Xena, a fourteen-year-old Rottweiler, rests quietly beside Maggie Jablonska’s desk at the Servpro offices in Ravenswood.
“Two years ago, I was certain I would have to put her down,” Maggie says. Xena was sick, stressed, and the prescribed thyroid medication only seemed to make her condition worse.
“My marathon training partner could barely walk. I couldn’t have run that race without her, and to see her slowly fading away broke my heart.”
Maggie wasn’t sure how many days she had left with Xena but she resolved to spend as many of them as possible at one of Xena’s favorite places – Montrose Dog Beach.
Their trips began in the spring as slow walks along the shore. As the waters warmed, Xena spent increasing amounts of time swimming in Lake Michigan.
“Well, I guess the medication worked!” Xena’s groomer told Maggie one day, remarking on the pup’s dramatically improved health.
Maggie could only laugh. The only medication Xena was on was regularly prescribed trips to the beach.
“It sounds crazy, but I’m not joking when I say Montrose Dog Beach saved her life,” Maggie says with a smile, feeding Xena a treat.
“The swimming especially worked magic. Not only did it help Xena lose weight, but it dramatically improved her coordination and balance. I used to have to carry her down these stairs.”
I follow Maggie and Xena down the stairs for walk along the river. Xena casually sniffs along the path with relaxed comfort. But then another dog walks past and Xena’s tail begins to wave excitedly.
Maggie laughs. “Fourteen and she still loves to play!”
Even during the cold months of the year, Maggie knows exactly where she and her pup are headed after work – Montrose Dog Beach.
“I thought it was the end, but thanks to the dog beach we got a new beginning.”
This blog post is part of Mutt Jackson’s THE JUST LOVE PROJECT. On a weekly basis, we’re posting stories that highlight the moments of love and kindness we discover through experiences with our fellow humans and dogs. We’re starting with stories centered around our beloved Montrose Dog Beach and will expand worldwide.