She was the ultimate conservationist. Of energy. Period.
She taught us to treasure fairies (and perhaps on occasion use them manipulatively in our favor). We foolishly thought they were simple laser pointers until she revealed to us that we were mistaken. Once, Krista mentioned to me that the author G.K. Chesterton wrote about fairies and Madison was all ears. From then on, anytime she heard the name G.K. Chesterton, her heart rate immediately escalated and her tail was aflutter.
Being a timid puppy, if something startled her, she would bolt for the nearest bush to hide underneath, so I taught her that when she was scared she needed to run to me and I would "keep her safe". Whenever she encountered something she wasn't certain of, I would quickly find her curled up underneath me, snuggled as close to my feet as possible. I miss those sweet, trusting moments.
When she was in absolute bliss (like when Daddy was rubbing her back), she would nibble on her paw - we called it "sucking her thumb".
She was always utterly unaware of any reality, except her own, and that reality was delightful. My first attempt to teach her a trick was also my last attempt to do so. She did eventually learn it, but only because she decided she wanted to do what Valiant was doing. She could do/learn plenty, but it was always in Bear-time using Bear-methodology. My personal favorites were: "dancing bear", when she would spin around on her hind legs as fast as she could so that we would toss her a treat; and then, of course, "roll over bear" - took her AT LEAST 2 months to learn, but once she mastered it, she was a pro! She would dramatically drop to the floor and then do 2-3 rolls in a row. SO FUNNY!
She had a special way with people. She was quiet and reserved and would never "force" herself on anyone, but she would subtly slide next to them and make her presence known. If they were so inclined, she would gratefully welcome a grand massage or four from a friend, but she would never insist on one. She was also surprisingly adaptable to the Lions, Tigers and Bears who waltzed into our lives one by one. We weren't sure how she would handle being around babies/toddlers, but ever the adaptable, she just took it all in stride and was wonderful with them. When the Tiger went on a wild run through the living room, she would find a quiet corner to wait out the storm.
Two final memories of her that I just treasure: (1) when she was super tiny (8 weeks old) we visited my family in Arizona and during one vigorous game of Scrabble, she laid on the kitchen table, snuggled in my arms, just as content as could be. (2) She was a well-known singer in these parts. She would start her singing with just a little hum, but if ignored, she was capable of some lovely soprano tones. We called her our "Singing Bear" because she really had talent.
So here's to those 4 little black paws that padded softly into our lives and changed us forever. I feel so much pain in the loss, and joy in the reflection.