I want to share my story of Max, a whippet mix, who came into my life 14 years ago. I lost him on August 19, 2007.

Max was my shadow. Wherever I was, he was. He was so patient and kind, allowing one of the other dogs at home to nibble at his whiskers until there were just stubs left. His eyes were always full of life. If eyes could smile, Max’s were always beaming. His way of saying hello was to jump up and down as high as he could go with his tongue hanging out and a huge smile on his little face. It was a hilarious sight.

He never quite got the hang of playing fetch, but he loved pretending to chase the balls around anyway. He loved to chase birds out of the yard, push his food dish all over the house with his nose, and hide my socks. After his dinner every night, he would come and jump on my lap and lay there while I rubbed his full belly. That was the special time we shared each day.

In August, Max started going downhill. He was 14 by then, and over the past year, he had really slowed down. The last weekend of Max’s life, he stopped eating and could no longer struggle up to walk on his own. When I woke up in the middle of the night to find that he had fallen off the bed and could not move from where he landed, I knew it was his time to move on from this life.

I spent the rest of the night holding him in my arms, making him as comfortable as I could. I felt his warmth, stroked his fur, and talked softly to him. Even when my arms ached from holding him, I wouldn’t let go. He wasn’t able to wag his tail or lick my face anymore, but that was okay. It was my turn to comfort him and keep him company as he had done for me all of his life.

Night turned to a beautiful Sunday morning. I carefully wrapped Max up in a soft towel and carried him out to the car. He was barely alive by then, and his breathing had become labored. The life that had once so brilliantly burned in his eyes barely flickered anymore. I had prayed he would pass quietly in the night, but he lingered on. I could not bear to watch him suffer another day.

The veterinarian at the animal hospital confirmed what I already knew. There wasn’t a magic pill or treatment that was going to bring Max back. When he was given the shot that would end his suffering, I held him tight, telling him I loved him and thanking him for bringing such joy to my life.

It absolutely broke my heart.

I was left alone for a short time with Max after he passed on. I will never forget how quiet it was and how lost I suddenly felt without him. I closed my eyes and asked God to please take care of Max, wherever he was now.

Thank you for coming into my life, Max. You were a gift from God, and you brought me more love and happiness than you could ever possibly know. I will forever love and miss you.

Constance from AZ