for the past couple of years, my family decided that instead of traditional christmas presents, we would save our money for donations to certain causes. much less stressful than last minute shopping just to buy something, and much more meaningful. this year i decided to donate to the humane society. i just finished writing my card and my check.
we got max in 1997, when i was in 7th grade. when we picked him up, the woman at the shelter told us he was a stray who had never been claimed. he was friendly, and she noted that he had been there awhile (meaning he was about to be put down). we took him home that day. he was so dirty that when my dad picked him up at the groomer’s, he thought they had given him the wrong dog.
from day 1, max tore at our hearts. he showed signs of previous abuse, but after awhile, warmed to the family. he quickly became dad’s best friend, waiting for him to come home from work, his tail darkening the white wall by the door with each passing day. they wrestled on the bed when dad came home from work, then he hopped downstairs to beg for dinner from mom. we were all a sucker for him. he loved tennis balls, his rubber duckie, and most of all, SNOW. his favorite thing to do was bounce around in it, digging holes and shoving his nose in it until his face was covered in snow. if you wiped it off, he went back for more. he would run up his hill, and wiggle on his back all the way to the bottom. he loved his life and he loved us. he got depressed when dad would go out of town on business for more than one night, and left nasty surprises when my parents went on day trips and left him at home. he snuck dad’s breakfast and ate my pizza and bit the mailman.
max passed away a few years ago, rubber duck by his side. my parents are remodeling the house, and there is still dog hair EVERYWHERE. there are traces of him on the white walls, the places where he used to lay have shadows of his shape; the landing on the stairs, by the kitchen air vent and the spot by the garage door where he was always waiting for his family to come home. every time i go back to my parents house, it feels like something’s missing. every time i get together with them, i want to ask “how’s maxie?”
max was the best thing to ever happen to our family. we gave him 11 extra years of life, but he gave us so much more. he brought us closer and melted our hearts. sometimes you would forget he was there, and then there was a cold wet nose flipping your arm back and over his head.