Me and MacDuff with Win and Max and Katie
“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” ― Roger A. Caras
My friend called this morning while I was working my way through a list of things I needed to get done in preparation for my annual sojourn in New England. And suddenly there was something a whole lot more important to do than refilling prescriptions and making appointments to have the car serviced. Win had had to put her beloved Labrador retriever, Max, to rest today.
There are lots of losses more heartbreaking than losing a much-loved pet and I’ve experienced too many of them, so I know. But somehow when that joy-filled, unconditional-loving, welcoming presence in one’s life is not longer there, the hole left behind is incredibly big. We know going into the relationship that our pets’ lifespans are far shorter and we will lose them one day, but still we welcome them into our lives and our hearts. And we are so much richer for it. Saying goodbye is hard, but to never have experienced that kind of unstinting, tail-wagging devotion is unthinkable (for me at least and for my friend Win.)
A dog doesn’t care how rich or poor you are, if you’re having a bad hair day or have just had a total make-over. They are not impressed with how important you might be in your world – to them you are the world. They accept you just as you are, joyful to play whenever you’re up for it, willing to be a quiet companion when you can’t. If you’re excited, then so are they. If you’re sad, they offer their silent assurances with a nudge or a lick. When you’re lonely, they curl up close by to keep you company. They love you without judgment and that’s rare in this world we live in where standards are everywhere and judgment is swift and often uncompromising.
But now sweet, lovable Max is gone.
MacDuff went with me to pay our respects and he offered his usual body-wriggling, so-glad-we-met greeting. But he was far more philosophical, easily diverted by new scents that needed checking out once he’d taken a good sniff of the blanket Max had rested on and realized he was no longer there. For me – not so much. I know my friend will go home tonight to a house where there is no Max to greet her at the door with a happy wag and a look of eager expectation in his brown eyes. He won’t be there to join her for a walk around the neighborhood, or ask to be helped onto her bed to curl up nearby when she sleeps. Or in this case, lays awake remembering Max as a puppy. Remembering his joy at the beach, swimming and frolicking with his doggy friends, or all those many days and nights of just being there, a faithful, loving companion.
“Dogs leave paw prints on our lives and our souls, which are as unique as fingerprints in every way.” ― Ashly Lorenzana
RIP – Max
You will be missed.