I picked up Max’s ashes from the animal hospital yesterday, shortly after getting back into town.  They were accompanied by a certificate of cremation and a copy of The Rainbow Bridge, a poem I’ve never been able to bring myself to read in its entirety.  Amongst the mail that had amassed over my twelve days in Tokyo was a letter from the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College, where Maximus went for his radiation treatments, informing me that a donation had been made in Max’s name by the Granville Island Veterinary Hospital.  Also, a condolence card from the entire staff at the Granville Vet Hospital. Several of the written sentiments expressed an appreciation for all I had done for Maximus.  Many have pointed out that others wouldn’t (or couldn’t) have suffered the time, effort, and expense I did in seeking treatment for him after the cancer diagnosis and, while that may be true, it’s small consolation.  In fact, the fact that I did so much to help him in those tough six months makes his last few moments all that more difficult to accept.  Yes, his condition had worsened considerably. That’s not in dispute.  He had stopped eating and, despite persistent efforts to coax him into taking the tiniest amounts of food, he had dropped from some 30 lbs down to a shade under 15.  In the last few days, he’d been lethargic and weak.  What I’d first considered a response to the medications he was taking was, I realized, the disease robbing him of what little strength he still possessed.  I knew that I would have to make the call sooner or later and, in hindsight, it should have been – sooner or later.  Sooner, and I could have arranged to have him put to sleep at home, surrounded by the comforts of familiar surroundings and friends – but I waited because I was hoping he could muster one more rally as he’d already done twice before.  Later, and I could have made the same arrangements on my return from Tokyo. Instead, because I didn’t act sooner, or hold off until later, Maximus spent his last moments in unfamiliar surroundings, far from the comfort of home and friends.  The fact that I was there to comfort him in his final moments does little to change the fact that he died in a place he’d grown to fear over his countless visits.  Ultimately, I made the decision I did because I wanted to be there for him and didn’t want to chance the prospect of his passing while I was away, in unfamiliar surroundings, far from the comforts of home – and alone.

I can agonize over that decision and outsiders can offer their opinions on my actions but, in the end, none of that really matters.  What mattered was how Maximus felt in those last few seconds, what was going through his little mind as he sat in that room, on my lap, and took his last breath.

I thought about him a lot during my time in Tokyo.  And dreamt about him quite a bit.  In one dream, I returned to Vancouver to discover that the hospital had made a mistake, that he had actually survived the euthanasia and had been returned home to await my arrival. – sick, weary, but very much alive.  In another dream, I was informed that the original diagnosis had been in error and that Max could have survived had I not been so rash in having him put to sleep.  Just last night, I dreamt I was approached by a  black pug that bore an uncanny resemblance to Maximus.  As I watched it jump and bark and run, I was reminded of Max in younger, happier times.  And the more I watched the dog play, the more I was struck by the similarities between them.  I turned to tell someone, that, call me crazy, but I thought I was being visited by the spirit of my former dog – only to turn around and find him gone.

The other dogs have been fairly low-key since my return.  I imagine they miss him as well and, while I can’t be sure, I just haven’t been able to utter his name in their presence.  Jelly has been a little needier, Lulu a little quieter, while Bubba – he did something he’s never done before.  Last night, he snuggled down on Maximus’s favorite spot, down at the foot of the bed by my feet, and slept there all night.

As for Maximus, he now rests on the night table by my bedside, sleeping alongside the rest of the pack.  As always.

67 thoughts on “February 9, 2012: Max

  1. Yer killing me, Joe. 🙁

    (I was gonna tell you about my eventful day, but it just doesn’t seem right now.)



  2. I have a theory about regrets and time travel. We can consider going back and changing things, but if some things worked out better than they could have (such as Maximus lasting far longer than most experts expected; you being there for him as he passed) would you really want to have regrets and roll the dice to change things? Would you want to go back and try again, only to have everything that you feared to happen happen? If you truly think things could have been much worse – even a little worse – then stick with the path that occurred and try not to regret a thing. I know it’s hard, but that’s how I view things to minimize regrets. I hope that helps.

