Maggie the Wunderdog, a popular Instagram personality, brings joy and happiness to people as a therapy dog in the United Kingdom.
When Kasey Carlin, a British dog behaviorist, arrived at Heathrow Airport almost three years ago to meet a rescue dog that had been flown in from Lebanon, she was initially convinced that the airport staff had made a mistake and brought her the incorrect dog. Anticipating signs of trauma due to the dog’s history of severe abuse, Carlin was surprised not to observe any.
Carlin, 27, shared with TODAY, “There’s this adorable blonde dog joyfully lifting her feet up in the air. Whenever she meets someone, her first instinct is to run towards them and affectionately rub against their body, just like a cat would. It was such a heartwarming sight that my mind couldn’t even comprehend it. She is simply the friendliest creature.”
It’s a reмarkaƄle personality trait considering all Maggie endured Ƅefore her rescue.
“They subjected her to cruel treatment by utilizing a BB gun as a means of target practice. They immobilized her by tying her up and proceeded to shoot her, resulting in approximately 200 pellets scattered from her nose to her chest, with some embedded in her shoulders. The majority of the pellets inflicted severe damage to her face,” Carlin recounted. “To add to her suffering, they mercilessly removed her eyes and caused a broken jaw. Before further harm could be inflicted, someone intervened. Tragically, she was heavily pregnant during this ordeal, and none of the puppies she was carrying survived.”
Carlin was informed about Maggie, also known as “Angie,” who was approximately 5 years old at the time, through a post on Facebook. Despite being an active fosterer, Carlin believed that she couldn’t accommodate another animal as she had recently adopted a dog with behavioral problems.
But Maggie’s situation proʋed increasingly desperate.
“She had no one who wanted her,” she stated. “With just six days left before her scheduled flight and no destination, they would have had to postpone the flight or she would have been placed in kennels. However, I couldn’t bear the thought of a helpless little blind dog being sent to kennels.”
Originally, the intention was never to officially adopt Maggie, only to provide temporary foster care for her – a decision that seemed sensible at first. Maggie and Mishka, Carlin’s recently acquired dog, did not initially get along. Mishka had a troubled past, having been confined to a crate by her previous owners, causing her to display aggression towards both dogs and humans. However, Carlin dedicated herself to working diligently every day to facilitate a harmonious relationship between them, and eventually, they became inseparable best friends.
When Carlin realized that Maggie hadn’t received any adoption offers, she made the decision to permanently adopt her. Carlin also began training Maggie to navigate the world without her sense of sight.
While Maggie found joy in making new friends during her walks, her past continued to haunt her dreams.
Carlin, with tears streaming down her face, shared, “In the past, she would appear in my dreams and suddenly wake me up with piercing screams. I cannot adequately describe the sheer horror of hearing a dog scream. I would comfort her and say, ‘Maggie, it’s alright. It’s alright.’ However, there is now a noticeable distinction in her dreams. She runs in her dreams. Thankfully, these terrifying nightmares that used to plague her are now infrequent – the last one occurred about six months ago. She is content and happy now.”
Maggie’s happiness partly arises from her role as a therapy dog, as she has a deep affection for people. Her main focus is interacting with seniors suffering from dementia, but she has also visited police officers, firefighters, and schoolchildren, spreading an important anti-bullying message to them.
Carlin mentioned that during their visits to schools, they engage in a fun activity where the children create small headbands with a single ear on them. Carlin finds it adorable to witness all the kids proudly sporting these headbands with a cute little “Maggie” ear.
Now that pandemic restrictions are easing up in the United Kingdom, Carlin is optimistic that Maggie can resume visiting hospital patients. Just a while ago, they had the opportunity to visit a care home where Maggie had the joy of reuniting with Anne, one of her beloved residents.
“Even though it has been a year of lockdown, she hasn’t had the chance to see Anne. But when we took her to meet Anne, she knew exactly where to go. Despite being completely blind, she will guide you directly to Anne’s room first and then she can visit other residents,” Carlin explained. “She simply wants to spread love to everyone.”
Maggie is both trusting and loving. She gracefully walks in flawless heel, even when off leash, even on the bustling streets of London. When Carlin calls her dog from a distance across a field, Maggie joyfully runs towards her.
“She lacks awareness of what lies ahead, but she’ll continue running unless I intervene by instructing her to halt, turn left, or turn right,” she remarked. “Consider how frightful that situation can be. I wouldn’t undertake such a feat for anyone, but she does. She simply perseveres without hesitation. She’s truly invincible.”
Carlin was inspired by Maggie’s exuberance for life to pen a book called “The Miraculous Life of Maggie the Wunderdog,” which has garnered over 491,000 followers on Maggie’s Instagram page.
Maggie’s popularity has enabled her to raise over 40,000 British pounds for dog charities. In addition, she actively assists in finding homes for pets with disabilities. Carlin, who manages Maggie’s social media pages, not only showcases these dogs but also fosters them and eventually adopts them. One of their recent additions is Millie, a dog with four bullets lodged in her skull and a missing nose.
Carlin stated that she considers Maggie, Millie, and Mishka to be “perfect” in terms of their behavior, despite the challenges they have faced. She emphasized that as long as they are free from pain and content, their physical appearance holds no significance to her.
Her hope is that individuals who are inspired by Maggie’s story will contemplate adopting overlooked pets, specifically older dogs and those with disabilities.
“She’s become such a desirable dog now, with over half a million people willing to adopt her at a moment’s notice,” she stated. “Every dog has the potential to be amazing. It’s just a matter of investing time and effort to comprehend their capabilities, acknowledge their boundaries, and cultivate a strong connection. Once you achieve that, they transform into exceptional companions. Maggie exemplifies all these qualities effortlessly.”