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We'll never forget our first poodle.

In loving memory of Maggie

In loving memory of Maggie who went to the Rainbow Bridge on September 22, 2005.

Maggie Bonati left this earth a much better place than it was when she arrived. 14 years ago there was no Florida Poodle Rescue. No one to take in elderly, sick or unwanted poodles and find them new homes where they would be treasured companions for the rest of their lives. But Maggie found Tricia and together they found lots of other people who loved Poodles nearly as much as she does. During Maggie's time with Florida Poodle Rescue thousands of Poodles — and would be/want to be Poodles — have lived in dozens of Foster Homes, made countless Vet visits and thrived under the Love of their Foster parents and New owners.

Many times Dogs are described as "People in Fur Suits". Maggie was that and then some. An "Old Soul", she was ready to help anyone and everyone who would let her. Her kindness was a hallmark of her life. She counseled and helped us figure out what was needed for the sad, bewildered and frightened "kids" when they came to Florida Poodle Rescue. For 12 years Maggie taught us how to be patient and giving to these "kids".

Maggie never missed a chance to indulge in her favorite Treats. She knew how to work her family to get a Cookie or other Treats from the cabinet. Or an opportunity to go to the Ice Cream Shop. She had her own "Get one Free Card". Maggie was so special that a trio of men from McDonalds sang "Happy Birthday" to her as they delivered plain hamburgers in celebration of her special day. Who can say they have had McDonald's staffers sing to them?

Maggie's fame spread outside Florida Poodle Rescue as well. She participated in a variety of fashion shows for Saks and the Museum of Fine Arts and brought home hundreds of dollars to help the new rescues who kept arriving.

Maggie was one of the five dogss who were to judge the Bay Areas best tasting dog treats, sponsored by the Tampa Tribune Newspaper. Judging was to be on September 11, 2001 in the Tribune's newsroom. Needless to say, the judging was postponed that day. Maggie worked as hard that day, if not harder than the hundreds of news reporters and photographers who documented the World Trade Center tragedy. She was the therapy dog of the highest level for dozens of people who were too proud to let themselves show emotion in the newsroom. Positioned near a conference room where dozens of pizzas and salads were spread on a polished wood table, Maggie let people she didn't even know pet her, hug her and cry over her! And she never asked for a morsel to eat! In fact Tricia had to be called to ask how to get Maggie to eat or drink something! Years after the 9/11 tragedy, many people in the Tampa Tribune newsroom talked about how Maggie helped them cope that day.

During her final days when the other dogs became upset with her illness, Maggie somehow put them at peace. The night before her parting when her friends came to say good bye, she entertained them all followed by one last walk in the park. She knew it would be her last and wanted to remember her times with family and friends. Her "Mother" firmly believes that Maggie left on her own terms because she went to her "Grandmother's" room to pass. Maggie was that special.

A verse from Helen Keller describes our feelings of Maggie.

"What we once enjoyed and deeply loved
We can never lose,
For all that we love deeply
Becomes a part of us."

When we thank Florida Poodle Rescue for bringing us the joy and companionship of our rescued Poodle, remember to thank Maggie as well.

We love you Maggie. And you have a special place in our hearts.