  3. Powerful post Joe,
    One important fact – you and Akemi were there with Max. You were holding him. And, many many wonderful memories.

    You are a good man! A good doggie daddy!
    And, the babies and your fans love you!.

  4. Feeling guilty, arm-chair quarter-backing, after the play is done doesn’t help in situations like this, as this is not a sports game.

    “He had stopped eating and, despite persistent efforts to coax him into taking the tiniest amounts of food, he had dropped from some 30 lbs down to a shade under 15.”

    Max’s loss of so much weight would have continued, because of his illness not being able to be cured. And the cancer was already affecting him in other bad ways.

    Maybe you didn’t make the correct call for yourself and the other dogs. However, you most likely made the correct call, at the most correct time, for Maximus.

    I had two white german shepherds, the older was Tundra (my very first pet), around 10 years old. Unfortunately I was unemployed and had burned through my savings, a bit more than a year ago. He started limping around just a little and I thought it was from him running around like a racehorse as he always did in the yard and had hurt his leg, as he had done in the past, but never seriously.

    However he got worse very quickly. 11:30pm on a Sunday night is when he got very bad. The nearest emergency Vet was about 50 minutes away and even if I had the money, I doubted I could get him there before he died and that in fact turned out to be the case.

    While he died at home and in the company of his year and a half younger half brother, I regret that I was not able to get him to a Vet before he died, because I firmly believe that animals as well as people, should not suffer as they die.

    Tundra could not stand up at all, had him lie down and I sat next to him, wishing that I had some way to put him to sleep so he would not be in pain. He didn’t whine or moan or make any noises, but I could tell that he was hurting = when an animal can no longer stand up and walk, it is a sure sign that something is very wrong. Based on what I described to the Vet, she said it could have been a stroke or something.

    While I know I did the best I could under the circumstances for my dog, I wish I could have done much better.

    I would not have hesitated a bit to take him to a Vet and have him put gently to sleep, instead of forever thinking that he died in pain unnecessarily.

    You made the correct call for Maximus. Now it is time for you to accept that fact, so Max can be happy as he looks down from doggy heaven and watches you continue to take great care of your other dogs. 🙂

  5. Hey, Joe!

    It was announced today that Brian Q. Miller is going to be writing the 11th season of Smallville… in comic book format.

  6. {{hugs}} I had Mulle cremated too, and he sits on a shelf by my computer now so he´s near me everyday, and when the time comes for me, his ashes (and all future dogs) will be mixed with mine so we will always be together.
    I never got a visitation from him, but I did from my first dog – Totzie. A week after she died, while lying in bed (a low bedsofa), I felt her jump up behind me, walk around in a circle and lay down pressed against my back. That visit comforted me then, and still does today.

  7. The only thing that matters is that Maximus died in the arms of those who loved him. That his final moments were with those who took care of him for his life and that in his final moments loved him unconditionally.

  8. Keith mentioned something that triggered a SG1 episode in my head.
    WIndow of opportunity which is a favorite!
    And, this was written by you and Paul.

    O’neill asks Malakai if he could turn back time to be with his wife once more. Could he really bear to live through her illness again.
    Malakai, choked with sorrow, said….no.
    O’neill said, he could not bear to live through his son’s passing, again.

    {{{{{{Hugs to you Joe, Akemi, and the babies}}}}}

  9. I’m feeling for you Joe.

    A few nights after Mum died I dreamt of her sitting in the back of a Nissan Cube car (have no idea where that came from). She put her head out the window and said with a big smile ‘Hi!’. I smiled back at her and asked her how she was and how the operation went (the autopsy). She said fine and she waved her hand around her mid section and said it was something around that area.
    The same night my Brother said he dreamt of her and that she said she was ok, not to worry about her and to clean up his room 🙂

    Seeing Max as a happy, youthful dog I hope is him letting you know he’s ok too.

    As I mentioned, we put the ashes of our old family dog in with Mum so they’re together and can take walks together after we’ve scattered her down at the beach. I think you might have a bit of a crowd in with you when the day comes.

