Jump to content
Grief Healing Discussion Groups

Missing Max

Don RH

Recommended Posts

Five years ago today (11/29/10) I brought my new best friend home to join our make shift family.  It had been a weird sequence of events over a few weeks that led to my getting this puppy when it had not otherwise been on my radar in the least.  The last of the weird sequence of events was the simultaneous decision that while I was adopting a 3 month old standard poodle puppy (Max), my roommate was also going to adopt a 10 month old golden retriever (Sandy) from a senior who decided he had made a mistake getting a high energy large breed puppy.  So there we were, from no animals to 2 big (or soon to be big) dogs in the house.  Life would never be the same in our house… and we were in heaven.


The dogs made a great addition to our lives.  I’ve had dogs in the past, including my first standard poodle who I last to old age 5 years prior.  Even though we now had the 2 dogs, obviously their personalities developed as they matured and it became clear that Max was the more gentle, loving and affectionate of the 2.  Life was great for the next few years and the dogs were the center of it.  Then came the next unexpected sequence of events 2 years ago that led to my adopting Morgan, who is another standard poodle surrendered from a puppy mill at about 3 years old.  As a “mill dog” Morgan needed a special home to help him learn to be a pampered household pet.  Much of what he learned came from the other 2 dogs.  They became a surprisingly great trio and in particular the 2 boys became close with Max playing the role of the big brother.  I just loved and was so proud of “my boys”.


A few months ago I decided it was time for a change professionally and I resigned from my job with the intent of doing something different.  3 weeks later Max started showing signs of not feeling well and we made a visit to the vet.  This was the start of discovering that he had a heart condition.  I was devastated at the news that my 5 year old Max was so sick.  My vet recommended the involvement of a cardiologist and the next thing I knew Max was on a medication regiment that was almost a full time job to administer.  Even though it appeared that Max’s condition was serious the experts all felt that he could be stabilized with the right balance of medications and he could live for a while, maybe even a number of years yet.  I was very glad that I wasn’t working at this time because in addition to his medication schedule Max was up and down with both his eating and his drinking.  Much of the time he had so little appetite that I was feeding him out of the palm of my hand 5 or 6 times a day… which was nowhere near enough for a 60 pound dog.  He also went through spells of not wanting to drink water unless I held a cup for him to drink out of.


The next 5 weeks were a constant roller coaster with times of visible improvement, but also realizing there were additional problems impacting his condition and causing him to not respond to the medications as expected, and causing back sliding in his condition.  His last week he was at the vet or the specialist 4 days out of 5 and yet even up to a few hours before he died it wasn’t expected.  In spite of all he had been through for those last 5 weeks it was still a shock that I lost him.  It just wasn’t supposed to happen like that… not to my Max.


The next day I felt completely lost.  I no longer needed all of the alarms on my phone for his medication times. He was no longer here for me to hand feed.  In spite of the other 2 dogs in the house I felt alone, and I was, and still am, mad as hell.  Max died almost 2 months ago on October 2nd.  I still can’t believe that my sweat boy is gone.  I’ve been in such a funk I just can’t seem to get my life back on track.  As we neared the holidays the thought of celebrating Thanksgiving was almost making me ill.  While my friends and family were planning their meals I couldn’t stand the thought of being any part of it.  I made plans to go out of town alone because I didn’t want to be around anyone and I certainly didn’t feel like “giving thanks”.  Most days still include thoughts of Max, looking though his photos, watching a video of him playing fetch only a week or 2 before he died, and of course tears.


I can’t understand why this had to happen to my beautiful boy.  I love the other dogs, but Max was like the glue the held the pack together.  I have Max’s ashes and a photo, along with his special things (collar, favorite ball, etc.) on the dresser next to my bed.  I don’t intend for it to look like a shrine to him but I haven’t been able to locate a box or container to assemble his memories in, and when I’ve looked at things in local stores I end up leaving when my emotions get the better of me.  I don’t know what else to do to help deal with loosing Max.  I don’t like this new status and can’t figure out how to get my life back on track.  I know it can’t be but I just want my Max back. 


This photo was taken Christmas day 2 years ago.  That was only 2 months after adopting Morgan and you can see how Max (on the right) had taken him under his paw.  I'm not planning on celebrating Christmas either this year.  I just have no interest without my beautiful boy here to be a part of it.  Life sucks without him.

IMG_0838 (2).jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What beautiful dogs!!  I understand your love...and heartbreak.  It's the hardest thing in the world.  I surely under stand your desire not to celebrate, when I lost my husband, and later my cats and my dog, I didn't feel like celebrating either.  Loss is a hard thing to survive, but somehow we do it, one day at a time...sometimes one moment at a time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi------absolutely sweet sweet picture.

So sorry for your loss.  Max had a super heart.

And yes, holidays are most difficult with that empty space in  our home and heart even with our other companions that we love.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...