I have blogged before about our furry friends and how special the unconditional love they give us is. But this is the first time I’m going to tell you the story of one of my own pets. In fact, my only pet since I left my home at 18. A year after James and I married, our friend Deb had a litter of unintentional puppies. And, as every Machiavellian dog owner who finds themselves in that situation ultimately does, she invited James and I over to “see” the puppies. OK, if someone invites you over to “see” the puppies, you should immediately read into that “ha ha suckers…your ass is taking a puppy home.”
Well, James, always the pillar of strength declared in the car on the way over “We are NOT getting a dog. I’m on the road all the time, and you are at work. We are JUST GOING TO LOOK.”
Yes, Master. As you command.
Yeah right. So Deb’s mutt dog had gotten it on with this full blooded blue heeler and the puppies, for the most part, looked like blue heelers. Adorable. But there was this one black and tan girl that kept crawling over to James and putting her nose on his hand. On the way home, the man with what turns out to be the least puppy resistance in the world says, “We can get that black and tan dog, I mean if you want it.”
If I want it. Yep.
That day 15 years ago was when Maxie entered our lives. What a great dog she was. Fast as hell, the dog would literally herd squirrels into the back door if we left it open. And when Claire was born, she would let that kid pull her tail or use her as a pillow. Amazing tolerance.
As Maxie got older, her face got more and more gray. She spent her declining years retraining the everyone around her to take care of her. Example, only Claire could put her on the bed. Every night she would go to Claire’s room and do a little dance until Claire stopped texting or facetiming or whatever, and picked her up and put her on the bed. If I tried, she would walk away.
She trained Shawna to give her Fritos, her favorite treat. Maxie would crunch them so loudly it would make Shawna laugh hysterically. It got to the point that Shawna would come in the front door. Maxie would greet her. They would walk straight to the kitchen to the chip cabinet.
She trained every house guest to let her in and out at will. She would literally go back and forth through the door as if testing how long any given stranger would tolerate a geriatric dog manipulating them. Then, when the finally said “no”- she would lay down on the hard woods and smile, as if to say “dumb ass, I never really needed to go out.”
She was the queen, right up til the end.
In the middle of the night last Wednesday, Maxie yelped so loudly I went to the end of the bed to quiet her. The next day, it was apparent she’d had a stroke. Fifteen years, no vet bills, and the dog exited with as much grace and as quickly as my grand mother had. We had to tell Claire when she got home from camp, which sucked. But, even Claire knew the time was coming.
All she could say to me was “I just wish I could see my dog one more time.”
Frankly, so do i.
So I’ll end with this. Maxie, you were a great dog and you loved everyone in this family unconditionally for 15 years. I know that you would want us to have hamburgers and pizza (and maybe a pot roast) in your honor and celebrate your life. I also know that somewhere out there is the next dog who needs a great kid to love it. And you will send her to Claire.
And what a lucky dog that will be!