The Mud Kingdom

A magical place, an independent spirit.


When I first took the mud doggo home, I was trying to recover from a heart attack that revealed three widowmaker blockages spread across my heart, two of which remained untreated when I left the hospital. I wouldn’t have taken her home if she wasn’t about to be put down. I was her only hope, but I wasn’t sure if I could give her much of a chance at life. In those dark days, I wasn’t sure I could give much of a chance at life to myself.

As a two year old dog, Maggie needed a lot more activity than I was physically capable of. There were weeks I could barely drag myself along the floor the twelve feet between my toilet from my bed. My brother helped a lot with this, often giving Maggie more than half of her walks in a week.
Maggie and I didn’t hit it off at first. She came with severe mental, behavioral, and physical problems that resulted from a history of physical abuse, escape, and loneliness that resulted in PTSD, scarring around her neck and body, and very detrimental learned behaviors. For the first couple of months I was little more than her jailer and she was constantly looking for an exit. Every so often she would escape and run off into the woods, costing me to precious hours of life to get her back, painfully passing out on the floor for more hours after getting her into the house.

I spent months covered in painful weeping bruises, numb limbs, and bleeding daily from my nose, ears, eyes, fingernails, and even my belly button trying to keep up with the only dog in the shelter the day I decided to visit. The weather soon tuned on winter’s approach, exacerbating my health issues and consistent inability to generate enough body heat. Every step and breath I took was a struggle – one I don’t care much to recall enough to tell you about. But doggos need walkies and outside I went.

I had made it most of the way through one of our normal walks. Maggie and I were on our way back to the house when snow started to fall on us. I looked up into the sky and felt my vision narrowing into a tunnel, bleeding all of the color out of my sight. As would sometimes happen to me in those days I would randomly lose consciousness over the course of 30 seconds, not quite enough time for me to do much of anything holding a leash in the middle of a park. I went down and everything went dark. I could feel the leash slip out of my hand and Maggie’s butt wiggling off into the distance.

I laid unconscious on the sidewalk for a long time. Long minutes passed as my awareness and consciousness recovered. Longer still before I could muster any control over my body to pull my numb face off the frozen ground. The only part of my body I had any feeling in was the side Maggie had curled up against to try to keep me warm. She had come back for me. Hot tears stung as they rolled down my scraped up, ice-crusted cheeks as I struggled to my knees. When I finally was able to sit upright, I numbly pawed the tears and blood from my face with my cut up, frozen club-hands and rubbed them on my dog so that God would protect her when I could not. I remember stumbling home together through the snow. To this day I’m still not sure that I ever made it.