A Dog’s Life: All You Need Is Love.

29 Apr

I found out this afternoon that my first dog (who is very, very old now), Max, will need to be put to sleep tomorrow. Max has been living with my grandparents for a number of years, who live right down the street from us, because their dog, Joe, who was put to sleep last summer, was Max’s best friend. During the last few years that Max was living with us, he frequently got out of our yard and went up to my grandparents’ house to be with Joe. It reached a point where we realized that Max would be happier with Joe. However, we always showed him love on the days when he’d come down to visit us.

Today I went down to my grandparents’ house to see Max one last time. My dad and I found him on the screen porch laying down in his cage. Due to Max’s age, he hasn’t been able to see or hear hardly at all for quite some time. Therefore, when Max had his back to us when my dad and I came into the screen porch, my dad had to reach in and turn Max around so that he was facing us. Even though I know that Max probably didn’t recognize us, my heart broke when I saw him. He didn’t seem to be in pain. He just seemed tired. I could see it in his eyes. Though he didn’t have the energy to move towards me, that didn’t stop me from holding him and crying harder than I ever have. Part of my heart broke this afternoon. For the loss of Max and for the amount of love that I have for him. Since he was my very first dog, he was my first indication of the amount of love that one can have for an animal.

Max loved playing fetch. You could throw a tennis ball for him over and over again, and he’d never get tired. Often times, I was the one who had to eventually stop playing, even though Max would continue to drop the ball at my feet and look up at me with excitement and anticipation, wondering where I would throw the ball next. My dad brought a tennis ball with him when we went to see Max one last time today, and the fact that Max didn’t even have the energy to hold the ball in his mouth was heartbreaking. Max also loved water. Any time we would take him for a walk out on my grandparents’ farm, he would always run straight into the pond, no matter the outside temperature. He loved swimming, and when you added playing fetch while he was swimming in the pond, you could see that he was just happy as a clam.

Though I know that after tomorrow Max will finally be at peace and will finally be able to be near Joe again (since Max will be buried next to Joe), it’s no easier for those of us who have to go on living without him. Though some people would make the comment that Max is just a dog, anyone who has ever had a dog knows that they aren’t just a pet. They are a part of your family. Heck, in our family, our dogs (Max, Roxy, and Hoss), who are all springer spaniels, have had their own Christmas stockings for as long as they have been in our family. They are one of us, and that’s all there is to it. Though I am sad to lose Max, I am happy to still have Roxy and Hoss to show my love to. When I came back from saying goodbye to Max today, I curled up on the couch and held on to Roxy as I cried. I figured she knew something was wrong since she looked up at me and licked my face. Even though that made me cry harder, I don’t know what I would have done if I would have lost Max and then had to come home to a house without dogs. It would make things so much harder.

The wonderful thing about dogs though is the fact that they have only love to give. Growing up, Max didn’t care that I had CP or that I was different. In his eyes, as long as I showed him love, he loved me right back. Sometimes I wonder how the world would be different if we as humans could have that sort of mentality. Granted, each one of us is too judgemental for that. However, in a dog’s mind, “all you need is love.”


22 Responses to “A Dog’s Life: All You Need Is Love.”

  1. Laura April 29, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    Aww *hugs*!! Animals are definitely a part of our families, and losing one is never easy. Although I’ve never had a dog, I’ve had tons of kitties and I lost my first cat when I was a freshamn in college. I had her from the 5th grade on, and it was hard. We had 3 cats at that time and they all contracted feline lukemia and it was just heartbreaking. Once they had all three passed I said I was done with cats, I didn’t want to love one again and I didn’t for a few years. But now I have my guy Rusty and he’s definitely my BFF 🙂 My husband brought his cat from home here, and she passed away last summer. We actually had her cremated and I don’t know, that might be weird but she was special. I know it’s hard to lose them but eventually you’ll be able to smile when you think about him instead of crying for hours, I know how that goes. More hugs!!

