Tyler J. Hendry was born on 4/8/16. As a math lover, the perfect progression of numbers makes me smile. In April the family gathering in Cleveland is predictable; deep hugs, lots of laughter, AMAZING food, a little snow, all wrapped up in wonderful memories with the kids and grandkids.
When our 6-year old grandson realized we were departing – after a 4-day sugar-injected birthday celebration – he sobbed. In the words of his mom, “it was full on ugly crying“. Tragically, the phrase was very meaningful to us. In fact, we knew exactly what unconsolable loss felt like, first hand.
In 2009 Captain Rick decided to give himself a birthday present, in the form of an 8-week old puppy he named Maddie.
Truthfully, I was not thrilled with the new addition, especially since Rick, a legitimate member of the United Airlines million mile club, was traveling extensively back then. With intermittent abandonment by Rick, Danielle (his youngest daughter) took on the task of potty training as I begrudgingly took on a new routine: feed the dog, walk the dog, clean up the mess, bathe the dog, brush the dog, you get the idea.
As it turned out Maddie was an extremely reliable alarm system. She knew the sound of Rick’s vehicle and would bark excitedly, jumping and spinning around at the door; she knew the sound of the amazon delivery truck, and was excited at the sound of the postal woman (she had treats); she did not like the sound of the garbage truck (although it was a helpful reminder to take out the garbage). Anyone else who came too close to the house or the boat would get the angry bark – except for Ray, who DEFINITELY got the happy wagging tail in exchange for treats.
When we moved to Florida, her name gained a southern extension – Maddie Sue, “the craziest dog you ever knew”. She was also a loyal KC fan with Mo and Craig.
Extremely comfortable on the boat, the malti-poo was well known in many marinas. She warmed the hearts of our close friends, including some that professed to “not like dogs”, and was often found in the cockpit of a certain Fleming, where she enjoyed a heartwarming belly rub. She also liked a frosty beer with a friend.
When we visited her vet I heard him say, “she has a little heart murmur. Let me know if she develops a cough.” The vet let me listen to the little swishing sound. Little did we know – when the tiny heartbeat stopped just a few weeks later – our hearts would break.
The loss of our Admiral was not expected. We had just spent the perfect day at Pelican Bay, our favorite gunkhole, with Ray, Caryl, Gail and David. On board Exhale and Tonto’s Reward were bottles of champagne to celebrate New Years.
It all happened so fast. Maddie was having trouble breathing – it felt like a panic attack. When she died in Capt Rick’s arms there was full on ugly crying – the type that is unconsolable.
For weeks the tears continued, followed by numbness. Months later there is still a deep hole in our lives.
Maddie was our constant companion for 12 years. Our followers have watched her adventures on Exhale (she was delightfully photogenic), and, if there was an airline frequent flyer program for pets, she would have been a tier one traveler.
Tragically, she crossed the rainbow bridge – sadly our grandson keeps asking why we don’t “go get her and bring her home again”. If only we could …
Traveling without the Admiral
For us it is hard to envision boating without Maddie. It feels incomplete without our SeaRaider alarm, and without the perfect vacuum cleaner. Never mind the piercing eyes that continuously begged for food. I don’t know who penned the phrase “time heals all wounds”, somehow I doubt they were talking about the loss of our beloved Admiral.
Exhale is Going Back to the Bahamas
Our plan is to head south on Saturday, April 23, weather permitting. Once again our Traveling Boat Buddy is Tonto’s Reward, the spectacular Fleming 58 we followed to Maine last summer (2021), and the same friends who previously traveled with us to Key West and the Bahamas (2019).
If we happen to see any feral pigs (rumor has it they are in multiple locations now), we will tell them Maddie said WTF! She hated those pigs.