Fourteen years. That’s how long Max was with us.
We met him at a Humane Society shelter in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. The moment we saw his eyes from behind the stall gate, both my wife Audrey and I knew. He was then a three months old German shepherd mix.
Since then he’d faithfully follow us, through eight consecutive moves, across Countries and even on different continents. If he could have described himself, he would have probably started by pointing out that, yes, he was a…well-travelled dog…! Darn, if only canine Air Miles were available…!
Whenever we could not take him with us somewhere, though we always were lucky to find very special persons to tend to him while we were away, we’d feel guilty and apprehensive: despite everything, we’d feel like bad parents!!!
Otherwise…always with us, always with those sweet eyes looking at us intently, those floppy ears and his big nose, he truly made our lives special. So special, in fact, that life now, a mere week after his departure, is surreal. We walk in the house, fully expecting him to walk up to us and greet us back: “Hey you two, about time!”- Not anymore.
It’s taking us time to realize that he’s there, but only in spirit. His mobility, in the last few months had deteriorated to such a point where his hind legs would not allow him to stand, walk or otherwise feel like a normal, healthy dog would. Eating, drinking, going for walks, which he loved…it all had become a struggle.
No more plowing into deep, soft snow, no more swimming in the ocean, chasing a ball or his beloved Frisbee on a beach. No more cuddling on a sofa or on the floor. No more waking up, in the wee hours of the night, to warn us that… “Uh oh!!…Gotta go!!…Quick, put on whatever you can and fly down the stairs, out in the cold, so that I do not soil the carpet!! C’mon, move it daddy, what’s taking you so long?? Go, go, go!!” (Mommy was always faster…).
Yes, we will miss that too, believe it or not: we will miss how gentle and, yes, considerate he always was. Can you say that about a dog? Well…yeah!! We can.
Maxy, you’ve left a deep void, yet Mama and I are very grateful for how very special, warm and complete you made us feel for all the years you were with us.
We shall meet again, Bambino!!!
We wish to extend a very special thanks to Dr. Larry Magnuson and the “Caring Pathways” Team, for the care and compassion they have shown us throughout this difficult time and to allow our friend Max to depart with dignity and love.