    You can’t change the past Joe, so grieve and I hope the pain becomes more manageable soon.

  10. Dear Joseph,
    You loved Max and he loved you. You did the best you could for him and he lived a happy and wonderful life in the time he was here. Animals are incredibly perceptive — much more than we give them credit for — and I like to think that Max’s last thoughts is the love he shared with his master, not his discomfort nor his surroundings. Please don’t regret over decisions already made as you did a wonderful job from beginning to end.

  11. I’m so sorry to hear this has been so hard on you. Those dreams sound really rough, as if it weren’t bad enough already. I’ve never had to make a decision like that, thankfully, and I hope we don’t have to with our old dog now, but I can imagine the guilt, even if you think you’re doing the right thing at the time. But, as others have said, you can’t take it back now. What’s done is done, and all you’re doing now is torturing yourself by indulging in the guilt. Learn from the experience, remember it if you ever face a similar situation with another of your dogs in the future, and try to let it go. I doubt Max would have wanted you to be so hard on yourself when you were just trying to make the best decision you could at the time. Dogs have forgiving natures. I’m sure, even if he thought you had made a mistake, he’d forgive you for it.

    I had my dog cremated, too, when she died a few years ago, and I still have her ashes in my room. I don’t think I could bear to get rid of them, though I know other people would have much different feelings.

  12. Joe, it’s completely understandable to want to hold on to a loved one for as long as possible. No one would have picked the ‘sooner’ choice, we all were hoping and praying for Max to rally again. If you had put Max to sleep earlier you would be forever wondering if he could have improved and lived longer. Euthanasia is one of those no-win scenarios, you’ll always wonder if you made the right choice no matter what you decide. Remember, you were there for Max in the end, and he appreciated that.

  13. I don;t know what to say. I’m sure you did your best! I’m so sorry. My boy boy is right behind him. Don’t beat yourself up please. You are the best dog owner ever!!!!!

  14. Every time I saw Max’s picture it reminded me of Borris. he is 11. You are the best. I have been following you for years. I am so sorry for your loss.

  15. (((Joe)))

    You were with him and that is all that matters.
    You really know how to get us sobbing…

  16. Hey Joe,

    I want to post some words of support but I’ve no Idea what to write, don’t know how to put my feelings into words. I know what it’s like to lose your best doggy friend of many a year and nothing I type seems right; So I’ll just say still thinking of you and wee Max.

  17. Like I said before, it’s been years since I made a similar decision and I wish I could tell you that I no longer wrestle with my thoughts over how it all went down, but I can’t. But my thoughts have turned from being haunted by what happened to just remembering how heavy it all was, emotionally. The nice part is that the memory my love for my Wacko quickly outweighs any burden left on my heart and I end up only remembering the good. Granted it makes me miss him, but that’s unavoidable regardless of anything else.

    I know it’s hard right now, Joe. But it does get easier, not better, but easier. It just takes a while.


  18. Joe, as someone who has experienced grief over the last year, I can say that what you’re experiencing is totally understandable, although I know that doesn’t make it any easier. With my father’s passing, I went through a whole stage of wondering if I had done anything different if the outcome would have changed. And ultimately, I know that I did the best with what I knew at the time. My father hated the hospital, and desperately wanted to come back to his house even though his care needs at that point would absolutely have been 24/7. (The hospital insisted that either a nursing home or proper home care be arranged.) On a longer term basis, my parents would not have been able to afford that level of home care, but had I have known that his days would be so short, I would have made every effort to get him home. However, like I said, things worked out the way they worked out with what I knew at the time.

    There won’t be anything to speed up the grieving process – everyone does it in their own time. Take whatever time you need, and know that you are in our thoughts.

  19. I think that leaving for Japan only to find out he died while you were away would have been far, far worse. I think the decision you made was better for everyone involved.


  20. Dear Joe, This is long and probably boring, so please cut it to be more blog-appropriate. I think it’s very difficult to separate grief from guilt when one is asked to play god over the life of another creature. You did everything you could to let Maximus know that he was loved and safe throughout his life. No one could have done more.

