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Monday, April 6, 2009

Max's Obiturary, 2009

It is with great sadness that I tell you that Max, our 13 ¾ year old Cairn Terrier died on Sunday the 5th April 2009 following a severe and protracted seizure of unknown cause that started early on Saturday morning and from which he never recovered. Given his profoundly damaged state we agreed to allow the vet to administer euthanasia. He died absolutely peacefully. (Sadly, so many people are prevented the same dignity.)

Max had a seizure in January and had appeared to make a complete recovery following medication. His last seizure was totally unexpected as his last days had been active and happy.

Max is sorely missed by us all. He was always good natured and friendly to both the family, our friends and visitors. Particularly if given chocolate, liver treats, or just about any food at all actually. He was always at the gate or nearby to welcome me home and could be counted on to be in a good mood and wagging his tail. He loved to snuggle in for the night and was fought over as a sleeping partner by the children. By morning, Max may have changed beds and have disappeared in coils of blankets.

Max’s life was full of adventures and it is a small miracle that he lived his 13 something years without severe injury. He was the product of an energetic “blonde” father and placid “brindle” mother and inherited something of both his parents’ temperaments. He was also perhaps, spayed a little too late and he never completely lost his drive to bond with female dogs of all shapes and sizes or sock covered feet of his owners. There seemed to be a bit of “Jack Russell” in Max.

In his younger days, Max was so driven to mate that given the narrowest of opportunities, he would slip through and at full speed, dash off to meet his paramour. In particular an attractive “Red Setter” who lived a few houses away on the corner…. Only one thing brought him out and that was the rattle of his lead clip and the promise of a walk.

Max loved to walk and roam he did. Once at Port Lincoln, he was let off the lead along the beach and soon he was a long way ahead. Then he left the beach and followed his nose into the bush. We searched for an hour and an half, being scratched by sharp twigs and bitten by sand flies, calling all the time without success. Finally and disconsolately we gave up and returned to beach. At this moment, Max came trotting out onto the sand as if there was nothing the matter and he had had a fine holiday at the beach. Or was he just a little contrite? Maybe to our reaction? Jean still bears a scar on her body from a nasty scratch that day.

Max became a legend in two neighborhoods for his solo expeditions. He cost us numerous gifts of wine, flowers and chocolates when the phone rang to say there was a friendly little furry visitor in the yard…. Perhaps his most surprising adventure was the evening we drove to the school quiz night about 1.5 kms away and left the front gate ajar. Much later when we came home, there was the familiar phone message… “Do you own a lovely little dog… “ from a house just near the school. Max had never wandered this far before and surely he could not have followed us?

Max’s energy levels waned in his later years and his wandering much reduced as well. The dog who loved a race at full speed in manic circles in the lounge room, the garden or in the park and really enjoyed pulling people along on bicycles eventually developed hind leg weakness and struggled to climb stairs. In those later years, his walks became dawdles but, he was happy to be shown as many trees, fence posts and Stoby Poles as a much younger dog could raise a leg to….

Any description of Cairn Terriers as a breed will praise them from their gentle loving spirit and bright energy. He always had that friendly disposition. Max was not without his flaws, and he was certainly a dog and a hunter. He was, though as Jean said when he was dying, a credit to his breed . And now I am crying.

Max, we loved you and there is an empty space here without you.

In Memory of Max the Dog (April 2009) and Abby the Cat (Dec 2008) who both left us suddenly, without explanation.

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