|On one of his first days in our home.|
Skinny young Max joined us in 2006 when we lived in Houston. I had promised the girls a dog if the yard in our new house there had a fence (which it did), so I decided to surprise them one day. I found a local no-kill shelter and visited to see who they had available. I looked through all the puppies and younger dogs, but nothing felt quite right. Then a back door burst open and Max raced through in all his wiggling glory. He had been outside for a potty break. "Oh, there he is," I said. And that was that.
The girls were very excited, and Scott was happy that I had gotten a boy dog (his only requirement). They all quickly agreed that they liked my dog. And my dog he most certainly was. He was a year old when we adopted him. Though he'd been in some foster homes, he had zero training or discipline. Even walking on a leash was a challenge. He would collapse at corners and kick and nip he if wanted to go a different direction than me for some unknown doggie reason. The border collie half of him liked to nip our heels as we went down the stairs. But after a few sessions with a dog trainer, we figured him out and he figured us out and we all got along fine.
One of the solutions to some of his instinct to chew and gut stuffed animals was that he had to be with me at all times when he wasn't in his kennel or outside. Fortunately, my job mostly kept me at home. He became my shadow, and one of the oddest things now about having him gone is walking around the house alone. I was never allowed to do that. He supervised me, even if I just went to the kitchen or bathroom for a minute. In his last days, when it clearly caused him pain to get up and down, he hated letting me out of his sight. I would try to get him to "stay" or "wait" to no avail.
|Dear Max, always underfoot.|
Max's largest life adventure did make it into a book, and there are many true stories about other times in his life tucked in there as well. Max did spend a night alone in the Ozark Mountains after taking off one evening when we lived on our mountaintop in Arkansas.
I love that Max will live on for generations to come as The Big Black Beast from my Cats in the Mirror books and as the hero of his own adventure story. Maybe someday I will write another book about just him.
Good dog, Max.