    One thing I would say is that, after having one of my dogs put to sleep at the vets, I made the mistake of showing his body to the dog who was closest to him, so that she would know what had happened to him and wouldn’t be looking for him in vain. The result was that she was terribly upset – far more than she had been by his absence – and went into a period of very low spirits for almost a year; something that did not happen when we had to have her mum put to sleep, and she didn’t know what had happened to her – she just went away and didn’t come back and after a while she stopped looking for her. Another example happened with a friend’s dog who jumped up, fell awkwardly, and broke his neck. She happened to be a nurse, gave him CPR and got his heart going again and rushed him to the vet. (He was there for weeks but did eventually recover and lived until he was eighteen.) His brother, however, sniffed out where his brother had ‘died’ and was distraught, even though he had not seen what had happened, he could smell it. He needed to be tempted to eat for weeks until his brother came home and he discovered that he wasn’t dead. Had you had Maximus put to sleep at home, you may have felt better, but it would have been impossible for the other dogs not to know what had happened in that room even if they weren’t there at the time, and I’m sure that they would have been most dreadfully upset. Especially Jelly, who was such a mum to Maximus when he was a puppy. They have their own grief, I’m sure, and it would have been unkind to add to it.

    I think as with a human being one simply has to grieve and guilt is part of that, even when, as in your case, it’s irrational. Which it is, because you must know, in your heart of hearts, that no one could have done more to give him a long and happy life and to minimize his stress at every point, and that *any* decision you made about when to put Maximus down you would have second-guessed and tortured yourself about, later. You can’t help missing him but I think you should try as hard as you can not to torment yourself with ‘if onlys’. (Everyone is going to tell you this and it’s not going to help, but it’s impossible not to tell you anyway so I apologize in advance.)

    Whatever decision you made about where and when to have Maximus put down, it would not have been a happy experience for you because it would have been the end of a road you wanted the both of you to keep travelling along. (And I have done pretty much everything other the years: at the vets, at home, leaving it too long and wishing I’d done it sooner, trying not to leave it too long and then wishing I’d done it later – it’s a no-winner for any caring pet owner. Whatever you do, you are going to miss them horribly and wish you’d done something else.) So, I think grieving for Maximus is inevitable and healthy, but guilting yourself is pointless and counter-productive. It’s presumptuous of me to offer advice, but I would suggest cuddling the dogs you’ve got at every opportunity and getting a pug puppy at soon as you feel you can bear it, so you are not in the situation of just having elderly dogs getting more elderly. (I have, of course, followed none of the above advice myself and have remained weepy, guilt-ridden, and with two fourteen year-old dogs and no puppy, but I still think it’s good advice.)

  21. Regrets for anything you’ve done in your life are the hardest thing to go through. Ask me how I know. 🙁 As the others have said, I think Max most appreciated that you were there for him in his final moments. Will continue to have you, Akemi, and the other dogs in my thoughts and prayers.

    Take care!!

  22. Looking at the title I should have known to save this post until after work. This is why cancer is so hard. There isn’t a yes or no, right or wrong answer. You have to use your best judgement for when they are ready to go and they can’t tell you. You know I’m in a similar situation right now and since we’ve had this conversation I won’t belabor the point. I hope you can find comfort in the fact that you did what you could because you love him and he knew it.

    I also need to thank you for chronicling these last few months. Watching you and Max and hearing your thoughts and feelings have been helpful to those of us who are following in your footsteps. We appreciate it. {{hugs}}

  23. Wow, I didn’t expect a powerful post like that this morning. I’m not sure I can formulate an adequate post, but Joe, Maximus loved you, and he knows how much you loved him.
    The disease would have continued to eat him up to the point where he would be unable to remember who you all were, and what it was like to feel anything but pain. Anyone who has had to put a beloved animal to sleep will always second guess their decision and there is no getting around that. Just know that wherever it happened, he was ok because he was with you. The real tragedy would be if it would have happened without you there.

  24. Nothing I can add except to echo Dappy’s sentiments: I hope you feel better in time!

    Try to remember the good memories will never leave and will always offer you comfort when you’re feeling down!

