Just a Dog…

(A repost from 2 years ago.  People die all the time and I rarely think of them, but Max I remember quite often with a smile and a tear)

He was just a dog…

His official AKC registered name is Maximus Gluteus but we knew him as Max.

He died the other day, taken all too soon in an unexpected way. He seemed as full of life on his last day as when we first saw him a mere nine years ago.

Max arrived at the cargo facility at Logan airport from his birth state of Kansas. Wrapped in a kennel big enough for a Pitbull, he looked like an undersized rat.

We had found him online and brought him to be a companion for our other Yorkie, Ralph.

He exceeded all expectations becoming not just a companion to Ralph, but a true member of the family.

This memorial is not meant to be sad, although the sadness has enveloped us since he passed away, but to celebrate all he gave of his life to brighten ours.

He was just a dog…

He brought a joy of living to wherever he was. His life was full of experiences and fun.

He traveled on planes, becoming a Florida dog for a time

He climbed hills in Connecticut and mountains in New Hampshire

He chased seagulls on the beach, squirrels in the backyard, and hunted any creature that dare invade HIS home. Make no mistake, wherever he lived was his home.

He had a sense of humor.

A door accidentally left open gave him the chance the snatch an onion from the closet. Eating what he wanted and leaving the rest for my daughter to find when she returned from work.

Several days later, he pretended there was something in the same closet. Scratching and pawing at the door. My daughter opened it, expecting to find a mouse. Max dashed in, grabbed another onion and hightailed it under a table, out of reach. Enjoying his snack.

He never cared much for toys, unlike Ralph who hoarded them. Max did take delight occasionally taking one of Ralph’s toys and running away with it. He would find a place in the sun, put the toy down at his paws, and dare Ralph to try to take it back.

Made Ralph crazy.

Max had his faults. He had no social skills with other dogs. He would attack anything. It was more fury and show then teeth but it could be embarrassing.

This also showed he had no fear. He was a five-pound bundle of fur, barely the size of a rabbit, with the heart of a lion.

If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I can picture Max as a lion. Poised on rock, mane flying in the breeze, roaring to scare everything around him.

Max would love that.

He was just a dog…whose passing made me cry. Yet knowing him, laughing at him, or just holding and petting him made every tear worth it.

I will miss him as long as I live. The sadness of his passing will fade, his memory and joy for life will not.

He was just a dog…Max


Watching Death Visit: Two perspectives

The day started as all the other ones. We woke just before the sunrise, ate a small meal, straightened our living area, and prepared to go out to gather provisions.

We headed in a different direction, as he thought we would have more success in an area we had not examined to this point. I was nervous, I do not like new, but he reassured me, and we headed off.

Within a very short time we had gathered more than we had done the whole day prior. Rushing back to carefully store it, we were excited and happy. After several trips back and forth we began storing items in our reserve areas, one can never have enough in the event of bad weather. There are times when you just can’t get out and reserves are necessary.

Having managed to put up an amount that would normally take a week to gather, we had time to relax and enjoy the warming sun.

I ran on ahead, and he followed. Sometimes he would race past and hide. Sometimes, he just followed wherever I led. It was enjoyable.

I ran on, he followed, we came to the edge of the grassy area and I continued on, dashing to the small area before the next expanse of grass and woods. He followed behind. We were happy.

I started to go towards the woods, crossing the hard packed ground, and then, as I stared to run, blackness…….


I was out for my morning walk, on the return trip, listening to my iPod. The podcast was a debate between Christopher Hitchens and the Reverend Al Sharpton regarding Hitchens’ Book “God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything”.

Hitchens had just answered a question regarding man’s need for ceremony and rituals.

I noticed two squirrels running along on the opposite side of the road, and then crossing to the center island. I knew with certainty I was about to see death visit.

The car came around the corner, the lead squirrel, as they are want to do, dashed into the roadway, tail raised, and was struck. It briefly waved its paws in the throes of death and ceased moving. I was sorry to see such a thing, not that I am a fan of squirrels but this particular one had not done anything as far I as I knew to warrant such a termination.

What struck me was the reaction of the other squirrel. It peered over the rise of the center island and spied its former companion. It rose on its hind legs and from where I was watching his front paws appeared to be almost folded, as if in prayer, almost ceremonial. He (or she, since I have no way to tell from my perspective) paused a moment, started to return from where he had come, turned around once more as if to reassure himself that the body was unmoving, and headed off.

I suppose every living creature has some manner of dealing with death. Is it ceremonial? I don’t know. But there was something there, in the way the squirrel paused and looked at the other.

Death visits, and demonstrates its ultimate power to those of us watching.

Some people would see meaning in the actions of the squirrel, sorrow for the loss of the companion, sadness in continuing on alone, resignation to the realities of life and death.

I think he was thinking, if there is such a thing as squirrel thoughts, “Great!” More nuts for me!