Our good and faithful friend, Max

by Roxanne Cheney

We received Max, a 10 month old Bichon puppy from a lady who had utterly neglected him.

So neglected, he wouldn't leave my husband's lap. Curiously, he didn't smell objects (maybe he couldn't???), and he never barked. Finally, after 6 months, a small yip came from Max. My husband and I both looked at Max, and then at each other. Max could bark!

For such a small dog, Max liked to hang with the big boys. The bigger the better. He arrogantly dismissed little dogs his own size. He also dismissed adults; but never a child. Patiently he would stand there while they petted him.

Max became a great traveling partner, as my husband and I joined the ranks of the full time RVer. What fun we had! But, the fun was soon to end, as I was diagnosed with cancer.

Max, who was always Daddy's boy, quickly turned his love and support towards me. Whenever I cried, he sat very close by me, to give me comfort. I could count on Max, and I attribute my good recovery to his inspiration.

Then Max, after a stay in the bowels of the Arizona desert, was diagnosed with Valley Fever.

By the time he was finally able to get a vet who accurately diagnosed him with something other than arthritis, he was at death's door. No one expected him to live.

Miraculously, and despite the skepticism of the vets, Max pulled through, after several very painful and agonizing months of the fungus in his bone.

He would now be on an anti fungal the rest of his life, with yearly titers to see how active the fungus still was.

No one told us that anti fungals would also cause liver failure. But, what good would that have done, if they had? He needed the medicine.

That was 3 years ago.

Four days ago, he started vomiting, and daily he deteriorated further. Via various diagnostic tests, we were told he was in end stage liver failure, his liver was so cirrhotic, it was essentially useless. When he started to urinate blood, we quickly made the decision to put him to sleep.

He was so happy the day we took him on his final ride. Max loved rides. He walked proudly into the vets office, stopping to smell the flower in the outside pot first (oh yes, forgot to mention, he gradually learned the joy of smelling, and nothing got by him without a quick sniff).

After the doctor put the IV in his ankle, he jumped up on the couch, and into my husband's lap. He was so happy. He even smiled at me, as the doctor put the medicine into the IV port. Thirty seconds later, he was gone!

That was yesterday. My husband and I are in the grips of agonizing grief. He was only 8 years old. He should have lived for 7 more years. What a cruel fate was played on this intelligent, loving, and loyal little boy.

We love you so much, Max

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