All Dogs Go to Heaven
They say that all dogs go to heaven. If heaven really does exist, then Max definitely belongs there.
Max joined our family in 2000. I worked at a dog friendly start-up where several of my coworkers brought their dogs to work every day. Not surprisingly the dogs got along better than the people. Not wanting to be left out and not wanting to seem needy by wanting to pet the other dogs all the time, I decided I needed one of my own.
I became friends with Audrey, the HR manager. She had three golden retrievers. I wanted one for our family so she gave me the name of her breeder.
We met Max one evening, he was probably around 8 weeks old. My wife, kids, and I fell in love with him. I knew he was going to be a character when the first thing he did once we got him home was to play in his water dish. He loved water and no matter where we went that had water, he would want to play in it.
He rode with me daily to and from work. He always wanted to be in my lap. In the office he was well-behaved and loved by all.
He was a wonderful companion for my family. He was patient With the kids when they were young, even when they stuck their fingers in his nose.
Max was well-trained, he could sit, lay down, and speak. Making him speak was one of my favorite things to do. He also loved to play fetch.
Being a golden retriever, he always wanted to bring me something when I came home. As soon as he saw me walk through the door, he would search frantically for something to bring. Mostly it was stray socks that he had picked up as he wandered around the house. I think one time he even got three tennis balls in his mouth and brought them to me.
Max loved attention and even though we showered attention on him, when other people were around, he acted like he never got any. One of my favorite things about Max was this noise he used to make when we were giving him attention. It was a cross between a growl and a whine, which when it came out sounded a lot like Chewbacca.
Max loved tacos, which was evident by the many times I would come home to my wife and she would tell me that Max had eaten my dinner. No food was safe.
Sadly, I lost my friend this past Saturday. He had been acting strange, slept more than usual, and had difficulty getting up. We took him for what we thought was just going to be a routine exam. Although, I think somewhere deep inside, I knew it was going to be bad.
We left max for an hour to have X-rays and blood work done. Upon returning we found out that Max was worse off than we had thought. He had developed a tumor in his spleen that ruptured and he was bleeding internally. He was very anemic with a red blood cell count of 16 when it should have been more than double that.
We were devastated. Surgery wasn’t feasible because of max’s age, so our only option was to put him down.
My wife and I went home to get the rest of the family so that they could say goodbye to one of their closest friends.
We waited in the procedure room. All of us decided to be with Max until the end and we each took turns holding max and saying our goodbyes.
Once the vet administered the anesthesia, if was only a matter of seconds until she said that he was gone. He lay peacefully on the blanket with his head over one leg just as if he was resting at home. He was at peace and suffered no longer.
We each said our goodbyes again and left the room.
Max knew when we needed him. He had this habit of interrupting my work, by throwing his head and nose under my forearm to throw my hand away from the keyboard. I would pet him, then he would lay on the floor next to me. If I got up, he followed. No matter where I ended up, I’d look down and there he was. Max never left my side and I didn’t leave his.
I was the last to leave the procedure room. I reached down, ruffled his fur, and told him I loved him.
I miss you buddy. Have some tacos for us, wherever you have gone.