August 10th 2007 11:57 am
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Max passed peacefully yesterday morning in my arms. Even those who did not know him were teary eyed including our wonderful vet.
It took a few moments for him to pass, and I had bought along his favorite tennis ball to hold on his journey to the other side. (Remember, in Max's world all was good if one had a tennis ball!) his last gesture was to release the tennis ball where it rolled by my husbands feet; shift his head deep against me and look me in deep in the eye. There was such peace there, such understanding within him.
Without me even asking the vet then came in with some clippers and a beautiful little granite keepsake box on it and gathered some of Max's hair and put it inside for me then handed it to me.
I was sad because I had parted ways with my best friend and partner of so many years that he is intrinsically a part of me, but yet I felt peace. Such warm peace inside me. My heart still clutches when I write or speak of him, the voice may catch in my throat, but inside I am truly Ok with all of this. Honestly, I am more at peace with Max's release than I have been with any other animal I have had to be there with. I think our connection was so close that I truly understood how much he needed to be released from the pain and how thankful he was for it.
I always wondered when some had mentioned that often a surviving pet exhibited some special ritual, look or act that the departing pet used to do. As if a torch had passed between them. I had never truly seen this before, until Max's passing. Normally when I would come home from somewhere Caesar would be right there at the door all anxious to see me and hyper. When we cam home yesterday he just followed me quietly, I hugged him once very tightly and opened the little granite box where Max's fur was. He sniffed it so very gingerly and then his head seemed to wilt a bit. He came up and very tenderly put his head on my lap. For all of yesterday Caesar acted much more dignified, more 'Max like', being more of a gentle guide than his usual rambunctious, buffalo crashing self. I repeated the same ritual with Monty, our rat terrier, (letting him sniff the box) and he immediately put his little paws up indicating he wanted me to pick him up. Once I had him in my arms he wrapped his paws around my neck like he used to do as a pup and just snuggled against my shoulder in the very spot Max had snuggled against me. He looked sad, but yet his little nub was wagging a mile a minute.
Both dogs knew it Max had passed and they seemed to be just as at peace with it as I. Strangely it was my husband who seemed to take it the hardest, maybe because he had never really "talked" to Max and said his goodbyes, I don't know. At lunch we reminised about Max, and by evening time all of us, the whole family was at peace. It was indeed the strangest and most CALMING of letting a loved one go that I had ever felt.
I expected to cry myself to sleep that night, but instead I actually found myself with a feeling of inner calm, and even a smile on my face as I remembered the silly way Max would tilt his head with a tennis ball clenched inside his mouth. "Play with me? Come on, I gotta tennis ball! Honest, life is better with a tennis ball, come see!" I knew he was safely across rainbow bridge and more importantly that he was HAPPY and pain free. I know he will be waiting with that tennis ball, and someday I will be able to take it and toss it back to him. Until that day, I am good...And so is my beloved Max.
Rest well my dear partner.
Maxmillian "Max" von Sydow, 6/5/1997 - 8/9/2007
Max had told me he wanted me to post one more of his messages (see other diary entries) he was my guide, and I dutifully would write them down, in his words. He whispered to me on thursday morning what he wanted his last words to be, as usual, they were comforting and will be comforting for all who have ever lost a pet or felt the sorrow. I will write his last story this weekend and post it here for all of his friends. Thank you.
January 8th 2007 1:40 pm
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My name is Max and I have a little something I’d like to whisper in your ear.
I know that you humans lead busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise.
It always seems like you are running here and there, often much to fast, often never noticing the truly grand things in life.
Look down at me now, while you sit there at your computer. See the way my dark brown eyes look at yours? They are slightly cloudy now, that comes with age. The grey hairs are beginning to ring my soft muzzle. You smile at me; I see love in your eyes. What do you see in mine?
Do you see a spirit, a soul inside who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a simple moment of your time?
That is all I ask. To slow down if even for a few minutes to be with me. So many times you have been saddened by the words you read on that screen, of others of my kind passing. Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, sometimes so suddenly it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes we age so slowly before your eyes that you do not even seem to know, until they very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract clouded eyes. Still the love is always there, even when we take that long sleep, to run free in distant lands.
I may not be here tomorrow; I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the waters from your eyes, that humans’ have when deep grief fills their souls, and you will be angry at yourself that you did not have just “One more day” with me.
Because I love you so, your sorrow touches my spirit and grieves me. We have Now, together. So come, sit down here next to me on the floor. And look deep into my eyes. What do you see? If you look hard and deep enough we will talk you and I, heart to heart. Come to me not as “alpha” or as a “trainer” or even a “Mom or Dad”, come to me as a living soul and stroke my fur and let us look deep into one another’s eyes, and talk. I may tell you something about the fun of chasing a tennis ball, the scent of a cool spring breeze or I may tell you something profound about myself, or even life in general.
You decided to have me in your life (I hope) because you wanted a soul to share just such things with. Someone very different from you but yet a kindred non-judgmental soul, and here I am. I am a dog, but I am alive. I feel emotion, I feel physical senses, and I can revel in the differences of our spirits and souls. I do not think of you as a “Dog on two feet” I know what you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still. Now, come sit with me, on the floor. Enter my world, and let time slow down if even for only 15 minutes. Look deep in my eyes, and whisper to my ears. Speak with your heart, with your joy and I will know your true self and you will know mine. We may not have tomorrow, and life is oh so very short.
