The Magic Monkey Princess

For those of you who don’t know of “The Magic Monkey Princess”

Mazie is magic. No, really, she is. Wherever she goes, people smile when they see her. Do you have any idea how thrilling and fulfilling it feels to know that no matter where I go with her, she will brighten up someone’s day ? Instant gratification- just add a dose of Mazie.

I love going anywhere with her – to cafés, funerals, schools, church, hospitals, my oncologist appointments, my ALS FUNdraisers. And she mystifies the crowds at the high school girls’ basketball games as she sleeps through entire games packed full of loud and proud parents and the blaring Pep Band. The buzzer at the end of the fourth quarter is like her morning alarm clock and she pops up and looks around with her sleepy face. Oh, and her face, sleepy or not, well, um, let’s say she looks like, um, well, y’ know the Wizard of Oz ? Well Mazie looks like she’s half Toto and half one of those Flying Monkeys.

When people ask what kind of dog she is, I chuckle to myself because she’s not really a dog, and she knows that, too. But she is patient. And magic. No, really, she is.
Mazie is a six-year old, fifteen-pound, grayish pug/poodle/terrier/monkey princess with a crooked, aggressive-looking underbite that literally makes people gasp out loud. It’s not a bad gasp, like they’re horrified or anything like that, it’s just that….Hmm, you really need to see for yourself.

Not only does her face attract stares, so does her vehicle. Her Highness rides perched upon my walker for all the world to see and so that she can see more of the world. She’d get bored looking at shins all day, so she gets a ride with a view. Of course my walker also attracts stares and smiles everywhere we go.

When I was diagnosed with ALS in 2009, I decorated my walker with brightly colored bling, noisemakers, stuffed animals that sing and laugh and quack and….you get the idea. I wanted to break down barriers for those folks who might feel uncomfortable seeing and talking to me knowing that I have a cruel, fatal, ugly disease. And Mazie charmingly enhances the “welcome mat on wheels” I created. Everyone wants to talk to or about Mazie. Mazie is magic. No, really, she is.

In 2014, I was also diagnosed with metastatic neuroendocrine cancer, another cruel, fatal, ugly disease. She visited me in the hospital during my week stay after the surgery and cheered up my visitors and she gave all the staff a break from the seriousness, too. The cancer gives Mazie even more opportunities to help people smile – all the folks working and enduring chemotherapy at the Sutter Davis Infusion Center. Chemo won’t help my cancer, but I do get monthly injections and if I show up without Mazie, well, “Where’s Mazie ?” reverberates in the check in area. Geez !

Before I got the ALS and cancer, I was a 100% social animal. I worked with the public, performed for the public and I loved to have parties and bring different types of people together. Many people with these diseases slip into isolation for understandable reasons, but I knew that isolating would kill me. ( Yeah, yeah, I do use humor in addition to Mazie to keep smiling and laughing.)

Mazie’s cuteness cuts through discomfort, whatever kind it is. When people come to visit me, Mazie gets genuinely excited and jumps up and down and up again onto the futon where everyone loves to sit. Her exhuberance instantly sets the tone of the visit as happiness and gratitude settle into our hearts.

Mazie is magic. So what’s the trick ? A magician never tells, right ? Well, I don’t think Mazie knows she’s magic. And she has no idea how many lives she makes happier, how many tears she helps dry, and how many people feel loved when she greets them. That’s part of her magic. It’s pure. She asks for nothing in return. But I do believe she knows how happy she makes me. And that I get happy everytime we go someplace where I know people will smile and laugh and come talk to me and Mazie.

I love my life. I have everything I need. I’ve done everything I want to do. I am at peace with the cycle of living and dying. And I am comforted knowing that after I die, Mazie will still help people smile and laugh.
Mazie is magic. She really is.

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