9×12 graphite on white. Original N-F-S.
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In 2004, I met Max at the Cuyahoga County Kennel. My “present” dog, Snickers, was suffering with cancer and would be put to sleep that same week. I thought having a new “love” enter my life would ease the pain of loss.
Maxie joined us (he picked his own name, it was the only sound he looked at me for) and it did work, but, my boy had many issues. He would not go upstairs, not get up or sleep on furniture, not bark or wag his tail, not look at food when offered. He had horrible teeth (the kennel had his age at 4 years) so we started him on dry dog food and ham bones (He so loved those bones!!). And those are just a few of the things I discovered about him. BTW, 1 year after he joined us, I took him to the vet. I asked him how old he thought the dog was and he said “maybe 2 years”.. oh, the need for good dental health!!
I have no idea what his former owners did to him, but to the day he died, he never “cocked” his leg to pee… which I found rather odd.
Anyway, it took time, but (Shar Pei are not known for their “loving” ways) eventually he began to show signs of becomming a real dog. He loved laying in the sun (when I would open the front door “His Window”) and barking at the mailman or any other sound (he could hear a gnat fart from 5 blocks away!) and that curly tail of his.. oh! How it wagged when I came home from the hospital in 2010!
He never once gave us reason to discipline him.. he was obedient but bullheaded. He was loving but aloof.. and he was My friend. He would give me – what I referred to as – Maxie hugs.. he would push into me with his head and “allow” me to pet him. We could stay like that for quite some time.. or until he decided it was enough.
The hardest thing I had to do was make the decision to end his life. He started having health issues in May 2011.. then the vision began to diminish in October. By November he was almost completely blind. His fear and panic of going out after the sun set was devastating. He would run and bump into the fence and get confused.. you’d call him and he’d go the other way! I had to try and get him to come in once (I tried pulling then pushing).. he was one strong dog..
November 25 2011 we took him in. The people were very understanding and empathic. They allowed us as much time as we needed.. even though I didn’t want to let him go, I knew it was for the best. He passed, in my arms with my scent and my hands being the last thing he knew in this world.
I don’t believe the tears will stop any time soon but I was so priviledged to have shared my life with that wonderful animal. He now resides at my Mom and God’s side..