    My best to you and Akemi!


  25. You made the best decision you could with whatever information you had. What really matters is that you cared for, and loved him, and you were there with him in the end. It’s all anybody can really ask for, and more than what most animals, and people for that matter, ever receive. Please don’t be so hard on yourself.

  26. You said the only thing that matters is what was going through his head in his last moments, but the truth is we can never know that. I hope you can find peace in your decision and accept other’s words of comfort.

    I also hope you can shift ‘the only thing that matters’ to the life he led and the home and love he had. Truly, that is the measure of his life and what I think he would want you to

  27. So I’ve been meaning to ask you.. Raw eggs. Seems like you had a few dishes in Tokyo with them. I’ve never seen that in the US and probably would be hesitant to try them for fear of catching something from eating uncooked eggs. Are they a different kind of egg from what you get in the supermarket??

  28. Hey Joe, I know you said that other peoples’ opinions don’t really make a difference on the matter but don’t regret your decision; you did the right thing even if it doesnt feel like it was. It reminds me of a beautiful scene from Dexter (I put the youtube link as my “website” since I think wordpress will think this is spam) which you should watch when you have the time, I think you will find it quite relavent to your situation.

  29. When my Pomeranian Scooter died, I often had regrets about not being with him as he passed. I still do. I was only 14 or so when it happened. He’d had a heart attack earlier in the day but the Vet let him come home, so we thought things would be alright. As the night went on, it was clear they weren’t but being basically still a kid, I couldn’t handle it. I went up to my room and shut myself away until my dad came and told me he had passed.

    I was inconsolable for days and I hated that I hadn’t had the strength to be with Scooter as he passed on. However, ever since that night, I’ve had periodic dreams of him, even now 9 years later, scampering around and being the dog I remember. Those dreams are comforting, very much so, but like you, I still have regrets and I suspect I always will.

    Take comfort in the fact that you were there for Max and know that as things go on, it will get easier to remember the good times and not the bad.

  30. First…add my hugs to those offered by so many others. {{{{hug}}}}

    Second…YOU can call ME crazy…but I believe you WERE visited by Maximus’ spirit in that dream. The fact that he looked younger, healthy, and was happily bouncing and playing…that was him telling you he is okay. In fact, he is wonderful, no longer suffering age and illness.

    He was telling you to be at peace.

  31. {{{hugs}}} for Narelle
    Am so glad that you and your brother got to see your Mum in your dreams, and to know that she was all right. The humorous bit sounds just like what a mother would say.

    {{{hugs Joe}}}

    Joe, I think Maximus really did visit you in your last dream. When I lost my doggie girl, I felt her around me for about a month. Somehow, she was still there. When there is so much closeness and love, I wonder if the persistence of vision theory applies to spirit as well. Our “containers” wear out, but our souls and the love they bear are eternal. (just sent you an e-mail)

  32. During the week I always read your blog right after I sign in for work. My main job duty is answering the phone for a large government organization. It was all I could do to choke back the emotion from my voice this morning, as it was the first time I read about Max’s passing *cry*. I love dogs. My heart goes out to you Joe. (((hugs))) May you find comfort from family and friends – and your other best buddies <3

  33. His last moments were that you were there with him. Honor the love you gave him for a lifetime, Joe, not 2nd guessing one timing. Honor him by judging yourself the way he would– the person who did their best.

  34. Sigh, okay not done. You are breaking my heart. You really are. I deal with asswipes who drop their dogs off in the country, at shelters that have posted signs saying they sell to animal research and most dogs left there end up there, with people who abuse, put in crates and leave dogs til they are so coated with feces you have to soak for hours to be able to even shave them down, and you are beating yourself up for trying to do the right thing and made what might have been a not-perfect decision because you held out hope?

    Every time you THINK of anything negative in your action, you think about how much you loved and gave him and that he doesn’t deserve for you to spend one second of energy on self-doubts. Mourn him, miss him, grieve. But do not focus on not letting him die at home. You’re better than that. You did better than that. He damned well deserves your energy on him, not beating yourself up. Do you have any idea how many people cannot even BE THERE for their pet at the end — even those who say they love them? YOU WERE THERE every step of his life. Stop it. Honor the love you gave him.

