As a young dog Max was a constant mischief maker. Oh, it was nothing serious, but he always took a morning run and would return home with various prizes, food of course, often with tell tale signs of where they came from. Packs of donuts, McDonald's cartons, or just a loaf of bread were some of the prizes he gathered. We kept him in a large, free roaming fenced in area but he always found a way to get out with some of his friends. Afterwards, he loved to take a snooze in the barn.
His best friend was Kahuna, a cat who is also now gone and as they both aged, they would lie on the porch together and I really think they were reminiscing their younger years. Max was always the gentleman with Kahuna and with people, except for one thing: he was a major league sniffer. But once he checked you out he would usually just lie beside the chair and participate quietly in whatever conversation was taking place. In all the years we had him, he only showed aggression once and it was toward me as I was hitting golf balls in our open meadow. We quickly realized that Max had obviously been beaten in that past home, so once I put the club down, he wagged his tail and came to me. I never picked it up again when he was nearby.
After many good years, he developed cancer and began to slow down. We knew that he would tell us when it was time to go and he did. One day he just decided he no longer would stand up and he had a look on his face as if he was telling us it was time to go. We realized that he was in pain and so, he was given his final rest and we buried him right here in a spot where he loved to rest. We think about him often whenever we pass that spot. Though he crossed the rainbow bridge nearly five years ago, we still remember him and it brings a smile to our faces.
And you know what? I read an article where Billy Graham, the great evangelist, was asked if dogs, even though they do not have a soul, would be in heaven. Mr. Graham very wisely penned a response in which he said that if dogs are part of your family and you love them, the become part of your heart and mind. He was of the opinion that since they were part of you, when you depart this earth they will be there in heaven with you. I trust that will be true when our day comes.
Dogs, and especially rescue dogs, and their masters: It all happens because of love between we humans and our dogs. It's a mutual attraction that grows stronger with time. We are so much better off because it does.
Monday: Gretchen, the little dog with a huge heart.