    • ameliaclaire92 April 29, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

      Thanks Laura. Though it is hard right now, I know that I’d rather have Max not be here and not be suffering than have him here while knowing that he isn’t truly happy.

  2. sherrylcook April 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    What a beautiful post and a great tribute to your dog. I know how much my dogs have meant to me. I had to put my Charlie down over a year ago now and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I still think of him often. Wouldn’t it be nice if we humans could learn more from our dogs about love and acceptance?
    Sending a big hug to you my friend!

    • ameliaclaire92 April 29, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

      I find myself simply wishing that dogs could live as long as humans. The thought of living with Max not here breaks my heart, but yet I know I will continue to love and enjoy my life because I know that he would have wanted to see me happy.

  3. LA Edwards April 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    I am so sorry to hear this terrible news. You are right, animals are a part of our family. We love them as we love each member of our family, and because the love they return is always unconditional, makes them even more special. I am sorry for your loss. Loss of any kind is difficult and the grief that accompanies it. The only thing you can do is understand Max is going to a place where he will no longer be in pain and will be with his buddy, Joe. Know too he will be happy. You have been blessed to have had him in your life for such a long time. What a special gift. Not many people can say that. While it doesn’t make this loss any easier, it is comforting to know he will always be a part of you and will always be alive in your heart. Hugs to you. 🙂

  4. zen and the art of borderline maintenance April 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    Very touching. I am sorry for the upcoming loss and the sadness. I too wish we could all just give to love and love to give. Blessings to you and Max.

  5. terry1954 April 29, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    that was so beautiful

  6. shoreacres April 29, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    I’m so sorry. The loss of a pet always is hard – but Max is blessed to have someone willing to make the hard decisions on his behalf and ease his suffering. The pain will pass, but the memories always will be a wonderful part of your life.

  7. Carrie April 30, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    It was as if I was with you. There is a feeling deep inside about our connection with pets. it is indescribable, a true example of the gift of intuition.
    I’ve been down this road and will probably soon be writing about my dear Lilly and changes upcoming in our life. for now, know that I’ll be thinking of you and your family tomorrow.

  8. ariannasrandomthoughts May 1, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    Just read your post as I was dealing with the same thing this weekend. Thinking of you and your family at this difficult time. Max sounds like an amazing dog. Hugs.

  9. nikky44 May 1, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    “as long as I showed him love, he loved me right back” I wish people would all learn from that. I wish people would feel the love and forget the hurt

  10. sam May 1, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, having lost a dog when I was younger, I know how tough that can be. For some reason, this article always makes me feel a little better when I think about Logan (my dog); I hope it provides you with some semblance of inner peace as well (even if you’re not a sports fan it’s a great read): http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/090122

    P.S. Love your blog, glad you found mine so I could find yours!

  11. belasbrightideas May 1, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    Gosh Amelia, sorry I missed this post. So the deed is done.
    It is the saddest thing to part with canine friends – there is not the confusion incurred with humans who are a complex mixture of grace and gruff – rather they are the most unconditionally loving creatures on earth.
    I’m sorry for your loss and that of your grandparents – what an elegant tribute to Max you’ve offered.

    • ameliaclaire92 May 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

      Thanks Bela. It’s been a hard few days, but thankfully we have 2 other dogs, which has made things so much easier since I’ve been able to spend time with them 24/7.

  12. takingsnaps May 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    Oh it’s so hard when we lose a dog. As much as we say ” they had a good life” or ” they’ll be at peace now” it doesn’t help. I know, it physically hurts. My thoughts are with you.

  13. Alethea Eason May 5, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    My heart goes out to you. We lost our Wiley in February and I miss his muzzle not being in my face every morning when I wake up. The house is way too quiet. I hope Max stays close to you in both dreams and spirit.

  14. still a dreamer May 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Dogs – and cats – are the epitome of love and acceptance. And forgiveness. If people were more like dogs in that regard, the world would be a far kinder place. Be comforted in knowing that Max loved every minute he was with you, and faced his leaving without fear.

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