Wisdom From the Woods: Life Lived to the Maxx.

Maxx was a marvel of a mongrel. He was my canine soul mate.  Lots of people followed our life together for years on Facebook. I’d like to complete our story today.

I loved my domesticated partner more than anyone, I still do. We were devoted to each other from the moment we met. He was born in Florida with the spirit of a West Virginian. We were both more comfortable here.

Nothing could split us up, until December 23, 2016. That’s the day I parted company with my pal. Rainbow Bridge is a fictional place where passing pets supposedly go to wait for their humans. I’d like to think heaven, for Maxx, was sitting next to me in our Jeep. Anyway, our real-life adventures were far more colorful than Rainbow Bridge could possibly be.

In fact, we crossed many bridges together, literally and figuratively. Maxx knew me better than any human ever will. He’s the reason I never spent a birthday or holiday alone for years. That’s the greatest treat any dog can give a human. He also saw me through suffering that would shock my closest friends. Guarding him against it gave me the strength to overpower the menaces in my life.

Maxx had more followers on Facebook than me. People sensed something especially special between us. Whether they’d met him or not, people felt like they knew him because our life together was so completely documented. Our final farewell, however, was not. There were no smiles or cold noses to post or share that day—only sorrow. That’s not how I want Maxx remembered.

There was dignity in his last day. I asked the vet not to discuss what was happening in front of him. I respected his intellect too much. As I stared into his weary eyes, I fought tears like a prize fighter. I calmly whispered “good boy” as he dozed off and took his last Jeep ride without me. There hasn’t been a day since I haven’t cried. I always said the Jeep belongs to Maxx, he just let me drive it. It still does.

When best friends depart, the reason dog lovers break their vow to never have another is simple. The joy dogs bring to our life is far greater than the grief of their passing. Maxx wasn’t much of a kisser but there wasn’t a day he didn’t hug me with his eyes. His love and loyalty, like a leash, led me through everything in life. Rest in peace now, pal and be a “good boy” for J.P. and Greta for me.

– Jim Shock. HashtagWV #90. June 2017.

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