Friday evening, just after 6, I said my last good-bye to Max, who was without question the most special dog I ever had. He was an odd and interesting mix of pitbull and whippet (and who knows what else) - looking like a scared, skinny pitbull. I adoped him in the spring of '93, when he was probably 2-3 years old. A small Philadelphia rescue group had picked him up off the street and gave his "owner" the choice of being reported for the the fight injuries indicative of being "pit bait" and the chain collar that had started to grow into the skin of his neck, or to sign him over to them. They signed. The rescue group had the collar surgically removed and began the process of trying to find a loving home for a fearful pit-mix dog that was not well socialized among people or animals.
A friend who was involved in that rescue group knew that I was looking for a companion for my other dog, but I never in a moment imagined that this agressive abused dog that she described would be a good match for Buster, but to finally appease her I brought Buster over. Despite the fact that Buster tended to just annoy other dogs (and many people) to death, and that Max tended to be higly agressive with other dogs, it was total love at first sight between those two boys, so he came home with me. And boy, what a lovefest it was for the two of them - I used to joke that with their big grinning faces as they did all the :::ahem::: "getting to know you" things that boy dogs tend to do, I kept expecting to find the living room where they stayed littered with cigarette butts and little foil packets. But they did definitely bond, and it wasn't long before it was clear that Max was a very special dog.
It took a long time to get him properly socialized, but within a couple of years he was the sweetest gentlest boy you could imagine. His two favorite things, beyond snuggling up to whoever would have him, were running (and the whippet in him made him run faster than any dog I'd ever known) and rolling in dead things in the park. Ah, well, he WAS a dog.
He was a total sun-god and would bask in the warm sun, even on the hottest days, and shiver like a blizzard was passing through if it dropped below 60 -- that is, of course, unless I had him out for a run on the beach where it could be 25 degrees and he'd still jump around in the water as if it were mid-summer.
I have so many Max stories, and it breaks my heart that there won't be any more, but as the weather started to get colder around here it became clear that his body wasn't at all up to another winter, that his quality of life was gone, and it was time to say good-bye.
Here's Max several years ago, basking in the sun, showing off his characteristic big happy-dog grin.
I miss you, Max.