Saturday, May 1, 2010

Goodbye my sweet Max

                                                1995? - 2010

Things I’ll miss:

Wrapping my arms around his thick neck in a big bear hug and burying my face in his great mane.

The way he melted hearts with a look and quietly, just by being there, made everyone feel at ease, important, and loved.

Our slow strolls down the road, just Max and me, his lion-like front paws striding out with purpose while his wheels squeaked and crunched over gravel. He always walked tall, ears pointed skyward, nose at the ready, before veering sharply left or right, without notice, to revel in whatever smell reeled him in.

Kissing the top of his wide black nose, then using my knuckles to rub his snout vigourously, while he pushed back against the pressure and closed his eyes in contentment.

The black freckles on top of his right front paw.

His blatant refusal to mope about anything.

The way he curled his lips when Murdoch came within three feet of him. It made him look terribly fearsome, even with hardly any teeth, but I always laughed because I knew Max didn’t have a mean bone in his body. Well, maybe one but it had Murdoch’s name etched on it.

Watching him trundle down the road on his own in his wheelchair just being a dog.

Hearing Morgan’s voice call enthusiastically, “Hello, Maxwell!” when he walked past Max’s bed. Each time I imagined Max staring back wide-eyed, happy to be noticed.

The way his coat changed colour depending on the weather. On clear sunny days his fur shone the creamy caramel of a melting ice cream sundae. When it was overcast the black markings that outlined his features became darker, making his eyes more intense, his face more striking. After the rain when tree trunks were dark grey, almost black, and the leaves brighter green and the road a rich chocolate brown, he glowed a deep warm copper as though lit from within.

His enthusiasm for life.

The way his tall, velvety ears, combined with his long, regal nose and a pair of searching brown eyes gave Max a permanently pensive look.

The weight of his head pushed against my leg in greeting or just because.

His eager little face staring at me first thing in the morning or when I came home from work, instantly energized, with anticipation pouring off him because he knew we were going out soon.

Listening to long, deep breaths fill every corner of his lungs as he slipped into an all-encompassing, contented sleep in the quiet of the evening.

Watching him plow, almost obliviously, through everything in his path to get to something he wanted. It was the greatest feeling in the world when that something was me.

The way he made me forget about a bad day just by looking into his eyes. He reminded me constantly to live for this moment, right now, to be thankful for everything I have, and to hold kindness and compassion in my heart even when it seems the entire world is against me.

Mostly, I’ll just miss his big, beautiful spirit in my life. I don’t think I’ll ever meet anyone like him again - of any species.

Rest in peace my beautiful boy.


  1. What Heather isn't telling you is that Max went to sleep for the last time in her arms, at his home. So loved and cared for that words could do it no justice.

    What Heather isn't telling you is that piece of her went with Max, to the place where good dogs go, waiting for the day when they will see you again.

    What Heather is telling you is that Max was an anchor against a turbulent world, that wants us to go faster and faster. To leave the weak and the lame behind, to favour technology over hearts and minds. A world that we never felt a part of...Well I did at times, Heather has rejected that life since she was in kindergarten (seriously :) ).

    I think one thing she loved about Max, at all times was his ability to "just be Max". He never tried to be anything he wasn't..

    He became her best friend. Max the wise old man, the one who didn't let the world change him, or bring him down no matter what.

    Yes Max at times, I did not have time for you the way Heather did, that is my loss.(I am making changes in your honour in that dept)

    However in the last few days we had together, while we both ate Blueberry pie (who knew Max loved Blueberry pie) I was reminded that there was so much room for me to be a better man. Room for me to slow down and live life in the spaces that most people walk on past.

    In your last few days Max, you taught me to love like I never knew I could.

    What Max is telling me is that I am the luckiest guy alive to be surrounded by so many lives, especially someone as rare, and genuine as Heather.

    Rest in peace my sweet boy, you won't just be missed, there is a vacancy in this house that will not be filled.

    All my love son.


  2. On Friday,I thought of you, Heather and Morgan, and how you were handling that inevitable day. I can see by these memories that you held, and continue to hold, brave Max in love and reverence. He taught you much, and all by example, and by your passionate writing you keep him alive and pass on his wise and quiet strength to us all. I never knew him, but both of you, so lifted by knowing him, slip Max, a living Max, into my heart. Writing about grief,the loss of loved ones, Aristotle urged us to transform our grief into a small fish, a fish that swims in only one chamber of the human heart, giving us smiling joy and not just dark sadness. Max will swim forever in your hearts - may your memories of him always be sweet and life-giving.
    You are such unusual people - Max was blessed to have known you both.