Max came to us by mistake, and it was a wonderful mistake. We had lost our deaf Jack Russell at the vet to a heart attack. A few weeks later, I made a wrong turn, ended up by the adoption agency and Max was there, but he had already been adopted. The telephone rang. It was the adopter, asking if she could get her deposit back as she has two small children and thought Max was too exuberant for them. The attendant looked at us, we nodded vigorously that we'd take Max. By the grace of God, line two rang. It was the director, who I knew. The attendant explained the unusual situation to her and a very affirmative YES rang out. She wanted me to have Max. I had worked in animal rescue, so we left with Max, a new collar, all his papers, food, toys and his cage (because he was used to sleeping in it).|
We had the joy of having Max for 15 years. He hated the car at first, but hated being left at home worse, so he got over that fast. He was a very smart dog. I swear he could read minds. Jingle the keys and he knew it was either 'walkies' or a car ride. He kept me to a tight schedule, soon abandoning his cage for my bed. Breakfast was at 7AM sharp, lunch at noon, dinner at 4:30PM (and a second dinner at 6:30PM when I started caring for my elderly Dad).
As my Dad aged, Max aged with him. They became inseparable. They both had heart conditions and cancer. Neither cared as long as the other was around. Max's heart condition worsened last March (2022). But he kept going after echo-cardiograms and all sorts of tests. He loved his vets. I swear, he knew they were helping him. About six weeks ago he developed a mast cell stage 3 tumor. None of the vets I spoke with was willing to remove the tumor because his heart was so bad. Now it was my turn to take care of him as it impeded his rear legs. I carried him, held him, comforted him, and he did the same for me. If he could talk, he was saying, 'Oh, nothing wrong here, let ME take care of you".
On August 18, 2022 after several tearful attempts, I called his vet. It was time. Max was not suffering, but he was getting uncomfortable. His vet cleared her schedule and told me to come right down. My Dad had a horrible time with my decision. His last words to Max and me were - "Don't do it". But, from more than 25 years in animal rescue, I knew this was that short window when Max was okay before pain and suffering would become overwhelming. Everyone at the vet came to say goodbye to Max. We sat on the floor on soft blankets after his vet ever so gently numbed his left front leg and inserted a catheter. We all patted max, as she administered three medications for pain, sedation, and the to stop his heart. We all cried and hugged each other. A post mortum revealed fluid in his abdomen and the mast cell tumor was restricting or had infiltrated his rectum.
I always 'joked' with his vet that I felt like I was 'rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic'. She hugged me tight and said I wasn't. "The band was still playing. You picked just the right time" (Again, that short period before pain and suffering.)
As with all my animals, I feel they came to me from no where and they should go back to that place. His ashes will be scattered with the seven other dogs that I had the honor of caring for, like I did Max. What I didn't anticipate was how much I'd miss him. Both my Dad and I keep 'seeing' him everywhere. Of all the dogs and cats (and a Shetland pony) I cared for, Max was the one who became a huge part of our family. I miss him so much in every way that I can't stop crying. But that's my pain. Max is now free of pain, his body restored to health and maybe he'll keep up the trick I taught him in his last weeks - barking. In 15 years, Max never barked, but I taught him to bark when he needed help and he'd bark! I should go before I flood the place with tears.
God Bless you my dearest friend, Max. You're in my heart forever...
Psalm 34:18 - The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
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