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.

29 comments:

  1. In a perfect world, we would pass away peacefully, our dogs would follow sixty seconds later. Neither us nor our dogs would suffer the anguish that loss brings.

    The only cruel thing about dog ownership is that our life spans are not the same, that we have to suffer through the loss many times over our lives.

    Deepest Sympathies.

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  2. Awwww. May his memory forever be for a blessing.

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  3. Take care MM. Never easy losing a member of the family.

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  4. Orphan of the RoadMonday, February 06, 2012

    Having done this three times recently I understand how you feel.

    The unconditional love and faith a dog brings into your life is truly mind-altering.

    I am so sorry for you loss.

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  5. I'm really sorry for your loss. It's definitely losing a member of the family.

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  6. Max made a difference in somebody's life. May all persons and dogs aspire to as much.

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  7. I have a little guy who fills that spot in my heart too and I almost lost him last year, but he now has a heart pacemaker and is still by my side.

    I'm grieving with you now cause I've been there, done that too. But, I'm also smiling cause of what he did for you. Quite a legacy you got there, Max. I'm sure it gave you extra points with the big guy in the sky.

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  8. Wow. So sorry for you. At least you could have and enjoy him while you did.

    Good luck with it all.

    Oh, and a great read, too. Whiile we all feel for you, we appreciate your putting it down here. Cathartic, hopefully, for you.

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  9. GBNF

    Manitain, Brother, one foot in front of the other.

    Dan / Chicago

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  10. Damned fine eulogy. Better than most people will get or deserve

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  11. I am so sorry to hear about Max.

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  12. Sorry for your loss. I've been there myself. When my lab was so riddled with cancer that it poked through every one of her ribs I had to put her out of her misery. I'm a big, tough guy but the vet had to bring me my bill in private because I was crying so much. I once asked my vet how often sick dogs just go to sleep and don't wake up? Sadly, the answer is almost never so we are made to make awful decisions.

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  13. Very sorry for your loss. May time erase the pain and leave you with memories of the happy moments with little Max. I believe all of us who regularly read your blog are thankful for the work Max did in your life. We underestimate the effect a little furry non-verbal companion can have on us, don't we?

    Thank you very much for sharing from your heart.

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  14. Maniak ProductionsTuesday, February 07, 2012

    Well Mark, of the things you and I have in common, a little buddy named Max was one of them. Click the link below to see the resemblance.

    http://www.insulators.info/pictures/?id=161564131

    I had to put my 15 year old pal down back in October. He too was fearless.

    I always think of ol Max when I look at Chico the wonderdog. (Chico had the good fortune of being mentored by Max.)

    I've always enjoyed your bits about the adventures you had with Max.

    He really was good mojo for you. Hang in there pal.

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  15. So so sorry. Nothing hurts like losing a beloved furry family member.

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  16. Deepest condolences on your loss. We've had to send three dogs and four cats to the Rainbow Bridge during our married life, and it never gets any easier or less painful. Remember the years of joy you and Max gave each other, it'll help.

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  17. I am so sorry Mark. He sounds like he was a great pal.

    Sorry.

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  18. I'm really sorry to hear about Max. It sounds like he was a really special friend to you.

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  19. I am so sorry to hear about your friend and companion. He showed you what unconditional love can do to heal wounds.

    No one gets out of life alive. What matters is how you spend your time, and how you treat others. The fact that you got to share your life with Max is a blessing.

    And I thank him for enabling you to turn your life around to the point that you are able to share your unique insights and comments on this completely fubared world we all live in now.

    Thanks again for the boosts that your blog gives me, and the knowledge that I am not alone in seeing this society as I see it. And my son wanted me to tell you that the word "Dog" is "God" spelled backwards.

    Keep the faith, and do it one day at a time.

    Chris

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  20. My husband sent me your link. Please read my message on facebook..bluff42

    So sorry for your loss as well.

    BTW, she decided to eat her dinner tonight. How long shall I suffer...

    But, she is still so perky!

    That is her, the small one in the photos.

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  21. I'm saddened by Max's passing. I feel your pain.

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  22. That sucks! keep smiling' you also made HIS world!

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  23. you know, I read your post a week ago or so. I still don't know what to say, except that I'm sorry. A pet really is a family member.

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  24. I'm with Buddy,dident know what to say ,so I'll just say sorry mm.also without getting to drippy ,you may have helped me through some tough times with your writings...long time reader.thanks man.

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  25. No one truely understands how much difference in a life a dog can make. At the end of the day, you did the right thing. You have my deepest sympathies. It's never easy losing a member of the family, especially one who changed your life so much.

    Jay and the greyhounds.

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  26. I've been there too many times. And yet I go looking for another dog as soon as I lose one.

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  27. I am so sorry for your loss.

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  28. I am so sorry about Max and very sorry for your loss.

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  29. Sorry to hear about Max's passing. Take care.

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