So how have you been, my Maxi boy?
The days went on, then came the weeks, and formed the months; two years have slipped through my hands. Not one single day without thinking of you. They say time heals—but that’s beside the point. Missing you needs no healing. I so enjoy, thinking of you.
I can still visualize you sitting on the steps, checking out for the cheeky possums, or the street cat—by the way, she has got a litter of kittens. Not what you would like to hear as they mess up the garden you so loyally guarded. The other news is that we found a plastic black crow and sat it on the grass next to the pool. The ducks have stopped coming to the pool. How good we no longer have to clean up their droppings; but you probably feel embarrassed to know that an artificial bird can achieve more than your fierce barking at and chasing away the ducks. No shame, Max. Who wasn’t impressed by your persistent endeavours, even at your old age? Who could be like you, so devotedly defending the house until the final moment?
Sometimes when I am busy cooking in the kitchen, I seem to feel your presence, you sitting in a corner, discreetly watching me but without being in the way—like what it used to be, giving me support and comfort, but never disturbing. Few dogs could compete with you, I suppose. Your sensitivity was overpowering on the one hand and disarming on the other. What I didn’t know is that your impact remains. Errol once said that you were at least human. I now think you are surely better than human.
I still run in the parks, our usual tracks. A few of your old buddies often pause to greet me, asking about you. The humans tend to shed a teardrop when I tell them how you left me. I have not seen some of the regular ball-chasers for a while. Perhaps they have joined you over the Rainbow Bridge. There are plenty of new comers, I can see right away which ones you would go after or avoid. How you taught me about dogs and their owners. I can almost tell who has a good heart. Intuition. Dog sense, I call it.
How have I been? Oh Max, you know my transformation was complete before your final good-bye. It’s boring to tell you how I continue to do the stuff I did; but of course without you, certain things seem to have lost a bit of purpose, like getting up very early in the morning. Then I realise again and again how much you did structure my life. And when I go around checking the doors and windows before I get to bed, I like to believe that you are still faithfully guarding the house, so I simply feel more relaxed. Often after I have turned the lights off, I think of how you would climb into your bed, letting out a loud sigh like you always did, as if to agree with me that life is not easy. The house is quiet. The carpet doesn’t need extra cleaning. Your dog-house stands in the same corner in the garden, sullenly. But every now and then, your hair appears, in the pocket of my raincoat, on a woolly scarf or gloves…it gives me a sentimental moment.
When I look at your photos now, I recall the dampness from your nose on my palm, the feeling of my fingers squeezing your ears and the loving gaze we had for each other. You came to me with nothing, yet you left me with heaps. Many thanks.