A dog who loved outdoor adventures with her family in Utah got one last roll in the snow thanks to the kindness of strangers.
Diagnosed with terminal cancer, Maggie the St. Bernard did not have much time left. Thinking of how they could give their beloved dog a gentle and joyful farewell, her family asked the folks in their community if they could help grant a wish for their dying dog. Could someone make some snow for Maggie to enjoy one last time?
“Does anyone have a shaved ice machine they have put away for the season?” Maggie’s dad, Elija Lee Saltzgaber, posted to Facebook. “Our sweet dog is passing of cancer and we want to build her one last snow bank to roll in…I am hoping for about 10-20 gallons of ice I think but am thankful for anything we can get. Saying goodbye to her Monday around noon so willing to pay and pickup Monday morning…Maggie and both of us thank you deeply for reading this.”
They also reached out to the Salt Lake City County Ice Center.
The ice-skating center was happy to help and made sure to make an extra large pile of snow for the ailing dog. They also made sure to put a sign up that read “Maggie’s Snow” to ensure it was pristine for the canine.
“This weekend, a resident contacted our Salt Lake County Ice Center seeking a little snow for their dying dog, Maggie, to play in one last time,” Parks & Recreation shared. “Today, our staff shaved some extra ice, loaded it into bins and buckets, and the owner took the snow home, to Maggie’s backyard, where she enjoyed it with her family.”
When Monday came around, Maggie’s family shared a video of Maggie enjoying her personal snowbank before she said goodbye.
While Maggie played with a tennis ball and got some of her favorite treats, Maggie’s parents enjoyed mimosas and toasted the dog who was so very dear to them.
Her family described how they came to the say goodbye to their beloved Maggie Bear on Facebook:
“We said goodbye to our sweet Maggie Bear this morning. We are devastated and already feel the enormous void of her absence. As difficult as the decision to end her suffering was, we are comforted in knowing she departed with grace and dignity. It was important for us to say goodbye in a calm and peaceful manner. Anyone who has gone through this knows it can often be urgent, scary, and stressful for your beloved as well as yourself.
“We wanted to share in one last weekend filled with paddle boarding (her favorite), food, camping, playing with her ball, more food and belly rubs. Our outing was incredibly bittersweet. Seeing her big brown eyes take in all the stimuli of nature had us doubting our decision. Could we wait another week? Another month? Ultimately, all our bargaining and second guessing led us right back to our want to free her from the pain of her cancer.”
“Before we departed for our last weekend with Maggie, we had a family dinner to discuss our plans. We discussed how blissfully tired our girl was after a weekend of camping, and how calm she would be for our appointment come Monday. My only lament was wanting her to experience snow one last time, as snow brought her and us so much joy. We tossed around ideas, and upon this discussion Eli put out a notice on Facebook. The response was overwhelming. Salt Lake County ice center in Murray offered up their zam ‘snow’ for pickup Monday morning.”
“We set our alarm for 5:30 this morning, packed up our camp in the dark, and drove sombrely back to SLC. Eli met Tiffany at the rink and loaded up the van with Maggie’s snow. With the help of my mom and her partner, we unloaded the snow and made a throne for our girl to rest in one last time. We are incredibly grateful that our sweet girl spent her final moments surrounded by immense love and comfort. We are absolutely heartbroken, but have found comfort in knowing we gave her the best life and the most gracious passing. Hug your loved ones extra tight for us tonight.”
Upon hearing the news, Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation shared their condolences. “Sending our love and condolences to Maggie’s family. We appreciate the unique privilege of providing her a little heaven on earth.”