We took Becks with us to visit Max. When they walked Max into the room, it was clear to me he was already gone. There were no wags of the tail, no barks demanding to go home, and no kisses to be had. Becks in his very limited understanding of the situation said goodbye to Max not really understanding the meaning despite me explaining that Max was sick, was going to die, and was not going to be coming home. I know that a lot of information for a 3 ½ year old and some parents would make up some happy fluffy story about heaven, but I wanted Beckett to know the truth. With a little prompting, Beckett gave Max a hug (something typically forbidden in our home) and told Max that he loved him super big. Tommy then took Becks to school and I sat with my four legged boy and tried my best to tell him how much we loved him and that we would let him go.
Max was coughing and hacking quite a bit from the kibble they had found in his throat. He panted non stop. His eyes were red and haggard. With every stroke of his body, his legs shook and hair flew everywhere. As I sat with him on the floor, it took a long time of petting him to get him to rest his head on my lap to rest. Somewhere in the middle of all that awfulness, he kissed away my tears. We sat like that for a long time and it was peaceful. When Tommy came back, he brought Bellona. I didn’t want her to wonder where her brother had gone… she had already been skipping meals without him around. He had no energy to greet her and I saw the fear in her eyes- she wanted out of there and fast.
When it was time, we walked Maximus outside into the sunshine. I brought from home his blanket and a pillow. Tommy and Bellona sat at the edge of the blanket; she had her back to us either avoiding the situation or on guard. We spooned in the sunshine and told him what a good boy he was. He wore no collar, and no leash. I offered him his PB kong and he refused. We also had his favorite toy, the one we played fetch with nightly, beside us. At one point, a small dog was walked outside by the staff and Max made no effort to say hello. That right there felt like someone turning the knife inside of us. To know Max is to know the mere sight of a small dog elicited from his an insane amount of whining with excitement.
It was time to say our final goodbyes. Maximus left this world with his head cradled in my arms, my arms tightly around his neck, and every inch of my body pressed tightly to his. I stroked his velvet ear and told him over and over again as he was sedated I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. And then he was gone.
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." - Unknown