  35. Believe me Joe, they know. They grieve just the same way you do. A part of their pack is gone, and it will take them time to heal as well. Give them extra love.

    Unfortunately today I may have to make that same decision for my cat.

    Personally, I don’t think its a crazy notion at all, that Maximus paid you a visit to let you know that he’s okay and happy and not to worry or regret.

    Peace to you.

  36. I just wanted to share my story about an old cat i’m fairly convinced paid me a visit post-mortum.

    She liked to go out at night and would sometimes stay out for a couple of days at a time. It was an October morning, and I was dragging out some Halloween decorations when she walked past, meowed at me, and took off on her patrol. That was the last time I ever saw her. After a month or so of futile searching, and daily visits to the shelter, I became resigned to the fact that she would not be coming home again.

    A couple of months later I decided to rescue another cat from the shelter. I experienced some guilt about that decision. The natural inclination that I was betraying my other cat’s memory by ‘replacing her’ too soon.

    I had a dream in which my old cat hopped up on my bed one morning. She looked at me, and then saw my new cat. She then proceeded to play with the new cat, the two of them moving about the room like kittens.

    I awoke shortly after that, and after thinkiing about it for awhile came to the conclusion it was her way of telling me it was okay, she wasn’t offended and welcomed me having a new cat.

  37. I’m sorry to hear about Max, I know how hard it is to lose a pet that means so much to you. I can relate to the dreaming, for me I woke up after having dreamt that she survived and returned home half expecting to see her.

    Like other have said, he knew you loved him and that is all that matters.

  38. Joe, if you wish to cope with your grief by the self-flagellation of what ifs, I can’t stop you from beating yourself six ways from Sunday. But I wish I could.

    I think you made all the right decisions for Max at the right times. You paid attention to what he wanted and was telling you about his condition. Even though the other doggies couldn’t be with him, you and Akemi were, and I believe animals, especially dogs, understand emotions. He knew he was loved about as well as anyone can love their pet baby. You were always there for him Joe, making the decisions he was unable to make and he trusted you to do the right thing. You did your best, which is all any of us can hope to do and something many cannot achieve.

    I believe dreams can have meaning. Also, of all the dreams you’ve had, that was the only one where you thought it was Max reaching out to you. So let that and the other doggies comfort you Joe, and let go of the guilt.

    I think Bubba’s message is Max may be gone, but never forgotten, and the rest of them are there to support you through this rough time.

    (And you have all of us, too! 😉 )

  39. Joe, you live, you learn. Unforturnately you will have to endure the death of a beloved friend a few more times. All you can do is learn from each and take away the things you would like to try and change or do the next time. Just understand that life sometimes has other plans that you cannot control.

  40. I was going to give my input as to your decision on Max, but I don’t think I can add anything to what’s already been written by the other followers of your blog and what you’ve already thought of and expressed yourself, Joe. All I’d like to say is that you did the best you could for Max. You did the best that anyone could have done. Enjoy the happy memories he gave you, ‘cos the way you write about him, it’s so evident that there are plenty.

  41. Though I read this blog everyday, it seems the only notes I ever leave here have to do with doggies.

    My heart goes out to you in your heartache. I know that words – particularly from a stranger – may not mean much but as someone who has loved and cherished dogs as members of my family, I just want you to know that you’re not alone – not in the aching, not in the second-guessing, not in the regret, and most of all, not in the way you think of and love your pal Maximus.

    Just remember that even if he hated the vet’s office, he loved YOU. And if the surroundings made him scared, YOU made him feel safe. Would you, could you have done things differently? Maybe – but I’m betting the one thing that wouldn’t change is that at the end, Max drew his last breath with the people he loved and felt safe with.

    In time, I hope the ache will yield to the joy of happy memories and that you can thinking of Max without getting that awful, achy lump in your throat and that his name will make you smile again instead of tear up. Until then, take comfort in your dreams of that young and happy pup and know that you are not alone. A pat on the head for you, dear Joe, and a belly rub, too.

