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In memory of a well-traveled dog

She vacationed in Brittany and braved the second intifada. She enjoyed French croissants and dined on bangers and mash. Maggie was quite a dog.

The well-traveled Maggie at the Aquinnah bluffs on Martha's Vineyard island. (Julie Sennott/GlobalPost)

BOSTON — Our dog was truly an internationalist, a canine diplomat of sorts who had lived all over the world.

Before she passed away, Maggie had an extraordinary life of nearly 14 years that took her to many corners of the globe.

She was born on Cape Cod and came of age in Boston. But she lived in Jerusalem and walked the ancient, cobbled streets of the Old City where she begged on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She swam in the Sea of Galilee and climbed the Mount of Olives and crossed the Allenby Bridge at the Jordan River. She lived for a while on the rugged coast of Brittany in France and eventually crossed over by ferry, past the White Cliffs of Dover to arrive in London where she spent many long afternoons in a great, old pub.

But her travels ended back in the place she loved best of all.

That was Martha’s Vineyard and that was where we scattered her ashes last month in Edgartown Great Pond where she loved to swim and chase sticks.
Maggie came into our lives as a present to my wife Julie for our first wedding anniversary and she was weaned in the shadows of the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. 

When Maggie was two and our oldest son, Will, was three months old, we had to pack up the whole family and move to Jerusalem, as I was assigned there to be the Middle East bureau chief for The Boston Globe.

Right away, Maggie began her work in the Holy Land.  She begged along the Israeli-Palestinian divide and was well known in the narrow warrens of Jerusalem where she’d pick up scraps from the Palestinian shwarma shops and then make her way across the street to the Israeli falafel vendors.

In a culture where dogs are feared and often loathed, Maggie had made good friends on both sides of the conflict.

And all along the way, she ate everything she could find and did whatever she could for two sides that despite her best efforts could not find peace. By the end of our stay, she would shiver in fear at the sound of bombings and tank fire when the second intifada erupted in the fall of 2000.

When I was reassigned to London in September 2001, Maggie passed some time on the coast of Brittany in France because we wanted to avoid the officiousness of the British laws for quarantining pets. She stayed with a retired French general, an in-law, who offered to take her for 90 days so she could get her European Union citizenship and skip the 60 days in a British government pound. There, she quaffed buttery French croissants and learned to love the frigid waters off Brittany and walking along the beaches where there are still remnants of the German bunkers and trenches from World War II.

Like any good Irish-American dog, when she arrived in England she did so on her own terms. After obtaining her EU citizenship, Julie picked her up and brought her over on the boat from Brittany to the port at Dover, England. When she arrived at our home in London, it didn’t take long for her to beat a path to a cafe nestled in the Hampstead Heath where she dined on left over bangers and mash and thick rolls of brown bread. She would walk with me to work and wait for scraps of shepherd’s pie from The Holly Bush, one of the great old pubs of Hampstead which was right next to my office and where she became a fixture curled up next to the fireplace on cold, rainy days.