Sit! ... Stay!......I said “SIT!”.......now stay......no, no, no...don’t lick my hand......stupid dog.
Listen Max, I realize that you aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed. I mean ever since we rescued you as a puppy found abandoned in the park, we knew this wasn’t going to be easy. As I am sure you are aware by now, it has been much harder than we thought.
Much like when Forrest Gump uttered, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”. It appears that we got you.
After numerous gnawed-on pieces of furniture, countless shoes destroyed and enough holes in the back yard to make it look like a used minefield, we still have you. Damn-it, you do tend to grow on people.
Which is why I have a favor to ask of you buddy. Don’t make me have to put you down. When your time comes, just pass away in your sleep. Don’t get hit by a car, or ingest rat poison or break your back by jumping out of a moving vehicle.
I couldn’t do that. After spending every morning over the past year, playing fetch with you, it is something that I just can’t contemplate. It is evident that you literally ‘live’ for those 20 minutes each morning where you get to run as fast as you can across an open field in order to catch up to that tennis ball. Then, without hesitation, you bring it back to me. The look in your face is absolute and utter joy every time you do it. For those that say dogs can’t smile, they obviously have never seen you play fetch. It is just you and me and that tennis ball, nothing else matters.
In your persistent, stubborn, duface sort of way, you have made me appreciate that time as well. It is during those ball throwing sessions that you have taught me that there are more important things in life than the chaos that constantly surrounds the human world.
As long as you want to keep bringing that ball back to me, I’ll keep throwing it.
However, I can’t snuff out that sort of joy. I just don’t have it in my. So do me this favor good buddy. Either outlive me, or pass away in your sleep while you dream of chasing a rabbit through a thicket.
See ya tomorrow at 6:30am, with the tennis ball, in the park. Bring your game face.
Well, Max didn't keep up his end of the bargain. Today, October 6, 2015, I had to put him down. His demise was terminal liver failure, which was either genetic or the result of trauma that he received as an abandoned puppy before he became part of our pack.
Far from being a sad day, it has given me pause to reflect on exactly what this canine has taught me. As the original post from 2011 states, he taught me a lot. Maximus (Max) was that muse that came to me whether I wanted him or not, and he was damned if he wasn't going to teach me a lesson(s).
Life is to be lived and it is a shear and utter waste to focus on the little things. Walking a river bank, fetching a ball or hiking in the mountains is the ONLY reason we are here. Max knew that, he was constantly dumbfounded why I could not figure that out. So he channeled his boundless energy toward making me understand it. It took me a few years, but I finally caught on.
And for that my four legged friend, I will be eternally grateful.
While it was traumatic and emotional to lose him, I realized in the end I could never see him growing old. It wasn't in his nature or personality to slow down. He had to much wonderment and zest for life.
Like all living creatures that have touched our lives in some way, he will live on and he will burn brightly on every forest trail, or deserted beach.
While Max was a very active dog he was well trained. During his training he was given a release command that would set him free from a sit or stay. As he took his last breath, I whispered it in his ear.
Good Dog............A Very Good Dog Indeed.
(Max, as I will always remember him, on our road trip together in 2013)