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Old 12-22-2012, 08:53 AM   #1
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Saying goodbye to Max

For those who are not on Facebook (or friends with either Walter or I on Facebook), I wanted to let everyone know that we made the difficult decision yesterday to let go of our pup, Max.

The night before we returned from PCC 4, Max had become very sick. It turned out to be pancreatitis, but there were many other complications as well. As many of you know, Max has had health issues over the last few years.

In spite of our vets efforts to do everything conceivable to save him, he just continued to worsen. He refused all food, had become lethargic and was starting to waste away.

When we went to the vet's office yesterday to say goodbye, I was surprised that he walked into the exam room on his own. He had spent the previous two days showing no energy at all, barely able to sit up. I expected they would have to carry him in. I spent a few minutes alone with him and asked him if he was ready to go, he responded by giving me a kiss - something he had not done all week. When I left the exam room to tell Walter and Mom to come in, Max followed me down the hall - which again, really surprised me. Walter and I both started to reconsider the decision - maybe he was rallying - maybe we should give it more time - maybe, maybe, maybe. But then when we got back into the exam room with him, he laid down and could barely move. His breathing was labored and intense, and we both knew at that moment we were making the right decision. Walter and I had always promised ourselves that we would never let Max suffer because we didn't want to let go. He rallied long enough to say good-bye to us, to let us know he was ready and that it would be okay.

We brought along his favorite toy - a stuffed mallard that he loved to use as a pillow. When he laid down, he put his head on it as he always did. He laid there quietly as the vet (who loved him dearly and was in tears) administered the injection. I was laying on the floor right next to him holding him, as was Walter, all of us telling him goodbye and letting him know we'd be okay. He went very peacefully knowing that we were there and that we loved him.

I had adopted Max when he was 8 weeks old and for more than 10 years he was at my side every moment of every day. He was there during the darkest days of my life - through addiction and depression - being a constant source of unconditional love reminding me that no matter how bad things may seem - there are things in this world worth living for.

I know that everyone thinks their pet is special, and they are - but Max was unusual. Everyone that spent any time at all with him recognized that. There was a kindness and gentleness to his spirit that I've never seen in another dog - or another person for that matter. He brought that sprit to everyone his life touched.

While I'm very very sad right now, and I miss him more than I could ever say in words, I am so grateful that I had him in my life. He taught me so much, gave me so much and loved me in a way I've never known. He was an amazing gift and that's what I choose to focus on now. Yes, the pain is great - but so was the love and joy he brought.

Now, go hug your pets and never let them forget how much you love them.

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Old 12-22-2012, 09:06 AM   #2
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My condolences to you both. February will be 5 years since we had the exact situation (different cause--arthritis on the spine) with our beloved Dusty. So much more than a pet. (Miss you buddy...) I know you're grateful to have had that love, and he's always in your heart. You're in my thoughts.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:08 AM   #3
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I am so sorry for your loss, Pete. Our four legged family members are just as much a member of the family as anyone. Bless Max's little doggie heart and yours, too.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:09 AM   #4
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So very sorry for your loss. It sounds like Max was very lucky to have found such a wonderful loving home.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:10 AM   #5
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Max was a great dog and everyone who met him fell in love with him instantly. He was a total love bug and so gentle. I will miss seeing him at the Podcast recordings.

Here's one of my favorite pictures of Max and Figaro (who we also lost this year).


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Old 12-22-2012, 09:23 AM   #6
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Thanks for posting this Pete. I know how much you loved Max and it must have been very hard to write - I can almost see the tears on my screen.

Fortunately you have many memories of Max so he's not really gone.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:27 AM   #7
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I'm so sorry for your loss. You were blessed to be able to spend Max's last minutes with him, quietly and with dignity. And I applaud you for caring for him so well while he was sick but having the strength to let him go when you did, when the end was inevitable, and not have him be in pain. I've never had to make that decision, but I'd like to believe I would if the time comes.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:37 AM   #8
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My heart goes out to you and Walter. Such a hard decision to make. The unconditional love from a pet is irreplaceable.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:52 AM   #9
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Pete and Walter,
I have felt your pain and know how real it is, for my family it was our beloved dog Rugby.
In addition to remembering how much Max gave to you, remember also how much you gave to him. He had a safe and loving home, well cared for, protected and loved, and he had purpose in life - caring for and loving you. He had a full and happy life. In the end, you were strong enough and loved him enough to give him peace.
You will always love him, you will always remember him and you will always tear up when you think of him, but your heart will be filled with more joy than sorrow because of him.

Lots of love,
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:04 AM   #10
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I am so sorry for your loss. It's hard for some people to understand how important pets are and that you love them as you would a child. I lost my baby Joey earlier this year after 22 years together. Joey lived a wonderful long life and I know I did the best for him - just as you did with Max.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:27 PM   #11
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I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, Pete.

It is always hard to lose a pet because they are members of your family.
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:29 PM   #12
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I've always enjoyed hearing Max walking around while you were doing the podcast. It was like he was a part of the podcast, to me anyway

My vet sat on the floor with me and cried with me as I let my dog Maggie go. I always respected her so much for doing that. I had forgotten that the vets see our pets grow up too.

John - thank you for posting the picture of Max and Figaro so we who listen to the podcast and hear your stories of you pets can see what they looked like.

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Old 12-22-2012, 01:44 PM   #13
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NC Beast and I are sorry for your loss.
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:11 PM   #14
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I'm in tears reading this as it reminds me of when I let Princess go a few years back. I've been thinking of you today. Hugs, Pete.
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:27 PM   #15
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So sorry for your loss, but so glad you were able to be there for him.
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