Max, (on behalf of all canines everywhere)
"May be reposted and shared freely as long as this credit appears with the post given to © Jackie .D.Ellis 2001, email@example.com."
January 8th 2007 1:23 pm
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You know, I used to think I was tough. That I could handle just about anything! After all, I LAUGHED at fresh Green Tripe! I mean, I thought, there was nothing wrong with it, why even our own Ms. Debra, let me dig my hands in some fresh Green Tripe, to feed her doggy crew.
So it was with much joy when I discovered that one could BUY Fresh Green Tripe, in a CAN! How novel I thought! No more mess, no more fuss, just open a can, and feed Green Tripe on demand.
Of course I ordered from this wonderful company immediately! And not just one or two cans, but a case. Mind, you, I'm no simpleton, after all, it’s "Fresh Green Tripe"... In a CAN!
So today, that Santa Claus of the mail system UPS came to my door and delivered a LARGE brown box. With a satisfied, "Ah Ha!!!" I hoisted my prize high over my head and carried it inside, Max following along closely at my heels, sniffing at the box, nub wagging. After all he knew it was for him!
"What's in the box??" my 13 yr. old son asked.
"Fresh GREEN tripe! In a can!" I stated emphatically. "A case of it!" What a smart consumer I was indeed! ('Oooh. Ooohh! Tim Allen grunt!)
Finally the moment I had waited for had come, later in the evening. Max's dinner time. We put the normal raw beef heart, some veggies, Hokamix, flaxseed meal, and a wee bit of kibble in his dish, but the crowning moment was about to happen.
As I looked longingly at the can, it felt almost like a solemn occasion. "Now you will see some good stuff!" I smiled as I positioned the can into the electric can opener. Clink, Chink Whhhhrrrrrrrr!! went the can opener. For a brief moment , it felt as though time itself had stopped, so intent were we to see this wondrous marvel of modern science. Green Tripe in a can, why it was almost as if we were discovering the lost Ark of the Covenant. Dog, Child and myself were held in awe. With a final CHINK! The can lid was released… And then I smelled something...
"What is THAT?!?!" My son exclaimed. One of our cats who had been sitting by the kitchen door, quickly sidled out. She was smart, running for her life.
"Green Tripe, in a can…" I tried to sound parental and authoritative, but I could feel the first churning of my stomach.
Max's eyes were on me intently, like two laser beams.
With a daring poke, I took off the lid to the can. And then it hit us. "Oh Geeeshhhh!!!!" and then my normally angelic son, cursed for the first time in my presence "What the $&%@ is that *@#*???!!!" And with that he too ran away.
At that point a smell hit me, so foul, so putrefied and grotesque, that bathing in fresh skunk spray would have been a pleasure. A smell so rancid that it made a raw sewage plant in a hot southern sun, smell nice.
I felt my insides begin to roil dangerously.
Max now had two long lines of drool that hung from his mouth and with a sickening slurp, he licked his lips, willing me to give him what was in that can.
"You’re sick!" I said to him through clenched teeth. I had to clench them or else I knew my dinner would be revisiting at that very moment.
This Green Tripe in a can was nothing like the fresh tripe I had dealt with. No, this stuff was insidious, vile, and deadly. The US Military should use it as a biological weapon. I could see squadrons of men falling before this stuff.
I held the can at arms length like radioactive plutonium and gingerly waggled it over the dog's dish, aiming for his food bowl. Sluuuurrrrk!!! It made a sickening noise as it slid out of the can. By now my vision was clouded, and I could have sworn I saw GREEN vapors leaking out of the can, like some mad scientists experiment gone wrong.
I thrust the dogs dish down, and he immediately threw himself into eating it, like a starving man at a banquet.
"Aaaaaaaacck!" was all I managed to say, as I WILLED myself not to hurl my cookies. "Steve! Help me! Find the plastic lid cover!" I cried plaintively to my son.
"Nuh uh!" he screamed from somewhere deep in the house, "That stuff REEKS!"
Now it was my turn to come up with colorful expletives as I dug up a plastic lid cover to try and hide the horrible bomb that had been unleashed in the house. I just KNEW that the smell would be forever imbedded in my walls, my furniture, my cats fur, and thanks to the central AC, the putrefying fragrance was being spread to all corners of the house.
Finally in disgust I managed to cover the can and thrust it into the refrigerator. The dog had finished his dinner, and stood looking at me, as though hoping for more. I knew I would be sterilizing the dogs dish, and probably his mouth with hot water. Heck I may just throw them both in an autoclave.
If a Hurricane hit my house now, it would not have been a bad time. It may even clear the air. I realized now why they called it GREEN tripe, it was. And it was in a can. And it was deadly.
5 hours later, the smell STILL lingers around, in cruel little whiffs. But hey, who am I to complain, I was smart, right? After all, I only have 11 and ½ cans to go, of Green Tripe in a CAN!