Wednesday, September 16

Goodbye Good Dog

12 years, 2 months and 2 days. That is how old our dog Max was when we put him to sleep yesterday. The average life span for a dog his size is 8 - 10 years, so I have to say that the old boy had a good long life. As a family we were prepared for this day, and knew that it would be coming sooner rather than later, but still, when it actually happened, it brought me to my knees. He has been fine, really. Getting older and slower of course, but still running around. I knew something was wrong this weekend when I realized that he didn't seem to be drinking his water very much, but he was still eating good, so I was only mildly concerned. Monday night he came downstairs to greet me and the kids and when he hit the dining room his back legs just seemed to go out. He yelped and cried and laid down, and couldn't move. Couldn't walk. We took him to the vet yesterday and she said he probably had a stroke, or it could be a tumor pushing on his spine. We made the decision that the time had come to put him down. I'm sure we could have tried some medicine or surgery, but come on, he's 12. We knew anything we did would give him only a few extra months, if that. We had told the kids the night before that although the vet would try to fix the dog that it might not be possible. Jack took some extra time saying goodbye to him before school, and when Abbey knelt down to say goodbye before heading off to Oma's she whispered "bye Max, good luck at the vet, I hope you don't have to get a shot to get dead." When we told them yesterday afternoon that he was gone they were upset, although Abbey was quite quick to ask when we were going to get a puppy to play fetch with (ummm, NEVER!). They visited the grave Dennis had dug in the backyard (yes, we buried him in the yard, my husband weeping while digging the hole, me weeping inside vacuuming up all the dog hair). We put flowers on it and then the kids seemed OK. Being older, Jack took it harder than Abbey. She wanted to know when it was time to go to dance class, he said he was very sad and really needed to have a snack and watch some TV. Surprisingly, they actually seemed more upset last year when the fish died (which if you forgot about can read about here). I think they might be in a little bit of shock, and as time wears on they may miss him more. Or maybe not.

I think that Dennis will take losing him the hardest, since Max was primarily "his" dog. When we married almost 10 years ago Max was already a 2 year old, having spent his nights sleeping next to Dennis in a big bed with his head on the adjoining pillow. In comes me and swiftly puts an end to that ridiculousness. So he was delegated to the end of the bed, and then kids came along and after a while he reluctantly gave up trying to get comfortable with so many in the bed and moved to the floor. I used to joke that once the kids were born I thought he needed doggie prozac, since at times he seemed depressed that he had to share his Dennis with us. But he learned to adjust, and I believe he had a good life with us. He actually was quite lucky. Once when he was about 4 or so we were at my parents house for some sort of get together and had brought him along. We put him in my brother's room on the second floor and shut the door, and after a little while someone came to the door. "Should I let Max in" they asked. "What?" we said. "Max isn't outside, he's in Matt's room upstairs." But sure enough, there was Max standing outside, tail wagging, tounge panting. When we went upstairs to check the door was still closed. Going inside we realized that the window (which was at the same level as the bed he was laying on) was opened. We think he probably saw a squirell in the tree outside and jumped. He must have come down through the tree branches to break his fall, because he was FINE. Not hurt at all. Later on my poor grandmother admitted that she saw the dog go by through the window, but thought that perhaps she was having some sort of hallucination and didn't want to tell anyone!

So goodbye good boy. We are going to miss you. 12 years, 2 months and 2 days. Quite a nice long life for a dog. Yes indeed.


Lindy said...

What sweet and funny memories you have of him.

I'm sorry and I hope the pain eases for you all.

Jen said...

Oh Kirsten... this put tears in my eyes, but then had me laughing at the end. You spoke often about good ole Max. I am sure we still here years to come about the remnants (namely hair) he left behind!

Pam said...

Kirsten, I'm so sorry to hear about Max, but it's better to not have to watch him suffer. He definitely had a nice full life.

I think he loved you & the kids just as much as Dennis, you guys created a great family for him to be part of for sure!


Erin said...

Kirsten, so sorry to heat about Max. He was a good dog, always sniffing my crotch in a polite friendly manner. Never lingering inappropriately long. He will be missed.