MaxMemories of Max...

Written in 2004 by Max's family.

One of our adopters submitted this story about a previous furry family member and the joy he brought to their family. Max passed away in 1996, but even now, in 2004, Max is still fresh in their minds. We are happy they have shared Max's story with us.

This is the first time I've written anything like this, but I feel I need to. Max died at the vet's office today around 2:00 pm. He gave us such joy and good company that I want to share it with those who made it possible

We picked him up from West Suburban Humane Society mid-March, 1991. The sign on his cage read "Husky/Shepherd Mix, 2-3 years old Male, Housebroken, Calm, Quiet Dog, Loves to Jog". His owners had to give him up because they were moving to a small apartment. The weather was cold and crummy and when we put Max in the back seat of the car, he cried all the way home.

Within two weeks, he had the run of the house. Dave, my husband, brought home some toys and Max quickly became attached to a yellow, squeaky football. We began to realize that Max was really a gentle soul who rarely barked or put up a fuss. He never chewed, didn't have accidents in the house and headed for the "driver's seat" every time he got in the car. When not allowed to drive, Max resigned himself to hanging his nose out the window, taking in as many sniffs as possible and slobbering on the window.

In August of 1991, my husband had a bad car accident. I came home that Friday , and of course, he wasn't home. I took Max out for his walk and he seemed particularly interested in a nearby lawn where some dog food had spilled. I found out later it had been the scene of the accident. When we got back from our walk, the call came from the hospital. Max knew something was wrong and didn't want me to leave the house without him. When I got home that night we both cried and hugged.

By 1992, Max was putting on some weight and he began having accidents in the house. We took him to the vet, and after many tests, found out he was diabetic...he had to be given insulin twice a day for the rest of his life. Max also began to develop cataracts, but could still find his way around the house, the yard and the neighborhood, and even though he was never big on "playtime" he was always good company...even when he was ill.

He didn't like parties--stealing chicken wings off the coffee table was his way saying he would like his own quiet house back, and one day when I sitting on my bed crying, he sat up and licked my face until I stopped. He was very protective of myself and my husband and always wanted to be close to us. He could give us a handshake or a kiss; but when there was food involved he would usually cheat on the kissing. My husband taught him to open the cabinet where his treats were stored, and on day he retrieved and dined on an entire box of Snausages. He also learned how to steal treats out of your back pocket as you walked around the house, and even with cataracts, he expected bones to be hidden in and around the bed before everyone went to sleep. His sense of smell always found the bones.

His vision was worsening and he eventually had such trouble walking that I took him back to the vet. Max's platelets were down and his white blood cell count was up. The clinic cat, whose name was Al, befriended Max and used to cuddle up with him at night to sleep. Max came to depend on his company whenever my husband and I were not there to visit.

Before we were forced with the difficult decision of taking away Max's pain, he passed away peacefully in his sleep. Al the cat stayed with him the whole day. The vet said he never saw anything like it.

To this day we look around the yard and the house and think of Max. My husband and I will remember his straight legs, curly tail, wolfy eyes and strong muscular shoulders. We both believe Max knew he was a handsome animal. The picture I am enclosing is one of Max wearing his holiday bow tie. No animal will ever replace our Max, but at least, after Dave and I have time to heal, we will be able to spring another dog from the shelter.

There are no words that can adequately express our joy at having shared part of Max's life.

—The Smith family of Illinois

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