It’s Monday, May 22nd, a date that I am not soon to forget.

Maxwell’s gone now.  As of 1:00pm this afternoon, our first and only dog has gone from an ‘is’ to a ‘was’.

Ugh how hard are those words to type.

As folks might have guessed reading through these posts, at thirteen years old, Max was nearing the end.  For the past several months his kidneys have been in slow deterioration and over the past few weeks he’s been having increasing trouble breathing.  He’s been waking up at night several times and after every little yapping outburst has to stop and collect himself for a few moments.

Odd that having to do this never actually prevented any of his yapping outbursts…  He’s our Max until the end.

He was our Max until the end.  Will I ever get used to speaking about him in the past tense?

The echoes of his jingling harness and clicking claws will be in this house for a long time.  The faint ghost of his white furred body nestled into the couch or perched on the back of his favorite chair.  Those images will be there, though he will not.

This weekend we opened the door to the outside and just let him run free.  For the first time ever, unleashed, unshackled, just free to do whatever he wanted to do.  Run through the grass?  Go for it.  Eat the grass?  Why not.

Enjoy the beautiful sunshine, Max, just like you always have.

All those times I cursed your name as I chased you down, or tried to get you to stop barking, or found a stray pile of crap in the basement…all those times I snapped at you to hurry up as you took your sweet time taking a leak in the backyard.  All of those times I said anything other than ‘good dog’ or did anything but show you how much I loved you…  I’m sorry.

All those times you just wanted to play and I was tired or it was crate time…  I’m sorry.

All those times you just wanted to kill that UPS intruder or chase off the uniformed mailman who was certainly coming to the house to hurt us, and I scolded you and told you to be quiet…  I’m sorry.

I know you were happy and I know you loved our family.  I know you had a good life.

Lord knows you made ours better by being in it.  Love you buddy.   You were a good dog.