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Friday, March 28, 2008

My Best Friend...Max

I lost my best friend this week. Yesterday, after being with me for some 11 years, my boy died of cancer. I was with him as he took his last breath, and admit I cried as he passed. He died at the vet, but at least before they could convince me to put him down, which would have been hard to do. He was in pretty bad shape though, and I petted his head, and somehow just knew when his time was up. He put his head up and moved it toward me and I just held his head as he died. He was a good boy! I love and miss him!
The truth is I wasn't always patient or nice to him, and I sure didn't spend enough time with him. Now I can't. He absolutely loved my wife and daughter both (cause they took such good care of him), and about anyone that ever met him, just adored him. He had a character and personality that was rare in a pet (or person for that matter), or at least he did to me. He was my boy after all. He rode across the U.S. in the back of my pickup truck, and he kept me from being lonely many a time in my life.

I got Max from a friend in the military who couldn't afford to take him to Hawaii. He got me to agree somehow not to give him away, and take care of him. I was not much of a "pet" person. Max was a double handful for me, because I was going through a separation/divorce myself, was a shift worker, and Max was not really house-trained in any way. He would go to the bathroom in the house or just about anywhere, and if you left food on the table untended, it would disappear. He got better over the years, but was never truly an indoor dog. We would bring him in the house, but he had to be somewhat supervised. I made a bed for him in the garage with a little heater, and he had a house in the backyard as well. My wife would tuck him in every night, which I used to complain that, "he's a dog!" I started doing it too when she wasn't home.

Max and I used to run together. Max was a Basset Hound with short legs, but he could could straight-up run when he was young. We would go out in the big field behind my house on the military base, and I would turn him loose. I would just start running at a full sprint, and his instinct to chase would overcome him, and he would chase me across the fields. It was so fun. I would try to veer left and right, and he would be right on my heels, trying to bite my pants leg to bring me down. If he caught me, he would start biting my leg even. He would chase squirrels and rabbits like crazy. In the early days, if he got away from me, he could be difficult to catch, because he would chase anything that moved. After awhile he got used to me, and stopped running away every time the front door stayed open too long. When we first came to VA from CA, he was so funny to see sliding around in the ice and snow. He made me laugh so hard sometimes. I wish he was still with us..

Goodbye, Max. You were the best and I love you very much. I hope I see you again someday...

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