Jake, Max, and Quito in the front yard one spring day.
Max is the last of the trilogy. He’s 13 and a half and that’s pretty old for a Lab-mix. As we were walking on his morning walk today, I realized how much I appreciate all he’s done for me.
Another road trip with Jake, Max & Quito
At one time I had 3 dogs, and they were all special in their own way. They say dogs are like their owners and vise versa. As Max and I were rambling around the golf course edges, I had a revelation. I had 3 dogs, and each represented part of me.
Quito, the first, was a black lab. He came to me as the last of a litter, via United Airlines out of Chicago. He loved attention, and gave lots of licks and attention back. The most devoted, loyal, and fun-loving of the bunch.
On the trails he would run ahead, but always come back to check on me, and make sure I was coming along. I taught him to be fearless, to dive off cliffs into swimming holes, and to swim underwater.
Quito in the snow at Flagstaff
He was a Frisbee dog, and we competed locally in the national competition. His bark sounded ferocious when someone knocked on the door, but he just licked them when they came in.
Jake, the philosopher
Jake, the yellow lab. Saved from the pound, because he put his paws up on the pen when Sula and I walked by. His eyes said “save me”, so we did. 2 years younger than Quito, he was eventually accepted, and became Quito’s understudy.
But he was different, not a ball-chaser. “The spiritual one” we called him. Usually quiet, and thoughtful, sometimes Jake would stop and stare off into ….nothing. Staring under a tree, or in a corner of the house. He could see the things we couldn’t see. He was a protector, and wary of other dogs until he got to know them. He wasn’t afraid to attack and ask questions later, but he was the sensitive one, afraid of thunderstorms hiding in a dark bathroom shaking, while Quito snored away. When Quito died, Jake was there, and watched the soul leave his old friend.
Jake in the Superstition Wilderness
Max “just being” with the koi
Max, the chocolate and the independent. He was found abandoned in a box with his brother, who was adopted by another friend. The other dogs were bigger than him, but taught him what they knew. So he would swim, but not dive in. He would fetch a ball, but not always bring it back. He wants his ears rubbed, or to lay beside you, but he’ll never lick you or show affection. But, like Jake, he wanted to be on the bed with you during the thunder. And I have had many sleepless nights putting up with his quivering and pacing, and whining.
Max is the only one left. He’s had more medical problems that the other two combined, but has outlived them both. He’s still independent, but wants attention and isn’t afraid to let me know when it’s time to get off the computer and give him some quality time, or a walk, or a treat. Not a vegetarian, he’ll barking incessantly until he gets his after-dinner favorite: chicken jerky.
Max is 95, in dog years that is, and happy thanks to homeopathy. Sometimes you need both traditional medicine and something complementary. Max is alive now due to a blood transfusion several years ago, and daily medication for Addison’s Disease. He is happy and younger acting thanks to homeopathy.
I hope I look this good at his age. How does he do it? Hardly any gray hair! He sleeps most of the day, eats the same food every day, and gets to socialize with his neighborhood dog friends on a regular basis. Although his joints aren’t what they used to be, he still enjoys jogging occasionally after a ball, or just running a bit for the fun of it.
Maybe there is something to learn here. A consistently good diet, exercise, socializing, and daily love go a long way. Health is not necessarily the absence of disease. It is freedom to be all you can be, at whatever stage of life you are in. I know homeopathy has helped Max to be all he can be, even at this stage in the game of life.
Thanksgiving Day – 2010
Thanks Max for being here today, Thanksgiving, Day, and for teaching me something about myself.