Tuesday, January 8, 2013

honorary guard angel. for always.

I am not sure how to begin this.
I can't seem to shake this.
SO I am going to write it all down.
Will it to go.
This overwhelming ache that just won't go away.
He was just a dog right?
No. Unfortunately, he was way more than a little more than that.
And I just can't shake it.
People are so insensitive.
SO if you don't want to hear about my dog then, move along.
And if you decide to stay, I might make you cry.
I am sorry about that too.
I am doing this for me.
For him.
On the morning that my dog died, I had brushed him and trimmed his nails.
I had cared for him just like I had for the past 9+ years.
He was one of mine.
He was one of us.
Later that night, heart broken,  I couldn't help but feel a little glad that it had happened that way.
I had sent him off to heaven looking his best.

It doesn't seem fair to start with the end.
The beginning was much more sweet.
He was this tiny little football player looking yellow ball of fur.
I loved him instantly.
He loved us instantly.
We had spent months deciding on the perfect dog.
One that would be good to our young little family.
Collin was almost 5 and Chloe almost 3.
We all say, there has never been a better dog.
not ever.

I always had people tell me what a good dog he was.
He didn't steal things off the counter.
He didn't steal my balls of yarn.
He just wanted to make us happy.
And he did.
He did such a good job doing that.
I always said it was more than me training him.
It was him.

He could jump and catch a frisbee or tennis ball like some kind of crazy talented show dog.
He loved the water. He loved to swim.
I wish I would have taken him to a lake more often.
Once, When I was in the shower, the kids opened the door for an electrician who had shown up a little early. He told me they wouldn't come in unless I put my "guard" dog away.
WHAT? Max?
He had stepped up to the plate. He knew those kids should not have opened up the door.
Max made it clear that he was there too. Sort of funny, because most people only knew him as someone who might lick them to death.

I always told him it was lucky I loved him, because OH that hair. He had so much hair. I could barely keep up with it. He was beautiful. He was strong. He was smart. But what he was the most is sweet. He had such a sweet spirit.
His favorite thing was waffles.
On Saturday night he seemed like he wasn't feeling well.
I made him one.
It was the last thing he ate..
another grateful thought I have had.
He loved waffles.

When I was pregnant with the Bean, he knew.
He knew before I did.
He had started following me around. Sitting in front of me.
He blocked me into the shower by sitting too close to the door to let me out.
Silly dog. What is wrong with you?
Nothing. He was watching out for me.
When She came home he transferred that to her.
Sitting in front of where she lay. Eyeing anyone who came to see her.
A gentle giant. Faithfully loyal and good.

The kids used him as a step stool when they were little.
He happily let them.
He played hide and seek with them.
They often got mad because he could always find them.
He would give them away.
He loved to jump up and get fresh water straight from the bathroom sink.

Max had cancer.
We just did not know it.
On Saturday night I knew something was wrong.
By Sunday at 2:00 in the afternoon, he was gone.
When they told me there was nothing we could do, I cried.
But I didn't want him to go alone. He had always been with us.

His whole life.

When they brought my husband and I back to him he smiled and wagged his tail.
Even in pain, he wanted us happy.
I told him everything I could think to tell him.
I told him everything I thought the kids would want to tell him.
The vet told me he wouldn't close his eyes.
I hugged him and held him. I  told him I loved him.
I thanked him.

He let out a happy long satisfied breath.
He closed his eyes.
Of course he would do that for me.
Of course he would  leave in the most pleasant way possible.
That's just who he was.

I keep remembering him sitting up on the car ride to the hospital.
Soaking it all in.
Yesterday I had to clean out the car.
I let the chunks of his hair go in the wind.
ridiculous right? that something like that was so hard to let go of.
It was the last bits I had.

people ask me,
you knew right?
that's why you got your "new" dog...
and he's not new. He's a lot different.
I got Baltimore because I had this overwhelming feeling that it was the right time.
But, I got him for Max.
I thought they would have a couple of years together.
Not just a couple of months.
I came home from the hospital feeling so very empty.
And, I have this crazy new puppy to care for.
It felt so strange. Like, why did it happen that way?
To show me life's cycle.
To help me carry on.
I would have never gotten a puppy if I had known.
It would have hurt too much.
It was the right time I suppose. I just did not know at the time why.
I think he's helping us. I hope he can remember Max and help carry on his spirit.
In some small way.
In his own way.
The kids are now 14 and 12.
A new era really.
It's just so hard to let that one go.
And now I am done talking about it.
I don't want you to feel sorry for me.
I am lucky.
It's just mine to keep in my heart now.
But I had to write it all down.
For me.
and for him.
Max Moose
honorary guard angel


  1. Awww, Aubrey, I feel your pain. I'm sorry for your loss, and hope time + family will help keep the pain away. Labradors...so loyal and smart. I have a chocolate one who lives at my parents' and he is such a joy. {Hobbes is his name.} I too, was amazed at how intelligent + gentle he was from the beginning. There's not much I can say but sorry, and I am sure Max is happy because of the life you were able to provide for him. What a lovely letter to him, thanks for sharing with us. Hugs!!

  2. Thank you for sharing! You did, in fact, have me in tears. Our black lab, Seamus, is just 2, but I can easily get myself worked up just imagining life without him. I can't begin to imagine what you're going through. I'd be a mess. You'll be in my thoughts.

  3. Oh Aubrey... Words cannot express. It's clear from the picture that this was one happy dog. A reflection of the life and love y'all gave him. Sending hugs your way. (And shedding some tears, too.)


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