, 2 years in Miami and 8 in
Seattle, she was a well-travelled dog, who deciphered the meaningful words
out of 3 languages and learned to recognize when we were spelling around her
(I don't think she could actually spell, but the cadence suggested to her
that we didn't want her to hear a word that suggested something good, for
which she should begin lobbying). She ran in 5k's and would have placed
better, had I been able to keep up with her. Our biggest athletic
accomplishment with placing 10th of ~200 human/dog teams in the Doggie Du
(Dog Du-athlon in Key Biscayne in 1998). She and I swam there every week and
on race day, preparation, strategy and teamwork pushed us into the upper
echelons of mediocrity! We celebrated afterwards back home with a nap in our
She fulfilled the American Labrador dream of having swum in the Atlantic
Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, not to mention countless
lakes and streams. She hiked, camped, snow-shoed, went to hockey and
softball games, attended jazz concerts and summer festivals of every sort.
She responded extremely deeply to jazz music, having listened to it her
entire life and had a particular affection for 2 albums: Hank Mobley's "Soul
Station" and Dave Brubeck's "Take Five". They comforted her through youthful
separation anxiety and were on at her bedside in her final year.
During her 14 years on earth, her nose and paws touched down in not only
Texas, Florida and Washington State, but also Oklahoma, New Mexico,
Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana
(including one wild day in New Orleans). We're not counting, of course, the
states that she flew over in route to her destination. But, at heart, she
was a neighborhood dog. She knew the shops and they knew her. Every coffee
window with a treat behind it was deep in her memory. She was a favorite at
Bartell (our drug store) and her friends who worked there bought treats with
their own money to keep behind the counter for her. She disappeared behind
the counter at Five Corners Hardware Store while we shopped. She sat
patiently in the back garden of the Hilltop Alehouse and laid under tables
at sidewalk cafes in Coconut Grove while we ate, drank and were merrier
because she were there with us. She lived her life to the fullest, something
that we all should consider an example.
What can be learned from a great dog? Mostly things to do with love, joy,
devotion and contrition. When someone they care about is sad or upset, they
are genuinely sorry. They don't need to understand why - it doesn't matter.
They just want to sit with you until things are right again.
Loved being near her family.
Loved seeing her friends.
Loved making new friends, two feet or four.
Expressed joy at the sight, sound or smell of someone she knew.
Taught us the joy of comfort, the joy of play, the joy of exploration, the
joy of a little scrap of something tasty, the pleasure of basking in the
sunshine or staying inside by the fire. There are no bad days.
Thank you Maddie. You will never be forgotten. We're better people for
having known you.
Troy and Kirsten K.