Monday, February 6, 2012
Max 2001 to 2012 A real world shaker......
This morning, a little after nine, the world became a little less bright. Max the Yorkie slipped this mortal coil. I wanted to write this while the loss was raw, the wounds fresh, my ego and machismo momentarily absent. Max deserved an honest eulogy, and that's what I intend to give him now.
Max came to me through a former girlfriend back in 2001. He was with me from his birth to his death, just shy of 11 years. 4.5 pounds of hair, piss, vinegar, and a heart that knew no fear. For all his heart and undying loyalty, in the end it was a bum pair of kidneys that finally got the best of him. I knew it was coming. Friday I knew for certain, but I couldn't bring myself to make the short trip to the vet. I needed to be sure and I needed to finish saying goodbye. He ate rib eye steak all weekend, slept in my lap, and looked at me through his dark little eyes, in my mind telling me he would wait until I was ready. So it was with a heavy heart that we took that last ride together this morning. In the end, at that instant prior to drifting away, he was brave and calm. I was neither. The same vet who managed to bring Max back from the brink of death a year or so previous, was the same who helped me do what had to be done.
You have to know the type of person I was when I was released from prison back in 2000, to understand the real impact that little dog had on me. A career criminal, morally bankrupt, self serving, unable to rise above childhood scars and a misguided anger at the world. The first few years I was out, even at the inception of this blog, there were times I almost fell back into my old ways. A series of low paying, back breaking jobs that I was lucky to have. The knowledge that I could hustle more money in a few hours than I'd earn honestly in a year, was a temptation that I faced on a daily basis. The fear of dying old and alone in prison is a convict and criminals worst fear. It's like the fear square world people have of dying old and alone in a nursing home, surrounded by strangers, fluorescent lighting, and an institutional smell constantly in the air. But that fear isn't always enough to keep a guy like me from back sliding. While that fear was a big part of my turn around, it was Max that probably kept my mind right. Those first few years I had built such an attachment to him, there was no way I'd risk being separated from him. So I swallowed my misplaced pride and inflated ego. Eventually I started to fit in. I found a voice that a few hundred people a day bothered to read. In the end, you can credit a 4.5 pound Yorkie for doing what 30 years of social workers, institutions, prisons, judges, police and parole officers could not do.
Winter days are short, night envelopes me as I pull in front of our house after work every evening. Warm light glows through the frosted glass of a bay window. My girlfriend, soon to be wife, is often there to greet me, if she isn't at work. It's home, a normal home, something I lacked most of my adult life. You can see the shadows of 3 dogs in that bay window back lit by the light inside. A large shadow, a smaller shadow, then one yet smaller still. Max would wait in that window until he heard my key slide in the lock of the front door. As the door opened, he was always, always, right there waiting. I'm dreading that first night when I pull up out front, 2 shadows waiting, the smallest one no longer there, leaving an empty space which can never be filled. I loved that little dog.
I'll miss ya Max.