  42. Oh my, I’m so shocked and surprised by this news ! I could feel the sadness through your post, it completely made me sad. I’ll miss Maximus.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. As we say in french, Bon courage.

  43. I’m afraid that Max was heading down a road from which there was no return. No matter how much you could have wished otherwise. I believe that what mattered most to him was that YOU were with him. I think you did right by him. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  44. Being there at the last moments is what mattered to max. Stop hitting yourself over the head for something you had no control over. Damned if you do, damned if you dont. And even your vets believed you put in a superhuman effort. Their donation is unusual, and says very clearly their appreciation for your kindness towards max all these years.

    Put your energy towards your other kids, and you will be at peace knowing that max would have wanted that.

  45. @Stryse
    I am sure your cat would want you to love another cat. I hope you don’t let this one out. Life expectancy for inside cats 12 to 20 years. Cats that live outside or go outside– 5 yrs.

  46. Ah, Joe. I’ve torn myself up a dozen ways in the last few years over whether I made the right decision about euthanizing my cats, but what it comes down to is it’s the right thing to do and that we are with our beloved furry friends at the end of their lives on this plane. As for Max being afraid of the vet’s you always made things better by taking him home at the end of the visit. That last time you still made things better by helping him ease out of the pain and fear and sickness and taking him home in another way. He loved and trusted you to do right by him and that’s exactly what you did.

    He might come back to visit you and Akemi. I’ve felt my cat walking on the bed and even saw him briefly one night. it had to be him. The other cats were in plain sight in the other room. He’s brushed against my legs a few times and one of his brothers was clearly looking at something or someone not visible. Max will come back, whether he lets you know it or not. i’m guessing he will make his presence known. He already has in your dreams.

    {{{big hugs to you and Akemi}}}

  47. Hey Joe,

    This blog about Maxus is quite touching. I have such a deep love for the pets I’ve had…and miss those that have passed on. I love The Rainbow Bridge. A shelter gave it to me when our little pup took off with his brother for a romp. They were staying with my daughter until I could find a place to accept dogs.

    If you may remember there was a woman killed by her neighbors dogs as she tried to enter her apartment. California over-reacted and it was all but impossible to find a rental that would except dogs.

    My daughter lived on 60 acres with a beautiful large pond. Seemed the dream place. But Toby and Barry got out…when Barry returned he was so torn up my daughter had to rush him in for surgery. Toby was no where to be found. Barry was a sheltie and Toby was a fourth of Barry’s size.

    The vet determined by Barry’s injuries that it had been a coyote attack. Our little four legged friends depend on us to keep them safe. I’m not sure what I could have done differently. I feel as though I failed them. I know that Toby is playing and waiting for us at The Rainbow Bridge. Barry was sent to a beautiful Sheltie Reserve. He was emotionally devistated…the two grew up together and we still didn’t have a place to keep him. Now…Barry is very happy…safe with many other Shelties that will live on the Reserve until they die.

    Do you have a mailing address for fans? May I please have it. I had it earlier but you have changed jobs so I am uncertain as to where I could mail a card.

    Thinking of you…i’m am so happy you have sweet Akemi and your other pups to comfort you.


  48. I had dreams about my dog for years after, nightmares of me searching for my lost dog. Dreams of him being at home in perfect health. I can never decide which one is worse. The nightmare, or waking and finding out that it was just a dream.

    I hardly ever get them anymore, although I did have one after reading about Maximus.

    I too agonized over if I did the right thing, at the right time. Should I have let him go sooner? Was he suffering?

    I never understood the compulsion people have towards religion and afterlife until my dog died.

    I did the best I could at the time. You did the right thing for your friend.

    Remember that you were his friend. And you were there for him when he needed you.
    That’s all you can do. That’s the best you can do.

  49. Deeply saddened to hear about Max Joe (I’m catching up and working back from the 17th!), you did the very best you could, of that I’ve absolutely, positively no doubt. Take care…

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