So began the business of healing. Every night Hamish would make Max a mix of chicken and rice to help him gain weight, we brushed his coat repeatedly and we loved him. Personality flourished in quick succession to adoration and he cemented himself into our lives.
He's had a good life, and he shared it with us.
|Max - the day he passed away|
When I was pregnant the smell of Max drove me wild, he was always a stinker. However, he would come to me in the evenings and gently rest his head on my swelling belly and hold it there. When the children were born, one by one; he was a dog in shock and he would make a beeline through the house swerving around the children with a nonchalance and swagger of ownership and pretense, simply put there were no children in his eyes and it took a good while for him to admit their existence.
At Iggy's first birthday Max become the stuff of suburban family folklore when he not only gobbled half the birthday cake in an unguarded moment, but also when Iggy, nappy whipped off and poohed and Max gobbled that up as well in amongst the well-wishers who were quick to abandon their plates food; yes we are white trash and so it seems was Max!
Once cemented firmly in our lives Max showed fierce loyalty and resulting separation anxiety, his hysterical barking and distress outside Preston Safeway was memorable, for us and staff and shoppers, people would gather around him as he yelled and screamed like a dog abandoned and I would be forced to either leave him there or nonchalantly break the crowd barrier with my huge belly, bend awkwardly and untie him while avoiding public eye contact and walk him home again. Now days I care much less about the opinions of others, as always did Max, over Easter on his final family holiday we parked him outside the Moonembel pub where he carried on despite his 16 years of age, barking and whining even though we came back, we always came back.
Max has picnicked at Hanging Rock, Coburg Lake and swam the length of Melbourne's Merri Creek; he has swam at Williamstown, Altona, Sandy Point, Walkerville and Deb's dam in Barkly many times, but his heart belonged to Merri Creek; and to hell and back he would follow Hamish, and I have never seen a dog more devoted.
Max seemed to be able to eat with all of his face at one time, his presence still haunts Oscar who growls through his entire dinner for fear of theft; even though Max hasn't eaten in the same space as him for years.
Max was a noble dog, he has always protected the household, from the flighty bantam chicken to Princess Chocolate the cat, he caught many mice, killed lots of pigeons and fought off other dogs, cats and intruders in his day.
|Max's last day...|
Animals teach us so much about ourselves, they trust us implicitly and make us trustworthy in turn.
Today we put Max too sleep forever; the children, Hamish and me. His ragged breathing gently ceased as he looked intently at our faces not breaking eye contact until his heart and mind slowed to a stop.
Goodbye Max. You were so loved and will be remembered. He'll be cremated and we'll spread his ashes at his favorite place along Merri Creek in Coburg.