It’s 2017 now.

Maxwell has been a part of our family for nearly thirteen years and it seems impossible to consider.  He’s a fixture.  Always there, that jingling harness  ringing out from the living room to greet us when we get home, the clicking of claws on the floor as he prances by the basement door, waiting to go out.

There are two siblings now, one of them 11 and one of them 7 and they’re just getting to the age where they appreciate him.  He moves slow, but not that slow.  He sleeps a lot, but always at our feet on our bed, giving us that one last cockeyed smirk before he dreams his doggy dreams.  We live in our third house since he’s joined the family, and this one has more stairs than the other two, which he’s not a big fan of these days, but we’re here, so he manages it.

We’ve been through several different treats and several different foods, because Max is Max and he wouldn’t be our Max if he didn’t have severe allergies to pretty much every single edible item that exists on the planet.  Currently he eats Rachel Ray’s Nutrish dry foods and chewy treats and manages to keep those down without tearing at his skin too much.

He’s an old man by all definitions.  Thirteen in human years means a whopping 91 in dog years and as a nonagenarian the truth is he’s already lived longer in his little corner of the world than most of the rest of us likely will.

It doesn’t feel that way.

It feels like the last thirteen years were but a blink.  A swift moment in time where we added a member to our family, brought him into our lives, loved him and appreciated his love back to us.  One whisper where our family was made whole before we even had children, and where he fills a crucial place at every family event.

Yes there are hassles, there always are.  He can’t hold his bladder as long, he still likes yapping at UPS and the mailman, and it’s still nearly impossible to take him for a walk because he just has to be everywhere and smell everything simultaneously.

Still, he loves being outside and this weekend we let him run free, this crazy little twelve pound psycho who, from time to time, seems to have quite a bit of energy for such an old-ass man.  In the pictures you’ll probably notice he’s missing some hair near his hindquarters, because he’s been wearing a little doggy diaper lately to help him hold his water.

That kind of stuff happens when your kidneys fail, it’s tough to blame him…though it’s also tough to stay calm when you wake up to soaked carpet in the middle of the night.

He’s a great dog.  Even through his yapping and his jumping and his tugging, and his almost uncontrollable enthusiasm for…well…pretty much everything in life.  Although I must admit, at 91 years old, his enthusiasm feels a lot more controlled than it used to. Still, seeing him running and jumping in the grass, playing with the girls, enjoying life completely, even at his age, is inspirational and a real joy.  It makes me realize we didn’t do it nearly as often as we probably should have.

Is he obnoxious?  Yeah, sometimes.  Is he high maintenance?  Always.

But he’s a good dog.