Monday, April 7, 2014

Max's Eulogy

A few years ago, my brother-in-law Kevin rushed into his burning home to save his dog Echo. Both of them survived the incident with the only damage being some burnt paws and/or sneakers and some smoke inhalation. In a similar story of canine related human heroics, my friend Patrick walked onto, then into, a half frozen pond to save his dog Moose who had fallen through the ice. My personal heroic story doesn't involve fire nor ice. Back in 2010, I rushed into the Burlington Emergency Veterinarian armed with only a credit card and saved my dog Max. It was one of those awful experiences that you dread as a pet owner. How much money do you spend to save your pet?  If I were a millionaire, I'd spend millionaires to save one of my dogs. Since I am not a millionaire, I have a limit. Like Kevin and Patrick, I'd like to think I'd risk my life, but risking my financial life is different, is it not? We spent an obscene amount of money to save him that day. My crazy yellow lab ate a piece of wire that was stuck in his intestines. They had to cut the wire out the piece of intestine out and reattach them. The first time they did the surgery, it failed. The cost of the surgeries, the cost of his rehab at the vet and then the meds and prescription food we had to feed him the rest of his life, it came out to an amount that I would not like to share. I know too many people that are struggling financially. I'd feel uncomfortable sharing the amount of money I spent on this dog. We had to cancel our trip to Korea and we rolled the balance into a home equity loan when we built an addition on our house.

Max lived another three years so I have no regrets. Everyday he lived he became more cost effective. He made me laugh everyday and I don't think I am exaggerating. The stress relief alone made him a worthwhile companion and investment. Joy is priceless. Every time I lose a pet, I am amazed at how it affects me. The loss is substantial. I look for him by habit. I reach for him in bed, he was like a living pillow. When I get up from my desk, I instinctively step over him. He used to follow me from room to room so he was always under my feet.

When my wife was a preschool teacher, she had to do home visits for kids that were aged birth to three. She would go into people's home and spend quality time with the kids while they were too young for school. Max was a pet in one of these homes. She bonded with him. So when the family needed to give him up, they asked her if she could take him. We had two dogs already so it wasn't that easy to take him in but he bonded with Rex and Cokie just fine. Two people having three dogs is not a very good plan. Dogs should never outnumber the humans in a household. Adding Max to any mix of dogs seemed to have a multiplicative affect because he was always so excitable. He was six at the time.

Like most labs, he was very needy. If there is someone home all day or if you have children, the lab is the perfect dog. Max was all this and then some. He had a thing for carrying things. If you left your shoes around, one of them would disappear on you.  He didn't destroy them, he'd just carried them around. When the snow melted, you would always find one of your slippers under the snow. He also had a thing for puddles. No matter how small the puddle or muddy, a centimeter deep, he'd lay in it. If you let him off leash, expect to hose him down when you got home. He greeted me every time I came home, usually carrying something, sometimes something he just pulled from my recycle bin.

He was my pillow, my doorbell, my greeter, my protector, my anti-depressant, my entertainer, my shadow, my travel companion and friend. It will be a while before anything is the same. There is a huge hole to fill.

1 comment:

Olga Hebert said...

I am so sorry, Mark.